School of English


BA, NUI; MPhil, Dub; PhD, NUI

Declan William Gilmore-Kavanagh is Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Studies with research interests in eighteenth-century British literature and culture, masculinity, disability studies, Irish literature, and queer histories and cultures. 

Declan completed his PhD at Maynooth University, where he was the recipient of an Irish Research Council doctoral award. He is Director of the Centre for Gender, Sexuality, and Writing at the Uni. of Kent and co-chair of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Lesbian and Gay Studies Caucus.

To date, Declan has published several essays, book chapters, and book reviews in publications such as the Irish University ReviewSpecial Issue 2013: Queering the Issue, Eighteenth-Century Ireland / Iris an dá chultúr, BARS: Bulletin and Review and Heteronormativity in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture (Routledge 2016). 

His first monograph is Effeminate Years: Literature, Politics, and Aesthetics in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain (Bucknell University Press, 2017)​.

Effeminate Years skillfully traces the development of modern ideas of masculinity and the political subject back to the mid-eighteenth-century period in Britain to show how the emergence of political agency in Western modernity was shaped by anti-effeminate ideas and beliefs. This monograph is the first to consider how the discourse of effeminacy took shape across the domains of eighteenth-century political life, literary culture, and the aesthetic. It draws upon a vast range of sources, including Charles Churchill’s poetry, John Wilkes's satire, essay sheets by Tobias Smollett and Arthur Murphy, and Edmund Burke's early writings on aesthetics and politics. 

This study queers our understanding of the development of the political subject during the Enlightenment. In showing how the history of effeminacy is also the history of democracy and its discontents, Effeminate Years illuminates those forces that have historically determined political agency. Importantly, the study questions the boundary of the political subject, which is still the basis for debate and argument in our own time.

In 2015, he was awarded the Hans Turley Prize for Queer Eighteenth-Century Studies by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Contact Information


Office: RX NC34

School of English

back to top


Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Kavanagh, D. (2017). Effeminate Years: Literature, Politics, and Aesthetics in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain. [Online]. Lewisburg, U.S.A: Bucknell University Press. Available at:
Book section
Kavanagh, D. (2015). John Wilkes's Closet: Hetero Privacy and the Annotation of Desire. in: De Freitas Boe, A. and Coykendall, A. eds. Heteronormativity in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture. Surrey: Ashgate.
Kavanagh, D. (2017). Camp Johnson versus Effeminate Corbyn: English Masculinities Put to Vote. EuropeNow: A Journal of Research and Art [Online]. Available at:
Kavanagh, D. (2016). Beyond Tolerance: Heteronormativity and Queer Theory. Maynooth Philosophical Papers.
Kavanagh, D. (2013). Of Neuter Gender, tho' of Irish Growth: Charles Churchill's Fribble. Irish University Review, Special Issue: Queering the Issue [Online] 43:1-11. Available at:
Brunström, C. and Kavanagh, D. (2012). Arthur Murphy and Florida Peat: The Gray's Inn Journal and versions of the apolitical. Eighteenth-Century Ireland / Iris an dá chultúr [Online] 27:123-141. Available at:
Kavanagh, D. (2015). Review of Charles Johnston, Daniel Sanjiv Roberts (ed.) The History of Arsaces, Prince of Betlis (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2014). Eighteenth-Century Ireland / Iris an dá chultúr 30:175-177.
Kavanagh, D. (2011). Review of Perverse Romanticism: Aesthetics and Sexuality in Britain, 1750-1832. British Association for Romantic Studies Bulletin and Review:33-34.
Kavanagh, D. (2018). Queering Eighteenth-Century Irish Writing: Yahoo, Fribble, Freke. in: Haslett, M. ed. Irish Literature in Transition, 1700-1780. Cambridge University Press.
Kavanagh, D. (2018). Mollies, Sodomites, and Libertines: Private Pleasures in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain. in: Bisset, S., Felton, M. -C. and Wolf, C. T. eds. Exploring the early modern underground: free thinkers, heretics, and spies. Paris: Honorè Champion.
Kavanagh, D. (2018). Bog Men : Phobic Landscaping in Eighteenth-Century Politics. in: Barr, R., Brady, S. and McGaughey, J. eds. Ireland and Masculinities in History: From the Sixteenth Century to the Present. Palgrave Macmillan. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 11 [See all in KAR]
back to top


Declan delivers undergraduate lectures and seminars on eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century literature and critical theory, while also delivering a special option on Contemporary Irish Writing. During the 2017/18 academic year, he will be teaching:

back to top

Research supervision

Interested in supervising doctoral projects in eighteenth-century literature and culture, Irish literature and Queer Studies. 

back to top

Professional activites

Declan is a member of the following:

  • IASIL: The International Association For the Study of Irish Literatures (Since 2011)
  • ECLRNI: The Eighteenth-Century Literature Research Network in Ireland (Since 2011)
  • BSECS: The British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (Since 2012)
back to top

School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 823054

Last Updated: 22/09/2017