School of English


Declan Gilmore-Kavanagh is a Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Studies with research interests in the literary history of sexuality, eighteenth-century British literature and culture, masculinity, disability studies, Irish literature, and representations of Western queer cultures.


Declan completed his PhD at Maynooth University, Ireland, where he was the grateful recipient of a John and Pat Hume Scholarship and an Irish Research Council doctoral award. He is Director of the Centre for Gender, Sexuality, and Writing at the University of Kent and was co-chair of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Lesbian and Gay Studies Caucus from 2016 to 2018.


He is the author of 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.


His next monograph project explores the connections between the reading of literature and conceptions of sexual health in the Age of Enlightenment in Britain and Ireland.


Book Cover: Effeminate Years



Contact Information


School of English, Rutherford Extension, NC34

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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. (2019). Bog Men: Celtic Landscapes in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Satire. In: Barr, R. A., Brady, S. and McGaughey, J. eds. Ireland and Masculinities in History: Genders and Sexualities in History. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 67-88. Available at:
Kavanagh, D. (2016). 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. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 77-95. Available at:
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: An Anthology of Current Research from the Department of Philosophy, NUI Maynooth [Online]:73-82. Available at:
Kavanagh, D. (2013). Of Neuter Gender, tho' of Irish Growth: Charles Churchill's Fribble. Irish University Review: A Journal of Irish Studies, Special Issue: Queering the Issue [Online] 43:119-130. 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] 27:123-142. 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. (2019). Mollies, Sodomites, and Libertines: Private Pleasures in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain. In: Bisset, S., Felton, M.-C. and Wolf, C. eds. Exploring the Early Modern Underground: Free Thinkers, Heretics, and Spies. Paris: Honorè Champion.
Kavanagh, D. (2019). Queering Eighteenth-Century Irish Writing: Yahoo, Fribble, Freke. In: Haslett, M. ed. Irish Literature in Transition, 1700-1780. Cambridge University Press.
Total publications in KAR: 12 [See all in KAR]
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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:

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Research supervision

Declan is interested in supervising doctoral projects in eighteenth-century literature and culture, Irish literature and Queer Studies. 

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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: 20/09/2018