skip to content

Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I read for my BA at St Anne’s College, Oxford and for an MLitt at the University of Glasgow, before coming to Cambridge to embark on doctoral studies. My PhD explores tensions in the idea of the communicable, and how these find expression in the figure of the misfit in writing by Sterne, Wordsworth and Dickens. 

Within eighteenth- and nineteenth-century studies, inexpressibility is most often approached via the sublime. However, I am interested in a counter-aesthetic whereby what is inexpressible, shocking or incommunicable emerges through comic, incongruous or bathetic effects. My research is focused by the presence of the simple or unthoughtful figure, a figure who often seems to be damaged, but whose pain has been erased, appears to go unfelt, or even to promote a peculiar pleasure (think Keats, ‘the feel of not to feel it’).

Other Academic Interests: 

My broader research interests include literature and its relations with philosophy (sentimentality, in particular), the history of emotion, psychoanalysis, Comedy, Nonsense literature, and the long eighteenth-century. Writers of particular interest might include David Hume, Laurence Sterne, William Wordsworth, Charles Lamb, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Edward Lear, and Lewis Carroll.  

In my spare time I edit for King's Review. A print issue of 2018 will feature interdisciplinary responses to the concept of distraction.

Department: English Literature
Supervisor: Dr Fred Parker
College: Kings
AHRC Subject Area: English
Title of Thesis: The Wound and the Show: Sentiment and Suffering in Writing by Sterne, Wordsworth, and Dickens.
 Eliza  Haughton-Shaw