Peter Kitson
  • 0.32 Arts and Humanities Building

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Romanticism; Coleridge; Post-Colonial Romantic Period Studies; Gothic Studies.

  • Source: Scopus
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Personal profile


Peter Kitson is Professor of Romantic Literature and Culture in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA where he teaches and researches British Romantic period writing. He is a leading scholar of the writing of the global contexts of eighteenth-centuty and nineteenth-century literature, including the impact of slavery and the slave trade, and the histories of Romantic period understandings of race, colonialism, and cross cultural encounters. 

Educated at Hanson Comprehensive School, Bradford, he was formerly Associate Dean of Research (2005-2010) and Associate Dean of Postgraduate Research (2011-12) of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, at the University of Dundee. Professor Kitson succeeded to the chair formerly held by Richard Holmes at UEA. Previously he served as Head of School at Dundee (2002-2005). Professor Kitson is a fomer elected Chair (2007-2010) and elected President (2010-14) of the English Association and a former elected President (2007-2011) of the the British Association for Romantic Studies. He was also Chair of the English Association's Higher Education Committee for many years. Professor Kitson received his BA and PhD from the University of Hull. His doctoral thesis was written on the the subject of the relation between S. T Coleridge's early political and religious dissent and his poetry from c. 1790-1805'. He was the recipient of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2010-2012) for his project on China and the Romantic Imagination 1760-1840. He has also received support from the British Academy and the AHRC for that research project. He was awarded a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Humanities Research Centre of the Australian National University in 2017; among his other research fellowships are a Huntington Library Fellowship (2009) and a Visiting Fellowship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (2010).

Professor Kitson specialises in research into the literature and culture of the Romantic period (especially S. T. Coleridge), and he has published widely on the subject including monographs on Literature, Science and Exploration in the Romantic Period (Cambridge UP, 2004), Romantic Literature, Race and Colonial Encounter, 1760-1840 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), and Forging Romantic China: Sino-British Cultural Encounters, 1760-1840 (Cambridge UP, 2013). He has edited three multi-volume editions of writings about slavery and travel writing in the Romantic period for Pickering and Chatto, as well as several collections of essays, including (with Tim Fulford), Romanticism and Colonialism (Cambridge UP, 1998). His co-edited collection of essays (with Robert Markley) Writing China: Essays on the Amherst Embassy (1816) and Sino-British Cultural Relations was published in 2016. Professor Kitson is an Adviser to the scholarly journal The Wordsworth Circle (University of Chicago Press) and a member of the board of the Wordsworth-Coleridge Association (affilated to the MLA). He is one of the founder members of the international and interdisciplinary research network China and Global Modernity. He is currently completing his next monograph on Opium and the Global Romantic Imagination: Travel, Trade and Commerce 1800-1842 for which he has recently received a Research Fellowship at the Humanities Research Centre, ANU, a research grant from the British Academy for £10k (2014-2016), and a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for 2017-2018. Professor Kitson has acted as plenary conference speaker for NASSR (North American Society for the Study of Romanticism), the German Society for the Study of English Romanticism, the RSAA (Romantic Studies of Australia Association), as well as the Coleridge International Conference, among others. Professor Kitson was also the editor of the major annual evaluative bibliography The Year's Work in English Studies (Oxford UP) from 1995 to 2001.

Applications for CHASE and FASS funded PhD studentships in Professor Kitson's areas of research and teaching expertise are especially welcome at UEA. He is an experienced supervisor of doctoral students to successful completion (please see Research and Teaching interests for potential areas of supervision).


  • elected President of The English Association in May 2007
  • elected President of the British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) in July 2007 and again in July 2009.
  • Chair of the Higher Education Committee of the English Association (until 2012),
  • Series Editor of Essays and Studies (D.S. Brewer/The English Association) (2000-2009)
  • Member of the board of the Wordsworth-Coleridge Association and Adviser to The Wordsworth Circle.
  • member of the editorial boards of the journals: Romanticism, the Keats-Shelley Journal, the John Clare Society Journal, and the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Panel Judge for the Keats-Shelley Essay and Poetry Prize from 2002-2008.
  • member of the AHRC Peer Review College
  • member of the Advisory Panel of the English Subject Centre.
  • Honorary Fellow of the English Association (2012)
  • Honorary member of the British Association for Romantic Studies

Key Research Interests

Professor Kitson's research interests include: Coleridge and romantic period literature, 1780-1830; Literature and science in the romantic period, especially anatomy; the historical contexts 1780-1830; politics and religion 1780-1830; ideas of race and colonialism and imperialism; travel writing 1750-1900; orientalism and representations of China in the period 1750-1850; Gothic writing 1760 to the present. He has recently published a major study of ideas of Race and human variety in the Romantic Period and a study of Romantic-period representations and exchanges concerning Britain and China and the in Romantic period writing. He is currently working on a new study of China, opium, and the Romantic imagination.

Teaching Interests

Postgraduate Teaching

CHASE funded PhD doctoral studentships are available in Professor Kitson's areas of research expertise. He is an experienced supervisor of doctoral students and has supervised over a dozen students to successful completion. Professor Kitson offers supervision in the areas of: Eighteenth and Nineteenth-century Sino-British cultural relations; the global contexts of eigheenth-century and nineteenth-century literature; Romantic period writing generally, Gothic literature, the global contexts of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, Literature and Science.

Undergraduate Teaching

Professor Kitson teaches the popular Romantic period writing modules at both second and third year. He lectures and teaches on the second year period course Romanticism as well as his third-year special options: Dark Romanticism: the Gothic Inheritance and Romantic Orientalism. Professor Kitson also teaches Reading Texts 1 and Reading Texts 2. He has also supervised numerous dissertations in these areas.