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Professor David Francis Taylor

Tutorial Fellow in English

David is a tutorial fellow at St. Hugh’s and an associate professor in the Faculty of English. He specializes in literature and culture of the long eighteenth century, with particular interests in theatre, the relationship between literary and visual cultures, satire and parody, and the construction of literary history. Before joining St. Hugh’s in 2018, he taught at the Universities of Toronto and Warwick. He holds a PhD from Cambridge University and was awarded the Polanyi Prize for Literature by the Government of Ontario in 2013.

His new book, The Politics of Parody: A Literary History of Caricature, 1760-1830 (Yale University Press, 2018), attends to the ways in which eighteenth-century visual satirists parodied texts by the likes of Shakespeare, Milton, and Swift as a means of negotiating complex political issues, crises, and personalities. As part of this project, David also curated the exhibition “Draw New Mischief: 250 Years of Shakespeare and Political Cartoons” for the RSC in 2017-18, which ran at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, before transferring to the Barbican, London. You can view some of the images included in the exhibition in this Guardian article.

David is also the author of Theatres of Opposition: Empire, Revolution, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (2012) and the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre, 1737-1832 (2014).


At. St. Hugh’s, David teaches British literature from 1660-1830 and also the Shakespeare paper. For the Faculty, he lectures on drama from the late seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries and also teaches on the MSt in English 1700-1830.

He supervises graduate students at both MSt and DPhil level, and would be pleased to hear from potential students who’d like to undertake research in his areas of interest, or in literary history from 1660-1830 more broadly.

Current research 

At present, David is completing an edition of Joseph Addison’s dramatic works for Oxford University Press, which will include the first critical edition of Cato. He’s also beginning work on a new history of spectacle from the Restoration to the Romantic period. This study contends that the theatre – as a visual art, a site of spectatorship, and an idea or metaphor – was a primary means through which eighteenth-century culture negotiated and contested questions of visuality, most especially the always-vexed relationship between word and image.

Selected Publications 



  • “What Cato Did: Suicide, Sentimentalism, and the Drama of Emulation.” Eighteenth-Century Life. Forthcoming.
  • “Johnson’s Textual Landscape.” The Eighteenth-Century: Theory and Interpretation 1 (2018): 65-84
  • “Graphic Satire and the Enlightenment Eye.” Critical Quarterly 4 (2017): 34-53.
  • “Byron, Sheridan, and the Afterlife of Eloquence.” Review of English Studies65 (2014): 474-94.
  • “Edgeworth’s Belinda and the Gendering of Caricature.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction4 (2014): 593-624.
  • “The Disenchanted Island: A Political History of The Tempest, 1760-1830.” Shakespeare Quarterly 4 (Winter 2012): 487-517.
  • “Discoveries and Recoveries in the Laboratory of Georgian Theatre.” New Theatre Quarterly3 (2011): 229-243.
  • “‘The Fate of Empires’: The American War, Political Parody, and Sheridan’s Comedies.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 2 (2009): 379-95.
  • “Wordsworth at the Theater: Illegitimate Spectacle in Book 7 of The Prelude.” European Romantic Review 1 (2009): 77-93.

Book chapters

  • “Censoring the Unseen: Revolution and the Aesthetics of Theatrical Space,” in The Censorship of Eighteenth-Century Theatre: Playhouses and Prohibition, 1737-1843, ed. David O’Shaughnessy (Cambridge University Press). Forthcoming.
  • “Macklin’s Look,” in Charles Macklin and the Practice of Enlightenment, ed. Ian Newman and David O’Shaughnessy (Liverpool University Press). Forthcoming.
  • Cato and the Crisis of Rhetoric,” in Essays on Addison, ed. Paul Davis (Oxford University Press). Forthcoming.
  • “Staging the War at Sea: Race, Re-enactment, Nationhood,” in The Cultural History of the Sea: The Long Eighteenth Century, ed. Jonathan Lamb (Bloomsbury). Forthcoming.
  • “The Practice of Parody,” in The Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth-Century Satire, ed. Paddy Bullard (Oxford University Press, 2019), 353-68.
  • “Gillray’s Gulliver and the 1803 Invasion Scare,” in The Afterlives of Eighteenth-Century Fiction, ed. Daniel Cook and Nicholas Seager (Cambridge University Press, 2015), 212-32.
  • “Rochester, the Playhouse, and Restoration Theatricality,” in Lord Rochester in the Restoration World, ed. Matthew C. Augustine and Steven N. Zwicker (Cambridge University Press, 2015), 121-40.
  • “Theatre Managers and the Managing of Theatre History,” in The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre, 1737-1832, ed. Julia Swindells and David Francis Taylor (Oxford University Press, 2014), 70-88.
  • “Caricaturing Sheridan,” in Richard Brinsley Sheridan: The Impresario in Political and Cultural Context, ed. Jack DeRochi and Daniel Ennis (Bucknell University Press, 2012), 259-83.
  • “Shakespeare and Drama,” in Shakespeare in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Gail Marshall (Cambridge University Press, 2012), 129-47.

For a more detailed summary of David’s research interests and publications see his Faculty webpage.

Tutorial Fellow in English
English Language and Literature
Academic - Fellows & Lecturers