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Mr Jonathan Perris

I studied Philosophy as an undergraduate before working for a number of years as an Editor at Oxford University Press. I then undertook an interdisciplinary Masters in English Literature and History at Kellogg College before beginning my DPhil at Lady Margaret Hall and then moving to Oriel.

I am currently writing my doctoral thesis on cultural contamination and the Gothic sublime in the Romantic period. At Oriel, I teach on English Papers 4 (1660-1760), 5 (1760-1830), and Prelims 3 (1830-1910).

Research Interests

My research broadly sits across the long eighteenth century and early Victorian period. I am particularly interested in the relationship between literary affect, political discourse, and radical culture, with a focus on the British Empire and slave trade.

I also have an abiding interest in literary and cultural theory, with a focus on the relationships between literature, class and economics.

My doctoral research examines how a number of imperial attitudes and cultural motifs emerged from the metropolitan literary culture of eighteenth-century London. In particular, the thesis studies engagement with the affect, imagery and narrative technique of the early Gothic sublime together with associated anxieties of metropolitan class restructuring as a result of expanding empire and developing capital markets. I suggest corollaries between these and the common trope that Britain was in various ways being ‘infected’ by colonial contact.


‘God lives in the Sun’: The subversion of Eurocentrism in William Blake’s ‘The Little Black Boy’ (European Romantic Review, forthcoming).

This paper problematises current conceptions of radical engagement with anti-slavery discourse. I examine the connection between Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative and Blake’s ‘The Little Black Boy’, suggesting the latter as a direct and sardonic response to the liminal voice constructed in slave narratives such as the former.