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Samuel Johnson, Literary Life Writing, and Lichfield Literary Culture, 1775-1835

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

AHRC-funded PhD Studentship at Keele University in collaboration with the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum, to start September 2020

Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded PhD in English Literature, supervised collaboratively by Keele University, the University of Liverpool, and the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum in Lichfield: ‘Samuel Johnson, Literary Life Writing, and Lichfield Literary Culture, 1775-1835’. This is offered under the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award programme. The student will be supervised by Dr Nicholas Seager (Keele), Professor Mark Towsey (Liverpool), and Joanne Wilson (Johnson Birthplace). It is especially suitable for students with a background in eighteenth- or nineteenth-century studies, whether or not they have worked directly on the topic of the project.

The Project

From 1775-1835, life writing underwent monumental changes, completing a shift away from the ‘exemplary’ models of biography that dominated earlier periods to new modes interested in the interior psychological, moral, and creative lives of individuals. Samuel Johnson was a major theorist and practitioner of biography, as well as the subject of the period’s most famous biography, Boswell’s Life of Johnson. Johnson’s direct and indirect influence on his contemporaries, including those based in or associated with his native Lichfield, was an impetus for experimentation in biographical genres.

The project re-examines late Georgian literary culture by offering the student the chance to re-evaluate the literary group centred in Lichfield. It will provide the student with privileged access to an under-examined collection of manuscripts and printed books, rigorous training in archival and curatorial work, and public engagement opportunities through the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum.

See here:

The Studentship

The studentship is awarded subject to AHRC eligibility criteria and covers tuition fees for all three years and a grant (stipend) towards living expenses set by Research Councils UK currently £15,009 per annum for Collaborative Doctoral Students:

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Students are also eligible to draw additional funding from a Student Development Fund to support the cost of training, work placements, and other development opportunities that will benefit the student’s doctoral research and future career development.

How to Apply

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in English or a relevant discipline, such as History, and will need to satisfy AHRC eligibility requirements including Masters-level advanced research training or equivalent.

For information about the studentship, please contact Dr Nicholas Seager (). Enquiries about the application process should be directed to Helen Farrell ().

Applicants should apply via Keele University studentship page:
and include the following:
• a curriculum vitae (no more than 2 pages);
• a sample of writing (3-5,000 words);
• a letter (one page) outlining their interest in and qualification for the studentship;
• transcripts of undergraduate and Masters qualifications;
• two academic references, which the candidate should request the referee to send.

Applications must be received no later than 5pm on Monday 31st January 2020

Interview date: Thursday 13th February 2020.

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