Dr Rosalind M Powell

BA(Cantab.), MPhil(St.And.), PhD(St.And.)

  • BS8 1TB

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Personal profile

Research interests

Keywords: eighteenth-century literature; poetry and poetics; analogy natural philosophy; physico-theology; literature and science 1700-1830; religious poetry; Biblical and classical imitation; national identity; ; translation and imitation.

My research focuses on poetry of the long eighteenth century and my principle area of interest is the relationship between literature, science and religion in the period. My second book, Perception and Analogy, will be published by Manchester University Press in Autumn 2021. With chapters on astronomy, light, colour, sight and blindness, and associationism and the rise of early neurology, the book explores what it means to ‘see scientifically’ in the eighteenth century by looking at the descriptive strategies of poets, natural philosophers, and theologians from the period.

I have also written on poetry and Linnaean botany, Christian ideas in Romantic literature about science, and  religious expression and anti-Newtonianism in the works of Christopher Smart and his contemporaries. My first book, Christopher Smart’s English Lyrics (2014), considers Smart’s reception of Biblical and classical verse in terms of national and religious identity.

Current research projects include (1) a study on self-experimentation in the long eighteenth century and (2) an article on mock-scientific texts.




Consultation hours


I currently teach on the following units: Literature 1550-1740 (Y1), Transformations (Y1), Approaches to Poetry (Y1), Literature and Science: Newton to Darwin (Y2), Literature 3: 1700-1830 (Y3), Novel Territories (Y3), Renaissance Literature: Texts and Contexts (MA), Romantic Poetry and Poetics (MA), and Gothic (MA).

Research supervision

I would be delighted to hear from students interested in pursuing doctoral work in eighteenth­century and Romantic literature, particularly in poetry and poetics, literature and science, and translation or imitation. I would also welcome enquiries about research projects in literature and science topics between 1660 and 1860.

Additional activities

I became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014. I am a member of the executive committee of the British Society for Literature and Science and a member of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Centre for Humanities Health and Science


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