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Department of English Studies

Our Current and Recent Research Students

We have a thriving postgraduate community, with around 75 current PhD students, and many more MA students. The profiles of some of our current and recent PhD students can be found here.

Miss Clara Dawson

(email at


I am currently a tutor in the English Department, having recently submitted my doctoral thesis, "Voice and Reception in Victorian Poetry". My thesis (funded by an AHRC doctoral award) makes a detailed study of exchanges between poets and reviewers over the period 1830-1870. I explore how the small, elite group of readers who commented publicly and privately on poets' work, and the ideal readers poets imagined into being through their poetry, interweave to create a complex web of linguistic negotiations between poet and audience. The thesis examines the significance of these exchanges as a way of understanding current critical thought on Victorian poets.

I am currently working on a two-volume edition in Routledge's Critical Heritage series. Critical Heritage: Elizabeth Barrett Browning is forthcoming with Routledge in early 2013. I have also published an article in the Tennyson Research Bulletin (Autumn 2010) and have recently submitted articles to Essays in Criticism (accepted subject to revisions) and Irish University Review.

My research interests are in Victorian Studies, Victorian poetry, the transition between late Romantic and early Victorian poetics, reception studies, and Northern Irish and Irish poetry of the mid-twentieth century. In my work on Irish poetry, I am currently writing on poetry written after Bloody Sunday, and have published a short article at the link below:

Before starting my PhD at Durham, I completed my MA at York University (Distinction, funded by an AHRC award) and my BA (First Class Honours) at Durham. During my time at Durham I have taught on modules from the seventeenth century to the twentieth, and am particularly interested in teaching on Romantic, Victorian and Modernist courses.

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