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Durham University

Department of English Studies


Academic Staff

Dr Peter Garratt

Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42565

(email at


Peter Garratt joined the English Department in 2013. He holds a Masters and PhD from the University of Edinburgh and a BA from Durham. He is the author of Victorian Empiricism (2010) and the editor of The Cognitive Humanities: Embodied Mind in Literature and Culture (2016). Peter has interests in Victorian fiction and non-fiction, especially George Eliot and Ruskin, and also nineteenth-century philosophy and science. Current projects include a study of realist narrative and the science of mind, exploring the historical development of the cognitive sciences and their intersections with literary culture.

In connection with this, Peter was Principal Investigator on the AHRC network, Cognitive Futures in the Humanities (2012-14), a project bringing together leading international figures from philosophy, linguistics, literary studies and cognitive science to examine how the arts and humanities might respond to the 'cognitive revolution'. He is now a Co-Investigator on a major new project, 'A History of Distributed Cognition', funded by an AHRC standard grant (2014-18). A collaboration between Edinburgh, Stirling and Durham universities, involving Classics, Philosophy and English, it looks at external and environmental aspects of the thinking self from antiquity to the modern period--or, as one might put it, the mind beyond the brain (and the mind beyond the skull and skin). 

Peter was the lead researcher on the British Academy-funded project, 'Making A Darkness Visible: The Literary Moment, 1820-1840' (2013). He is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College (2014-18), and an executive committee member of the British Society for Literature and Science. He is part of the interdisciplinary research team on Durham's Hearing the Voice project, an investigation into voice-hearing funded by a 5-year Wellcome Trust Humanities and Social Science Collaborative Award and hosted by the Centre for Medical Humanities. Peter is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the British Association of Victorian Studies, the North American Victorian Studies Association, and the American Comparative Literature Association, and he has given keynote lectures in Vienna and Helsinki.

Research Grants

  • 2014. (Co-I) AHRC standard grant (£600,000)
  • 2013. (PI) British Academy small research grant (£6,980)
  • 2013. (PI) AHRC collaborative skills development (supervisor) (£1,726)
  • 2012-14. (PI) AHRC networking grant (£45,000)

Research Interests

  • Victorian fiction
  • Literature and science
  • Ruskin
  • Cognitive science and the arts and humanities


Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Garratt, Peter (2019). The Victorian Extended Mind: George Eliot, Psychology, and the Bounds of Cognition. In The Edinburgh History of Distributed Cognition: From Victorian Culture to Modernism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Garratt, Peter (2018). Out of Breath: Respiratory Aesthetics from Ruskin to Vernon Lee. In Reading Breath in Literature. Rose, Arthur Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Garratt, Peter (2017). On Entanglings: Disciplines, Materiality and Distributed Cognition. In Minding Borders: Resilient Divisions in Literature, the Body and the Academy. Nicola Gardini, Adriana X. Jacobs, Ben Morgan, Mohamed-Salah Omri & Matthew Reynolds Oxford: Legenda. 150-168.
  • Garratt, Peter (2017). Scientific Literary Criticism. In The Routledge Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Science. Holmes, John & Ruston, Sharon Farnham: London & New York: Routledge. 115-127.
  • Garratt, Peter (2016). Cognitive Science and Critical Theory. In The Edinburgh Companion to Critical Theory. Sim, Stuart Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 456-473.
  • Garratt, Peter (2016). Sublime Transport: Ruskin, Travel and the Art of Speed. In Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760-1900. Murray, Brian & Henes, Mary Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 194-212.
  • Garratt, Peter (2016). The Cognitive Humanities: Whence and Whither?. In The Cognitive Humanities: Embodied Mind in Literature and Culture. Garratt, Peter Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 1-15.
  • Garratt, Peter (2016). Victorian Literary Aesthetics and Mental Pathology. In The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities. Whitehead, Anne, Woods, Angela, Atkinson, Sarah, Macnaughton, Jane & Richards, Jenny Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 428-443.

Edited book

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

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