Dr Michael J. Sullivan

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


BA English (Dunelm), MPhil (Cantab), PhD (Cantab)

Academic Background

Michael J. Sullivan is a Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, and General Editor of The Complete Works of Alfred Tennyson for Oxford University Press. His interests span the poetics and verse cultures of the eighteenth and long nineteenth centuries, with publications on Victorian and Romantic literature and a special interest in the works of Tennyson, Byron, Wordsworth, and Dickinson. He is a past holder of the Rodney G. Dennis Visiting Fellowship in the Study of Manuscripts at the Houghton Library, Harvard, and his work on Tennyson’s revisions won the 2016 Gordon Duff Prize in the Arts of Manuscripts.

Michael completed his PhD in English Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, after studying for the MPhil in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies, both funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Prior to his postgraduate research, he graduated from the University of Durham, where he was a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar and winner of the T. W. Craik, Brooks Johnson, and J. R. Watson prizes, for the highest performance in the Shakespeare and overall Finals Examinations. He was educated at state schools in Yorkshire, and contributes to access, outreach, and public engagement for literature and the humanities.

Undergraduate Teaching

Poetry and prose from the eighteenth century to the present day. At Christ Church, I have taught Prelims Papers 3 and 4 (Literature in English since 1830), as well as workshops on close reading manuscripts. In Cambridge, I supervised at Trinity, St John’s, Selwyn, Magdalene, Pembroke, and Emmanuel, for the third-year Lyric and Victorian papers, first- and third-year Practical Criticism, and second-year dissertations.

Research Interests

Michael's wider research interests are in the development of genre in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Elizabeth Barrett Browning, W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Matthew Arnold, Thomas Hardy, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Emily Brontë. Current thematic research interests include the development of the verse novel, print and manuscript cultures since 1700, lyric studies and the musicality of verse, the role of lyric anthologies in canon creation and periodisation, the origins and legacies of ‘Romanticism’, the influence of sceptical philosophy and aesthetics on English verse, Anglo-American intersections, editing and textual criticism, and temporality in narrative verse.

Publications include:


1. General Editor, The Complete Works of Alfred Tennyson, 9 volumes, Oxford University Press

2. Tennyson and the Revision of Song (in preparation)

Journal Special Issues

3. Guest Editor, Victorian Poetry, Special Issue on ‘Tennyson and the Poetic Imagination’, 59/2 (Summer 2021)

4. Guest Editor, Tennyson Research Bulletin, Special Issue, 11/4 (Winter 2020)

Journal Articles

5. ‘Tennyson and the Allegory of Art’, Victorian Poetry, 59/2 (Summer 2021)

6. ‘Error and Erasure in Ruskin’s and Tennyson’s Letters’, Tennyson Research Bulletin, 11/4 (2020)

7. ‘Tennyson, Obscured’, Tennyson Research Bulletin, 11/4 (2020)

8. ‘Alfred Tennyson and Frederick Goddard Tuckerman: An Omitted Page of Correspondence’, Notes & Queries, 64/1 (2017), 131-133

9. ‘Tennyson and The Golden Treasury’, Essays in Criticism, 66/4 (2016), 431-443

10. ‘Tennyson and The Golden Treasury: A Rediscovered Revision Copy’, Literary Imagination, 18/3 (2016), 230-238

11. ‘“The Controlless Core of Human Hearts”: Writing the Self in Byron’s Don Juan’, The Byron Journal, 42/2 (2014), 123-132

Reviews and Other Publications

12. ‘Dickinson’s Voice’, Essays in Criticism, 69/1 (2019), 103-109

13. ‘The Victorian Period (1830-1900)’, The Year’s Work in English Studies, 97/1 (2018), 693-888, co-authored

14. ‘The Victorian Period (1830-1900)’, The Year’s Work in English Studies, 96/1 (2017), 703-915, co-authored

15. ‘The Persistence of Beauty’, The Cambridge Quarterly, 45/4 (2016), 385-390

16. ‘Deborah Lutz, Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)’, Tennyson Research Bulletin, 10/5 (2016), 483-484

17. ‘Tennyson at Trinity’, The Fountain, 19 (2014), 12-13

18. ‘Reading Between the Lines: Letters and Literature’, Conference Report, Research in English at Durham (2012)