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Professor Sarah Wootton


Professor in the Department of English Studies+44 (0) 191 33 42568


Byronic Heroes and Consuming Keats

Professor Sarah Wootton joined the English Department at Durham University in 2002. Her research and teaching interests are in the Romantic and Victorian periods, with a particular focus on the afterlives of nineteenth-century writers in fiction, art, and screen adaptation.

Sarah's first book, Consuming Keats: Nineteenth-Century Representations in Art and Literature (2006), examines the creative legacy of Keats's poetry in the literary and visual arts of the Victorian period and beyond. She won the Keats-Shelley Memorial Prize for research on this topic. Her second monograph, Byronic Heroes in Nineteenth-Century Women's Writing and Screen Adaptation (2016), explores the legacy of a unique cultural phenomenon in the fiction of Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot, together with screen versions of their novels. This book won the 2016 Elma Dangerfield Prize, awarded by the International Association of Byron Societies. Sarah is co-editor of the following books, Venice and the Cultural Imagination (2012) and The Persistence of Beauty: Victorians to Moderns (2015); co-editor of special issues of the journals Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net (2008) and Women's Writing (2018); and editor of two special issues of the journal Romanticism (2016, 2022), the most recent of these, 'Keats in 1819, Essays in Honour of Michael O'Neill'.

Sarah is an academic organiser of the Keats Foundation International Conference, a series of bicentennial events, started in 2014, to mark the life, work, and afterlives of this Romantic poet. Conference venues include the Keats House in Hampstead and Guy's Hospital. She has been a Co-Director of the Romantic Dialogues and Legacies Research Group at Durham University since 2005. In 2016, Sarah organised a special event, 'Celebrating the Brontës', to commemorate the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë's birth and to mark International Women's Day. 

Sarah has given public lectures at the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Keats-Shelley Memorial House in Rome, as well as plenaries and invited talks at a range of venues, including the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and St Andrews. She has given keynote lectures at the Wordsworth Summer Conference (2015) and the Brontë Society Conference (2017), as well as the Annual Lucy Edwards Lecture (2015) and the inaugural Cross Street Lecture in Manchester (2018). 

Sarah welcomes PhD applications in the areas of nineteenth-century literature and the visual arts, the cultural legacies of Romantic and Victorian writers, and nineteenth-century women's writing. She has supervised students on screen adaptations of the nineteenth-century novel and on various aspects of the Brontës' fiction and their cultural afterlives.

Research interests

  • Afterlives of Nineteenth-Century Writers, inc. Screen Adaptation
  • Nineteenth-Century Literature and the Visual Arts
  • Nineteenth-Century Women's Writing
  • Poetry of John Keats and Lord Byron, and the Prose of Jane Austen


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