Staff Profile


Dr Peter Merchant

Principal Lecturer

School: School of Humanities

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 922330

Profile summary

After four years as a Junior Research Fellow at Queens' College Cambridge, I joined what was then the English Department at Christ Church in 1983. Having served terms of ten to twelve years both as Undergraduate Programme Director and as Director of an interdisciplinary Humanities MA in 19th-century Life and Thought, I am now the Level 5 and Level 6 Examinations Officer in English. My teaching, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, continues to span the whole of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 

Research and knowledge exchange

I was on the organising committee of one of the major projects of the Dickens bicentenary, a conference which in February 2012 travelled from Paris to London and one of whose British stages was jointly hosted by Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent. Each of the hosts having supplied an editor for a collection of essays reflecting the debates and scholarly discoveries of which that leg of the conference consisted, Dickens and the Imagined Child, edited by Peter Merchant and Catherine Waters, was published by Ashgate in early 2015:

Other collaborative projects have included contributing portions of text to an installation which in 2013 the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust commissioned from Peter Knight of Steeleye Span.

Teaching and subject expertise

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and in 2018 I was invited to join the Editorial Board of the Journal of Juvenilia Studies.

Publications and research outputs

In addition to Dickens and the Imagined Child, my past work includes boundary-testing treatments of several otherwise relatively unsung eighteenth- and nineteenth-century authors (ranging from Sarah Fyge Egerton to Anna Kingsford) and, through a combination of original essays with editions of classic works, contributions to the study of a number of major figures (Samuel Johnson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell, Anne Brontë, Anthony Trollope) from the same periods.

Work recently published or forthcoming in the field of eighteenth-century studies includes a piece on Robert Paltock for the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopaedia of British Literature 1660-1789, ed. Jack Lynch and Gary Day, and one of the entries in The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, ed. April London. Out of my work with archived manuscripts, meanwhile, have come a chapter on the juvenilia of Mary Eliza Haweis (in Home and Away: The Place of the Child Writer, ed. Lesley Peterson and David Owen), a special 'outtakes and rarities' edition of The Statement of Stella Maberly by F. Anstey (Valancourt Books, 2017), and a journal article offering fuller discussion of the same material: 


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Last edited: 13/12/2018 21:16:00