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 the musician Peter Knight, at that time of Steeleye Span.

Teaching and subject expertise

I sit on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Juvenilia Studies and the planning committee for "Dickens and the Child" (London exhibition due to open in 2020). I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

External activities

On 25th December 2018 I spoke about Charles Dickens on ABC Radio, Australia.

Publications and research outputs

In 2018 I published essays on writers ranging from Laurence Sterne to Friedrich Dürrenmatt, born more than two centuries apart.

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) and a special 'outtakes and rarities' edition of The Statement of Stella Maberly by F. Anstey (Valancourt Books, 2017). Two of my journal articles on the latter author are online at and 


Connect with us

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