Francis O'Gorman (MA DPhil (Oxford) FSA)

Saintsbury Professor of English Literature


Francis O'Gorman is Saintsbury Professor of English Literature. Until August 2016 he worked at the University of Leeds where, from 2006, he held a personal chair in Victorian Literature. He was Head of the School of English from 2007-11 (one of the largest English departments in the UK) and before that directed the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, and, before that, served as the School of English's Director of Learning and Teaching. Prior to arriving in Leeds, he had been Lecturer in English Literature at Pembroke College Oxford, Senior Lecturer at Westminster College Oxford, and Research Fellow at what is now the University of Gloucestershire. 

From English, Irish, and Hungarian families, Francis O'Gorman took his undergraduate degree (double first) and doctorate from Lady Margaret Hall Oxford where he also served as the college's C.S. Deneke organ scholar, directing the college choir and playing the organ. He won the Violet Vaughan Morgan prize for English Literature in the University of Oxford as an undergraduate in 1987 (writing about Sir Walter Scott) and was an academic scholar in English Literature as both an undergraduate and graduate student. He is now a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, of the Royal Historical Society, and of the English Association, a Companion of the Guild of St George, and Honorary Professor in the Ruskin Library and Research Centre at the University of Lancaster. He is a very active performing musician and writes and broadcasts widely on choral and organ music.


MA DPhil (Oxford) FSA FRHistS FEA

Responsibilities & affiliations

UK (Ruskin) director, Victorian Lives and Letters Consortium

Co-convenor, the Ludgate Colloquiua in the City of London

Chairman: The Ruskin Society


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am a literary critic concerned with literature as the work of the imagination. I am willing to supervise work on many authors and topics in English and Irish literature, 1780-1920, and work on music and literature.

Current PhD students supervised

4 current PhD students; one current MSc by research.

Past PhD students supervised

I have had 21 successful doctoral students.

Research summary

Francis O'Gorman wrote a DPhil on John Ruskin and has continued to work thereafter mainly though not exclusively on English and Irish literature, 1780-1920. 

His principal writing is currently about Yeats; the history of London in literature; Walter Pater; and the narratives of psychoanalysis. He is also completing an edition of Emily Brontë for the 21st-century Oxford Authors series, due out in 2023. O'Gorman has previously written or edited 24 books (including 6 on or by Ruskin) and his most recent are The Cambridge Companion to John Ruskin (CUP, 2015), Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History (Bloomsbury, 2015, pbk 2016), an edition of Trollope's The Way We Live Now (Oxford World's Classics, 2016), and Orley Farm (2018), and the Twenty-First Century Oxford Authors edition of Algernon Charles Swinburne (OUP, 2016). His edition of volume 5 of the Selected Prose of Edward Thomas was published by OUP in 2017, and his edition of Wilike Collins's The Moonstone, from the same press, appeared in 2019. Francis O'Gorman's recent essays have covered authors including Tennyson, Larkin, Yeats, Hopkins, T.S. Eliot, Joyce, Matthew Arnold, Thomas Hardy, Tennyson, and Trollope.

Francis O'Gorman's earlier books include John Ruskin (1999), Late Ruskin: New Contexts (2002, rpt. 2016); The Victorians and the Eighteenth Century: Reassessing the Tradition (co-ed., 2004); Victorian Literature and Finance (ed., 2007);  and The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Culture (ed., 2010).  He edited the Blackwell Anthology of Victorian Poetry (2004), the Blackwell Guide to Criticism on Victorian Fiction (2002), and the Blackwell Concise Companion to Victorian Fiction (2005). Francis O'Gorman has edited for Oxford World's Classics, in addition to the texts mentioned above, Elizabeth Gaskell's Sylvia's Lovers (2014) and Trollope's The Duke's Children (ed, 2011) and Framley Parsonage (ed, 2014) and Ruskin's Praeterita (2012). His edition of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles was published by Broadview in 2007. Francis O'Gorman published his edition of Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone in August 2019. His Forgetfulness: Making the Modern Culture of Amnesia appeared from Bloomsbury in 2017 and in 2020 was published both in paperback and in French.

_Worrying_ was a Guardian 'Book of the Week', a Sunday Times 'Must Read', and one of Bookbag's 'History books of the Year'. It was described by John Carey in The Sunday Times as 'subtle, exploratory, completely original'. Its publication was followed by live interviews on BBC Radio 3; BBC Radio Wales; BBC Radio York and Irish, Swedish, and Australian national radio. Francis O'Gorman's contribution to Radio 3's 'The Essay', 23-6 June 2016, was on 'The Rituals of Worry'. He has also contributed articles derived from the book to magazines and newspapers in the UK and US.

_Forgetfulness: Making the Modern Culture of Amnesia_ was published on 5 October 2017 and described by John Gray in The New Statesman as follows: 'A book as acutely intelligent and as original as this is a rare gift of fortune ...' '[it] will change how readers think of their lives ...'. Two contributions to radio Three's 'The Essay', on forgetting, were broadcast in January 2018.

The Cambridge Companion to John Ruskin won the Ruskin Society's 'Book of the Year 2016' award, announced in the birthday meeting in the Art Workers' Guild, 11 February 2017.

Francis O'Gorman's work has been externally supported by the British Academy, the Italian Cultural Institute, the British Association for Victorian Studies, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. 

He can be followed on Twitter @francis_ogorman.

Francis O'Gorman is Chairman of the Ruskin Society and co-organiser with the Right Revd Dr Stephen Platten of the Ludgate Colloquia in the City of London. He broadcasts regularly on cultural topics.


Francis O'Gorman remains an active classical musician, both practically and as a writer and broadcaster on music. 



Project activity

Victorian Lives and Letters Consortium

Past project grants

Awards from the British Academy, the Italian Cultural Institute, the British Association for Victorian Studies, and the AHRC.

View all 109 publications on Research Explorer