Timothy Milnes

Senior Lecturer


Tim Milnes obtained his MA in English and Philosophy from St Andrews University (1992) and his DPhil from St Hugh's College, Oxford (1997). While still a doctoral student he was a Lecturer in English at Christ Church University College, Canterbury (1995-98).

From 1998 to 2001 he was British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at University College, Oxford. He has published articles on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jeremy Bentham, William Hazlitt, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, and Charles Lamb, and is the author of Knowledge and Indifference in English Romantic Prose (Cambridge University Press, 2003), William Wordsworth: The Prelude (Palgrave, 2009) and The Truth about Romanticism: Pragmatism and Idealism in Keats, Shelley, Coleridge (Cambridge University Press, 2010). He is the co-editor, with Kerry Sinanan, of Romanticism, Sincerity, and Authenticity (Palgrave, 2010) and is a consulting editor for the journal Hazlit Studies.

Undergraduate teaching

  • 'Ideology and Literature' (Year 3 Autumn Option)
  • 'Metaphysics and Melancholy: Literature/Philosophy 1689-1764' (Year 3 Spring Core)
  • 'Literature in the Age of Terror' (Year 4 Autumn Core)
  • 'The Literary Absolute' (MSc Option)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Chak Kwan Ng - Romanticism, space and performativity

Hongxia Xu - Wordsworth and Education


Emily Doucet - William Morris

Pablo San Martin - Percy Shelley, Myth and Enlightenment

Paul Nash - The Idea of China in Eighteenth-Century British Literature

Thomas Null - Percy Shelley and Empathy

Stephanie Hicks - Emerson and Coleridge

Research summary

Tim welcomes research proposals at MScR or PhD level on any aspect of romantic literature and culture, as well as projects on the 'long' eighteenth century, particularly those pursuing an interdisciplinary approach.

He has supervised PhD and MScR projects on topics such as Byron and the book trade, Wordsworth and education, romanticism and genre, the Lyrical Ballads and the German tour of 1798-99, romantic confessional literature, romantic concepts of space and performativity, and the idea of China in late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century literature.

Project activity

Tim is currently writing a British Academy-funded monograph entitled Essays in Experience: Empiricism and the Essay from Hume to Hazlitt. This is a study of ideas of communicative rationality, trust and intersubjectivity from the publication of David Hume’s Treatise in 1739-40 to the familiar essays of William Hazlitt in the 1820s. The book identifies three ‘turns’ in empiricism around this time -- linguistic, pragmatic, and aesthetic -- which, taken together, constitute a radical departure from Lockean representationalism. These ‘turns’ are spurred by new thinking about the relationship between truth, language, and the individual. The book traces the legacy of this socialised form of empiricism to modern developments in pragmatics, speech-act theory and pragmatist philosophy.

Tim is also writing the volume on British Romantic Literature for the Palgrave series Readers' Guides to Essential Criticism. This will appear in 2016.

View all 19 publications on Research Explorer