Professor David Finkelstein

Professor David Finkelstein

Professor of Cultural History

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business

David can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • History of the book
  • History of publishing
  • Victorian culture
  • Victorian history
  • Print culture
  • Media history
  • Journalism
  • Cultural history


Professor David Finkelstein

David holds a BA degree in English and History from Columbia University, and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh. Anglo-American by nature, bilingual and multidisciplinary in focus, his research and teaching experience encompasses print culture, book history and media history areas, with particular focus on nineteenth and early twentieth century cultural history.

He has extensive senior management experience across a range of disciplinary areas, promoting education, research and knowledge exchange developments as Dean of the School of Humanities at the University of Dundee (2012-2014), Head of the Centre for Open Learning at the University of Edinburgh (2015-2018), and in interim management roles at Heriot-Watt University as dual Head of Psychology in the School of Social Sciences and Head of Economics in the Edinburgh Business School (2019-2020).

David is a skilled communicator with over 70 published books, essays and refereed journal articles in areas related to cultural history, print culture and media history, several of which have won awards. Recent work includes Movable Types: Roving Creative Printers of the Victorian World (Oxford University Press, 2018), and the edited Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, volume 2: Expansion and Evolution, 1800-1900 (Edinburgh University Press, 2020). Current projects include edited volumes on the colonial periodical press and book history source materials, as well as work on print workplaces in Edwardian visual culture. He contributes to news outlets such as The Conversation, The Guardian, The Scotsman and History Scotland, and has been a featured commentator on Australian Radio National, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and BBC Scotland.

David joined the University of Plymouth in May 2020 as Professor of Cultural History and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business.


BA in English and History (1986, Columbia University)

PhD in English Literature (1990, University of Edinburgh)

Professional membership

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), 2018-present;

Fellow of the English Association (FEA), 2011-present; 

Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (FRSA), 2007-present;



Research interests

Cultural History, Print Culture and Book History Studies, Media History,Victorian Culture and History





Finkelstein, David (2018). Movable Types: Roving Creative Printers of the Victorian World. Oxford: Oxford University Press (208 pp). ISBN 978-0-198-82602-6.

Finkelstein, David and Alistair McCleery (2012). An Introduction to Book History, 2nd revised edition. London: Routledge (168 pp.). ISBN 978-0-415-68806-2.

Finkelstein, David and Alistair McCleery (2005). An Introduction to Book History. London: Routledge (160 pp). ISBN 0-415-31443-7.

         Italian translation (2006). Introduzione all storia del libro. Milan: Edizioni Sylvestre Bonnard (161 pp). ISBN 8-889-60914-1.

         Chinese translation (2011) Commercial Press (China).

         Spanish translation (2014) Una introducción a la historia del libro. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Paidós (288 pp.). ISBN 978-950-12-5621-5.

Finkelstein (2002). The House of Blackwood: Author-Publisher Relations in the Victorian Era. University Park, PA: Penn State Press (200 pp). ISBN 0-271-02179-9.


Finkelstein, David and Andrew Nash, eds. (in progress), The British Publishing Industry, 1815-1914, 4 vols. London and New York: Routledge.

Davis, Caroline, David Finkelstein and David Johnson, eds. (in progress) Edinburgh Companion to the British Colonial Press. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Finkelstein, David, ed. (2020). Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, vol. 2: Expansion and Evolution, 1800-1900. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (850 pp.) ISBN 978-1-4744-2488-2.

McCleery, Alistair, David Finkelstein and Jennie Renton, eds. (2009) An Honest Trade: Booksellers and Bookselling in Scotland. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers (153 pp.) ISBN 0-859-76673-X.

Finkelstein, David and Alistair McCleery, eds. (2007). Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, vol. 4: Professionalisation and Diversity, 1880-2000. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. (548 pp.) ISBN 0-748-61829-5.

Finkelstein, David, ed. (2006). Print Culture and the Blackwood Tradition, 1805-1930. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (340 pp.) ISBN 0-8020-8711-6 Awarded the 2007 Robert Colby Scholarly Book Prize by the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals

McCleery, Alistair, David Finkelstein and Sarah Bromage, eds. (2006). Papermaking on the Water of Leith. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers Ltd. (176 pp.) ISBN 0-859-76672-1.

Finkelstein, David and Alistair McCleery, eds. (2006). The Book History Reader, 2nd revised edition. London and New York: Routledge (570 pp.). ISBN 0-415-35948-3.

Finkelstein, D. and McCleery, A. eds. (2006). The Book History Reader, 2nd revised edition. Routledge

Holmes, H. and Finkelstein, D. eds. (2001). Thomas Nelson and Sons. Tuckwell Press Ltd

Finkelstein, D. and Peers, D.M. eds. (2000). Negotiating India in the Nineteenth-Century Media. Macmillan Press

Brake, L., Bell B. and Finkelstein D. eds. (2000). Nineteenth-Century Media and the Construction of Identities. Palgrave


Finkelstein (in progress, due for submission January 2022). “Colonial Trade Identity and Labour Information Exchange in the International Typographical Trade Press, 1840-1910,” In Davis, Finkelstein and Johnson, eds. Edinburgh Companion to the British Colonial Press, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Brownlees, Nicholas and David Finkelstein (in progress, due for submission October 2021). “The Business of the Press,” in Brownlees, ed., The Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, Volume 1: Beginnings and Consolidation 1640-1800, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (10,000 words).

Finkelstein (in progress, due for submission May 2021). “Scottish Publishing.” In Gerald Carruthers, ed. Blackwell Companion to Scottish Literature. Oxford: Blackwell.

Finkelstein and Emile Schrijver (in press, 2021). “Jewish book history and general book history.” Encyclopedia of Jewish Book Cultures. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV (5,000 words).

Finkelstein (2020). “Introduction.” In D. Finkelstein, ed., Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, vol. 2: Expansion and Evolution, 1800-1900. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (pp. 1-34).

Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery (2019). “Publishing.” in A. Nash and C. Squires, eds., Cambridge History of the Book in Britain: Vol. 7. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (pp. 146-190).

Finkelstein and Claire Squires (2019). “Book Events, Book Environments.” in A. Nash and C. Squires, eds., Cambridge History of the Book in Britain: Vol. 7. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (pp. 668-678).

Finkelstein (2018). “The Scottish Printing Diasporas, 1840-1914.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press ( (10,000 words).

Finkelstein (2016). “Periodicals in Scotland.” in Alexis Easley, Andrew King and John Morton, eds. The Routledge Handbook to Nineteenth-Century British Periodicals and Newspapers. London: Routledge (pp. 185-193). Essay collection presented with the 2017 Robert Colby Scholarly Book Prize by the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals.

Finkelstein (2015). “The Blackwood Female Literary Network, 1880-1910.” in William Baker, ed. Studies in Victorian and Modern Literature: A Tribute to John Sutherland. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (pp. 17-37).

Finkelstein (2014). “The Role of the Literary and Cultural Periodical.” In Martin Conboy and John Steel, eds., Routledge Companion to British Media History. London: Routledge (pp. 263-272).

Finkelstein (2014). “Nineteenth-Century Print on the Move: A Perilous Study of Translocal Migration and Print Skills Transfer.” In Jason McElligott and Eve Patten, eds. Theory and Practice in Book, Print and Publishing History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (pp. 150-166).

Finkelstein (2013). “Selling Blackwood’s Magazine, 1817-1834.” In Robert Morrison and Daniel Sanjiv Roberts, eds. Romanticism and Blackwood’s Magazine: ‘An Unprecedented Phenomenon’. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (pp. 69-86).

Finkelstein (2012). “Publishing and the Materiality of the Book.” in Kate Flint, ed. The New Cambridge History of English Literature: The Victorian Period. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (pp. 15-33).

Finkelstein (2011). “Publishing.” in Peter Logan, ed. Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Novel. Oxford: Blackwell. (pp. 638-642).

Fleming, Linda, David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery (2011). “In a Class of their Own: the autodidact impulse and working class readers in twentieth-century Scotland.” In K. Halsey, S. Towheed and R. Crone, eds., The History of Reading, vol. 2: The British Isles. London: Routledge. (pp. 189-204).

Finkelstein (2009). “Scottish Book Publishing in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century.” in Kenneth Veitch, ed. Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, vol. 8: Transport and Communication in Scotland. Edinburgh: NMS and John Donald Publishers. (pp. 695-715).


Finkelstein (2018). “Scottish Compositor Poets and the Typographical Trade Press, 1850-1880.” Special issue, “Scottish Political Poetry and Song 1832-1918.” Scottish Literary Review. 10.2 (Autumn-Winter): 47-69.

David Finkelstein and Jenny Hoy (2017). “The Importance of Community Context within Lifelong Learning: a case study.” Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning. 19.1 (January): 95-110.

David Finkelstein and Sydney Shep (2011). “Migration, Identity and Print Culture: Sir David Henry and the Kinleith Paper Mill.” Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies 4.1 (Autumn): 119-130. Also reproduced in The Quarterly: The Journal of the British Association of Paper Historians, 80 (October 2011): 1-6.

Finkelstein (2009). “‘Decent Company’: Conrad, Blackwood’s, and the Literary Marketplace.” Conradiana 41.1 (Spring): 29-47.

Bromage, Sarah, David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery (2009). “Publishing, Oral History and the SAPPHIRE Archive.” Scottish Archives 15: 91-97.

Finkelstein, D. (2008). “The Publication History of Ranjitsinhji’s The Jubilee Book of Cricket.” Journal of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society. 3: 38-48.

Finkelstein, D. (2012). “Political Journalism: Anthony Sampson and Seymour Hersh.” Journalism Practice 6.1: 138-142.

Finkelstein, D. (2011). “Sports Broadcasters: Howard Cosell and Harry Carpenter.” Journalism Practice 5.2: 1-4.

Finkelstein, D. (2010). “Radio Journalism: H.V. Kaltenborn and José Pardo Llada.” Journalism Practice 4.1: 114-118.

Finkelstein, D. (2009). “Photojournalism: Arthur Fellig (Weegee) and Homai Vyarawalla.” Journalism Practice 3.1: 108-112.

Finkelstein, D. (2008). “Investigative Journalism: Elena Poniatowska and Anna Politkovskaya.” Journalism Practice 2.1: 129-133.

Finkelstein, D. (2007). “Rupert Murdoch and Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe.” Journalism Practice 1.2: 277-282.

Other Publications

Book Reviews (selected)

Finkelstein, D. (2018). "Victorian Jesus: J.R. Seeley, Religion, and the Cultural Significance of Anonymity." Canadian Journal of History 53(3) 547-549, DOI Open access

Finkelstein, D. (2018). "Empires of Print: Adventure Fiction in the Magazines, 1899–1919. By Patrick Scott Belk." The Library 19(1) 93-94, DOI Open access

Krieken, R.V., Amado, A., & Finkelstein, D. (2016). "Book Reviews." International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics 12(3) 389-397, DOI Open access

Finkelstein, D. (2015). "Biography of a Book: Henry Lawson's While the Billy Boils; While the Billy Boils: The Original Newspaper Versions." English Studies 96(6) 727-729, DOI

Finkelstein, D. (2015). "The Author's Hand and the Printer's Mind." Journal of Historical Geography 47, 111-112, DOI

Finkelstein, D. (2011). "The Oxford Companion to the Book, edited by Michael Suarez and H. R. Woudhuysen." Victorian Studies 53(3) 528-528, DOI

Finkelstein, D. (2011). "Geographies of the Book." Journal of Historical Geography 37(1) 137-138, DOI

Finkelstein, D. (2010). "Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880–1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernism, edited by Ann L. Ardis and Patrick Collier." Victorian Studies 52(3) 516-516, DOI

Finkelstein, D. (2007). "Cold type." TLS - The Times Literary Supplement (5450) 22-23

Finkelstein, D. (2007). "Pressed into service." TLS - The Times Literary Supplement (5462)

Finkelstein, D. (2002). "Cyberpunk and Cyberculture: Science Fiction and the Work of William Gibson. Dani Cavallaro, William Gibson." The Library Quarterly 72(3) 386-388, DOI