Dr Robin Peel

Dr Robin Peel

Visiting Research Fellow

School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Reader in English


Ph D University of Exeter

MA University of Nottingham

BEd University of Nottingham

Professional membership

Robin Peel is a member of the Higher Education Academy.



Teaching interests

Robin Peel leads modules on Edwardian Writing (at both BA and Masters level) and on the American South.



Research interests

Robin Peel’s most recent research interests have been the relationship between politics and writing in the work of Sylvia Plath, Edith Wharton and Emily Dickinson. As part of this research he has spent time as a visiting scholar at Smith College, Massachusetts and at Harvard University. In recent years he has been awarded an Everett Helm research fellowship at the Lilly Library, Indiana University, and a Modern Literature research fellowship at the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University. He has also carried out research into the Wharton papers held at the Beinecke Library, the Houghton Library at Harvard University and at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in the University of Texas at Austin. He was a featured speaker at the Sylvia Plath Symposium held at Indiana University in 2002 and at the Oxford University symposium held in 2007. In 2008 he was funded by the British Academy to complete the research on Emily Dickinson by spending some time as a visiting scholar at Amherst College, Massachusetts. He is currently the Principal Investigator for a two year AHRC furnded interdisciplinary research network project 'Separateness and Kinship: Transatlantic Exchanges between New England and Britain 1600-1900' and organised the successful international conference held at the University of Plymouth in July 2010.

Before embarking on this work on New England women writers and transatlantic exchanges he carried out a major project on the theory, history and practice of subject English in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, published in 2000 as Questions of English.

Robin Peel’s teaching reflects his interest in American and Edwardian writing. He teaches modules on The American South and Edwardian Writing and has recently published a paper on Ford Madox Ford. Since 2000 he has published three Associated University Presses monographs on American women writers who have lived in Massachusetts. Writng Back : Sylvia Plath and Cold War Politics was published in 2002, Apart from Modernism : Edith Wharton, Politics and Fiction in 2005, and Emily Dickinson and the Hill of Science in 2010. . He has presented papers on Wharton and Dickinson at the Society for the Study of American Women Writers conference in Philadelphia in November 2006.. He contributed to the American Modernism: Cultural Transactions conference at Oxford Brookes University in September 2006. This event, sponsored by the US Embassy and British Association for American Studies was an invitation only event. In July 2008 he presented a paper on Emily Dickinson and Geology at the Transatlantic Women's Writers conference at Oxford University, and in July 2010 presented an invited paper on Dickinson, Marx and Massachusetts at the Emily Dickinson International Society conference at Oxford University.

Robin Peel' s current research interest is the relationship between the work produced by New England writers visiting Great Britain and British writers visiting New England in the early and mid nineteenth century.  He is also leading a new interdisciplinary project 'Bordering the Seas and Seeing the Borders : Atlantic Studies 1500-1900' which will build on and expand the current Transatlantic Exchanges project and will embrace the broader Atlantic World, drawing on the disciplines of literary studies, art history, the history of architecture and material culture and history. This project will involve collaboration with the STAR project in Edinburgh and universities in Britain, North America, South America, the Caribbean and West Africa. 

Robin Peel is also involved in the joint planning between City and University for the run up to the 2020 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth. 

Grants & contracts

Research Grant from British Academy to support period as Visiting Scholar in the English Department of Amherst College, , Massachusetts, completing research on Emily Dickinson and Science April 2008.
AHRC Research Networking grant of £29,000 'Separateness and Kinship : Transatlantic Exchanges between Britain and New England 1600-1900' September 2009-September 2011




Refereed Articles 

Peel R W 'Reading and Riding the SATs' Reading July 1992

Peel R `Canon Fodder: Textual Pleasure, Metatextual Exercise and Contextual Pain' in PACE 1992

Peel R and Reeves M `Constructing the Self: an H.E. Expository reading and writing course' in English and Education Summer 1993

Peel, R `Beyond Belief: literature, culture and moral education' (paper presented at the Rimscue Conference, September 1993) English International Volume 1 No 2 Autumn 1994

Peel R Raising Awareness: reading and genre in higher edution Tape recording of paper given at AATE conference Claiming the Territory Adelaide 1993. Published by Instant Conference Taping, Plympton Australia

Peel R (Editor) A Common Concern 1994 York Seminar Report on 'English in the 21st Century' Exeter NATE 1994

Peel R : ' "English" : a Common Concern' in NATE News Autumn 1994 Sheffield NATE

Peel R W 'Favouring the Diagonal' in English in Education Volume 28 No 2 Summer 1994

Peel R 'The Changing Pattern of English in Higher Education: Continuity and Difference' in CCUE News Issue 5 July 1995

Peel R W (with Sandra Hargreaves) 'Beliefs about English' in English in Education Volume 29 No 3 1995

Peel R W 'Teachers as writers' in Reading Blackwell volume 29 No 2 July 1995

Peel, R and Curtis, F (1996) 'Becoming and Being a Specialist : Anticipating and

experiencing Higher Education English' in Teaching in Higher Education Volume 1 No 2 1996

Peel R W (1996) 'Exploring the Metropolis' in International Federation for the Teaching of English International Digest No 13 January 1996

Peel, R and Merttens, R 'Beyond Jekyll and Hyde ' in Journal of Thought Volume 33 number 4 Winter 1998 San Francisco : Caddo Gap Press

Peel, R 'Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar Manuscripts and the poems of January 1962' The Journal of Modern Literature Summer 2000 Volume 23 Numbers 3/4

Peel, R ‘The Ideological Apprenticeship of Sylvia Plath’ Journal of Modern Literature 2005

Peel R ‘ Body, word and photograph : Sylvia Plath and the Thalidomide Scandal’ Journal of American Studies 2006

Peel R ‘Edith Wharton, Bohemianism and The Reef’ American Literature 2005

Peel, R ‘From Dogs to Crow : Ted Hughes and a ‘World Lost’ 1956-1970 English 2006) 

Peel, R ‘The Significance of Italy in the Short Stories of Edith Wharton’ for special Edith Wharton issue of The Journal of the Short Story in English/Les Cahiers de la nouvelle (Editor : Virginia Ricard) Nashville University/Université d’Angers Contracted : 2012


Peel, R Do You Read Me? Oxford Blackwell 1990

Peel R and Bell M The Language Leader's Book London David Fulton 1994

Peel R (Editor) Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome Cambridge Cambridge University

Press 1999

Peel R, Patterson A and Gerlach J Questions of English London Routledge 2000

Peel, R Writing Back : Sylvia Plath, Place and Cold War Politics Fairleigh Dickinson Press/Associated University Presses (2002 )

Peel, R Apart From Modernism : Edith Wharton, Fiction and Politics (Fairleigh Dickinson Press/Associated University Presses, 2005)

Peel , R Emily Dickinson and the Hill of Science (Fairleigh Dickinson Press/Associated University Presses 2010)

Peel, Robin and Maudlin, Daniel [Eds] Transatlantic Traffic and [Mis]Translations Durham, New Hampshire :University of New Hampshire Press 2013

Maudlin, D and Peel R [Eds] The Materials of Exchange Between Britain and North East America, 1750-1900 Farnham, England :Ashgate Press 2013

Chapters in books

Peel R `A Survey of' A S English' in AS LEVEL ENGLISH NATE publications (January 1993 )

Peel R W 'The Cultural Studies Model of English ' in English Teaching in Practice (revised version of the book edited by Ken Watson) Sydney St Clair Press 1994

Peel R 'Towards Cultural Literacy' in Reviewing English (Editors Sawyer, Watson and Gold ) St Clair Press 1998

Peel, R 'Ford and the Simple Life' in Ford Madox Ford 's Modernity Rodopi Press 2003

Peel, R ‘Edith Wharton and Bohemia’ in Literary Criticism Now Podgorica, Serbia and Montenegro : Institute for Foreign Languages, University of Podgorica 2004

Peel, R 'The Political Education of Sylvia Plath' in Helle, Anita (edtior) The Unraveling Archive : Essays on Sylvia Plath University of Michigan Press (2007)

Peel, R 'Emily Dickinson and Publication' in American Women Writers and the Literary Marketplace Cambridge Scholars Press (2007)

Peel, R 'Emily Dickinson and Contemporary Poetry' in Poetry and Public Language Shearsman 2007

Peel R ‘Edith Wharton and Italy’ in Edith Wharton in Context (Editor : Laura Rattray) Cambridge : Cambridge University Press (Contracted : 2012)

Peel, R ‘Emily Dickinson and Geology’ in Transatlantic Women : Nineteenth Century American Women Writers in Great Britain and Europe (Beth L Lueck [Ed]Durham, New Hampshire :University of New Hampshire Press ( 2012) ( 2012)

Peel, R ‘Realist Fiction: A Resilient Mode’ in American Literature in Transition 1910-1920 [Ed. Mark W. Van Wienen] Cambridge : Cambridge University Press 2018

Peel, R ‘The Rosenbergs and The Bell Jar’ in Sylvia Plath in Context [Ed. Tracey Brain] Cambridge : Cambridge University Press [in press]

Conference Papers

Papers presented at conferences

`Teaching Literatures' Workshop NATE National Conference University of Birmingham U.K. 1992

`Notions of Selfhood: an Expository Reading and Writing Course' Birkbeck Conference London 1992

`Taking on Biography, Autobiography and Travel' NATE National Conference University of Sussex April 1993

`Genre and Expository' (with Mary Reeves) International Conference of

Language and Literacy University of East Anglia March 1993

`Raising Awareness: Writing and Genre in Higher Education' AATE Conference Adelaide South Australia 1993

'Perceptions of Writing' at Through the Looking Class CCTELA Conference, Moncton, New Brunswick Canada May 1994

'Beliefs about English' AATE National Conference, Perth, Australia July 1994

'Perceptions of English' One day conference University of West Virginia U.S. May 1994

'The New Science of English' Commissioned paper for an international invitational conference Upon Reflection : Changing the Face of English Education University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia July 1996

'Questions of English' (with Dr Jeanne Gerlach and Dr Annette Patterson) at Global Conversations on Language and Literacy University of Heidelberg, Germany August 1996

'Asking Questions of English' at English for the Millenium Council for College and University English Loughborough University September 1996

'Ford and the Simple Life: Gender, Class and Identity in a Satirised Utopia' at Ford Madox Ford : An International Conference University of London Centre for English Studies 15-16 November 1996

'Reclaiming Rhetoric for Higher Education' at The New Rhetoric Nottingham University 1 - 5 July 1997

'Inside the Whale : Schooling, English and the Binaries' at English Teachers Connect University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg South Africa 12-14 July 1997

'English and Difference' at Language Learning and Culture :Unsettling Certainties 8-11 July 1997 Darwin, Northern Territory , Australia

'Scaffolding or Straitjacket : A National Curriculum for Teacher Training in England and Wales' at Third International Conference for Global Conversations University of Bordeaux, France August 5-7 1998(with Professor Ruth Merrtens)

(Featured speaker) 'Body, Word and Photograph : Sylvia Plath and the Anxious Message'

Sylvia Plath Symposium Indiana University Indiana November 2002

‘Edith Wharton, Bohemia, and The Reef’ Edith Wharton in London conference, University of Surrey at Roehampton, June 2003

‘Vulgarity and Bohemia’ Research paper University of East Anglia Research Seminar series March 2004
 'Edith Wharton's dialogue with the Women's Movement' (SSAWW conference, Philadelphia, 2006)

'Emily Dickinson versus the poplular woman writer' (SSAWW conference, Philadelphia, 2006)
'Wharton and American Modernism' (American Modernism conference, Oxford Brookes University, September 2006)

'Dickinson and Darwin' (ALA Conference, Boston, MA, 2007

'Reading Back : Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson' (Sylvia Plath 75th anniversary conference, Oxford University 2007). Featured speaker.

'Emily Dickinson and Geology' (Transatlantic American Women Writers' Conference, Oxford University, July 2008)

'Marx and Massachusetts : Emily Dickinson and Social Reform' (Emily Dickinson Conference, Oxford University August 2010)

“Science and Religion in the Italian Short Stories of Edith Wharton” Transatlantic Women II conference Florence, Italy 6-9 June 2013.

Other Publications


English International : Journal of the International Branch of NCTE Reviewed in English in Education Spring 1995 Volume 29 Number 1

Holditch/Leavitte : Tennessee Williams and the South 2002

Review commissioned for European Journal of American Culture Volume 22 Number 2003

Review of Eye Rhymes : The Art of Sylvia Plath Forthcoming Journal of American Studies 2008/2009



Conferences organised

Separateness and Kinship :Transatlantic Exchanges between New England and Britain 1600-1900 : An International conference held at the University of Plymouth, July 14-17th 2010
Keynote speakers : Professor Lawrence Buell and Professor Susan Manning