Prof Simon Jarvis, Faculty of English



Biographical Information

I'm the Gorley Putt Professor of Poetry and Poetics. (This is a personal, not an established, chair. The Gorley Putt Lectureship to which I was appointed in 1998 was in English Literary History; professors appointed ad hominem are hereabouts, correctly, then invited to say for themselves just what they profess.) I got my Ph.D. here in 1993. I've also taught at Newcastle, Cornell and Johns Hopkins.

Research Interests

I work on the poetics of verse. Alexander Pope and the astonishingly refined, sensual and punishing verse culture from which he emerged -- Dryden above all, but also Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Waller, Oldham, Roscommon, Addison, Garth, Young, Gay, Swift and others -- are at the centre of my thinking about verse just now. I'm also reading, thinking about, and writing about Robert Browning. Other poets I'm also interested in and working on include : Collins, Cowper, Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Swinburne, Stevens. I read and teach verse in a number of languages. Particular preoccupations are with Voiture, Racine, Chénier, de Banville, Mallarmé, Verlaine, Valéry, Péguy; Hölderlin, S. George; Belli, Leopardi; Baratynsky, Tyutchev, Kuzmin, V. Ivanov, Hippius, Bely, Khodasevich, Mandelstam, G. Ivanov. Current work is informed by a strong interest in late twentieth- and early twenty-first century music, especially Boulez, Stockhausen, and Lachenmann. I've been working in particular on whether, and how, verse composition, verse reading and verse performance, can be thought of as historically and materially particular kinds of thinking. I'm also interested in, and publish on, philosophical aesthetics (especially the German tradition from Hamann, Kant and Hegel to Heidegger and Adorno), contemporary phenomenology (especially the French material phenomenologist Michel Henry) and a number of contemporary critics of social theory (Gillian Rose, John Milbank, Bruno Latour, and others). I love Henry James and Søren Kierkegaard, but don't publish on them. 

I try not to let the priorities created by the Research Excellence Framework influence my work or my thinking in any way.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

See my research interests, above. Topics I've supervised or am supervising on at doctoral level include Wordsworth and psychoanalysis; Swinburne's style; Greek metre and nineteenth- and twentieth-century English verse; historia literaria in the long eighteenth century; intonation in Henry James; Berkeley's influence on Blake, Wordsworth and Coleridge; Wordsworth and blank verse; Coleridge and poetic form; prosody and politics in four twentieth-century American poets; the English ode in the early nineteenth century; Blake and gifts; Adorno's poetics; Heidegger, poetry and prosody; Kant's Critique of Judgement; the poetry of Jorie Graham; Wordsworth and travel writing; the poetry of J.H. Prynne; Cowper's translations of Homer; the poetry of John Clare; and others. I've supervised on many topics at M.Phil level.


Selected Publications


Wordsworth’s Philosophic Song (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007; reprinted, 2008). 264 pp.

Adorno: a critical introduction (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1998; reprinted, 2003). 283 pp.

Scholars and Gentlemen: Shakespearean textual criticism and representations of scholarly labour, 1725-1765 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995). 234pp.



Theodor W. Adorno: Critical Evaluations in Cultural Theory (4 vols, London: Taylor and Francis, 2006)

Rethinking beauty. Special issue of diacritics (32.1, Spring 2002). Contributors: J.M. Bernstein, Howard Caygill, Peter De Bolla, Drew Milne, Denise Riley.



"Endymion: The Text of Undersong", in Constellations of a Contemporary Romanticism, ed. Jacques Khalip and Forest Pyle (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016), pp. 142-66

"Superversive Poetics: Browning's Fifine at the Fair", Modern Language Quarterly, 77.1 (2016), 121-41

"Prolegomenon to the Remnants: Shelley's "Triumph of Life"" in Romanticism and Philosophy: Thinking with Literature, ed. Sophie Laniel-Musitelli and Thomas Constantinesco (London: Routledge, 2015 [Routledge Studies in Romanticism, 21], pp. 97-116

"How To Do Things With Tunes", English Literary History 82.2, Essays from the English Institute, 2013: Form (Summer, 2015), 365-83

"Verse as Counter-Signage", Journal of Religion and Literature 45.3 ('2013') [2015], 22-27

"Hyper-Pindaric: the greater irregular lyric from Cowley to Keston Sutherland", in Active Romanticism: The Radical Impulse in Nineteenth-Century and Contemporary Poetic Practice, eds. Julie Carr and Jeffrey Robinson (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2015), pp. 127-44

"Verse, Perversity, University: Wallace Stevens and the Melodics of Crispin", thinking verse 4.2 (2014): 101-122

"What Is Historical Poetics?" in Theory Aside, ed. Jason Potts and Daniel Stout (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014), pp. 97-116

"Swinburne: The Insuperable Sea", in The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Poetry, ed. Matthew Bevis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

"Signs of Life : Katko Sutherland Thornton", No Prizes 2 (2013), 46-59

"Phantasmal Disestablishment", South Atlantic Quarterly, 111.2 (Spring, 2012), 402-411

"10 Asteroids for Sphere", Chicago Review, 57 1/2 (2012), 27-31

"Bedlam or Parnassus: The Verse Idea", Metaphilosophy 43.1-2 (Jan. 2012), 71-81, repr. in The Pursuit of Philosophy: some Cambridge Perspectives, ed. Alexis Papazoglou (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), pp. 69-80

"Why Rhyme Pleases", thinking verse 1 (2011), 17-43, repr. in Virginia Jackson and Yopie Prins, ed., The Lyric Theory Reader : A Critical Anthology (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), pp. 434-50

"Wordsworth" in The Cambridge Companion to English Poets, ed. Claude Rawson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 291-307

"Irreversibility" [on T.W. Adorno and J.H. Prynne], Anglia. Zeitschrift fuer Englische Philologie 129.1-2 (2011), 41-57

"To the Letter" [on the aesthetics of letter forms], Textual Practice 25.2 (2011), 233-43

“For a Poetics of Verse”, PMLA 125.4 (Round Table, eds. Cathy Caruth and Jonathan Culler), 931-35

"Spirit Medium:on Hegel's Phenomenology", Cambridge Literary Review 2 (2010), 147-59

“The Melodics of Long Poems”, Textual Practice 24.4 (2010), 607-21

 “Unfree Verse: John Wilkinson’s The Speaking Twins”, Rhythm in Literature after the Crisis in Verse, eds. Peter Dayan and David Evans, special issue of Paragraph 33.2 (2010), 280-295

“Wordsworth’s Late Melodics” in Stefan H. Uhlig and Alexander Regier, eds, Wordsworth’s Poetic Theory (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

"Archaist-Innovators: The Couplet from Churchill to Browning", in Charles Mahoney, ed., A Companion to Romantic Poetry (Oxford: Blackwell, 2010)

"Pope", in Great Shakespeareans I, ed. Claude Rawson (London: Continuum, 2010)

“Blake’s Spiritual Body” in Ross Wilson, ed., The Meaning of ‘Life’ in Romantic Poetry and Poetics (London: Routledge, 2009)

“Michel Henry’s Concept of Life” in International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 17 (3), 361-375 (July 2009).

“What does art know?” in Aesthetics and the Work of Art, ed. Peter de Bolla and Stefan H. Uhlig (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), pp. 57-70

“Thinking in verse” in The Cambridge Companion to British Romantic Poetry, ed. James Chandler and Maureen McLane (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 98-116

"By heart" in Dalhousie French Studies 82 (Spring, 2008) [on Derrida, "Che cos'e la poesia?", special issue on Derrida: Legatee and Legacy, ed. Stephen Boos and Elizabeth Edwards]

“The truth in verse? Adorno, Wordsworth, prosody” in David Cunningham and Nigel Mapp, eds, Adorno and Literature (London: Continuum, 2006)

“Musical thinking: Hegel and the phenomenology of prosody” in Paragraph 28.2 (special issue on “The idea of the literary”, 2005, ed. Nicholas Harrison), 57-71

“Mock as screen and optic”, Critical Quarterly  46.3 (2004), 1-19

“Criticism, taste, aesthetics” in The Cambridge Companion to English Literature, 1740-1830 , eds. Thomas Keymer and Jon Mee (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004)

“Adorno, Marx, materialism” in The Cambridge Companion to Adorno, ed. Tom Huhn (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004), pp. 79-100

“What is speculative thinking?” Revue internationale de philosophie 227 (2004), 69-83

“An undeleter for criticism”, diacritics 32.1 (Spring 2002), 3-18

“Problems in the phenomenology of the gift” (Angelaki, special issue on the gift, summer 2001), 67-77

“Forlorn fort: the Left in trialogue”, diacritics 31.1 (Spring 2001), 3-24

“The future of monologue”, New Formations (special issue on “The future of dialogue”, (2000), 23-32

“‘Old idolatry’: rethinking ideology and materialism” in Michael Rossington and Anne Whitehead, ed., Refiguring History (Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2000), pp. 21-37

“A burning monochrome: Fisher’s block” in John Kerrigan and Peter Robinson, eds., The Thing About Roy Fisher: Critical Studies (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000), pp. 173-92

 “Prosody as tradition”, Dalhousie Review 79.2 (Summer 1999), 151-72

“The gift in theory”, Dionysius 17 (December 1999), 201-222.

“Wordsworth and idolatry”, Studies in Romanticism (Spring 1999), 3-27.

“Wordsworth’s gifts of feeling”, Romanticism, vol. 4, no 1 (1998), 90-103.

“Prosody as cognition”, Critical Quarterly, vol. 40, no. 3 (Autumn 1998), 1-14.

“The coastline of experience: materialism and metaphysics in Adorno”, Radical Philosophy 85 (Sept./Oct. 1997), 7-19

“The unhappy consciousness and conscious unhappiness: on Adorno’s critique of Hegel and the idea of an Hegelian critique of Adorno”, in G. Browning, ed., Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: A Reappraisal (Amsterdam: Kluwer Press, 1997), pp. 57-72

“Idle tears: a response to Gillian Rose” in ibid., pp. 112-19

“The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory”, in Edinburgh Encyclopaedia of Continental Philosophy, ed. Simon Glendinning (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999), pp. 429-37

“Horkheimer: thinking and affectivity” in ibid., pp. 438-47

Numerous reviews for TLS, THES, RES, Bulletin of the Hegel-Society of Great Britain, etc. No list of these is available