Michael Sullivan, Trinity

Degree: PhD
Course: 1830-PD
Supervisor: Prof A Leighton
Dissertation Title:

Tennyson and the Revision of Song

Biographical Information

Michael J. Sullivan is an AHRC-funded PhD candidate at Trinity College, where he also studied for an MPhil in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies. Prior to taking up an AHRC Master’s Studentship at Cambridge, Michael graduated with the highest-ranked BA in English from the University of Durham, where he was a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar and winner of the T.W. Craik, Brooks Johnson and J.R. Watson prizes. His research conducts the first in-depth study of Tennyson’s methods of composition in his manuscripts and draft notebooks, drawing on the Romantic inheritance and changing nature of poetry and poetics in the long nineteenth century. He holds additional research interests in the development of genre in the nineteenth century, and in Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth and Keats, on whom he has published and lectured. In 2015/2016, he held the Rodney G. Dennis Visiting Fellowship in the Study of Manuscripts at the Houghton Library, Harvard.

He is a member of the Cambridge Centre for Material Texts, and winner of the 2016 Gordon Duff Prize in the Arts of Manuscripts. From October 2017, he will take up a Junior Research Fellowship at Christ Church, Oxford.

Research Interests

Literature of the long nineteenth century; Victorian poetry; Romantic legacies in the Victorian period; ‘lyric’ poetry from 1750 until c. 1914.

Co-convenor of the Nineteenth-Century Graduate Workshop (2014–)
Convenor of the Editing the Long Nineteenth Century seminar series (Lent Term 2015)

Areas of Supervision

Dissertations on nineteenth-century poetry and prose – particularly Tennyson, Shelley, Byron, Keats, Arnold, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Supervised for Part I and Part II – at Trinity, St John’s, Selwyn, Magdalene, Pembroke, Emmanuel and Gonville & Caius – and in 2015 delivered a Faculty lecture on ‘Tennyson and the Romantics’ (Graduate Lecture Series).

Part I, Paper 1: Practical Criticism and Critical Practice
Part I, Paper 6: English Literature and its Contexts, 1660-1870
Part I, Paper 7A: English Literature and its Contexts, 1830-1945
Part II, Paper 1: Practical Criticism
Part II, Paper 9: Lyric
Part II, Paper 10: English Literature, 1847-1872

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

‘Alfred Tennyson and Frederick Goddard Tuckerman: An Omitted Page of Correspondence’, Notes & Queries, 64/1 (2017)

‘The Victorian Period (1830-1900)’, The Year’s Work in English Studies, 94/3 (2017), co-authored

‘Tennyson and The Golden Treasury’, Essays in Criticism, 66/4 (2016), 431-443

‘Tennyson and The Golden Treasury: A Rediscovered Revision Copy’, Literary Imagination, 18/3 (2016), 230-238

‘“The Controlless Core of Human Hearts”: Writing the Self in Byron’s Don Juan’, The Byron Journal, 42/2 (2014), 123-132


Reviews and Other Publications

Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them. Edited by Cristanne Miller’, Essays in Criticism (2017), forthcoming

‘The  Persistence of Beauty’, The Cambridge Quarterly, 45/4 (2016), 385-390

‘Deborah Lutz, Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)’, Tennyson Research Bulletin, 10/5 (2016), 483-484

‘Tennyson at Trinity’, The Fountain, 19 (2014), 12-13


Selected Conference & Seminar Papers

‘Tennyson and the Victorian Literary Canon’, Tennyson Society Annual Conference, Girton College, Cambridge (August 2016 – invited, one-hour lecture)

‘Tennyson’s Early Voice: Romantic Prophecy and the Lyrical Mode’, British Association for Romantic Studies: Romantic Voices Conference, University of Oxford (June 2016)

‘Elegy in Exile: Byron and the Poetic Experiments of 1816’, The Summer of 1816: A Bicentenary Conference, University of Sheffield (June 2016)

‘Tennyson and The Golden Treasury: A Rediscovered Proof Copy’, Conference in Editorial Studies, Boston Editorial Institute (April 2016)

‘Tennyson and the Victorian Literary Canon’, Trinity Arts and Humanities Symposium, Cambridge (March 2016)

‘Tennyson, Palgrave and the Poetic Tradition’, Nineteenth-Century Graduate Workshop, University of Cambridge (November 2015)

‘Tennyson and the Nineteenth-Century Lyric Anthology: Constructing a Victorian Canon’, British Association for Victorian Studies Annual Conference, Leeds Trinity University (August 2015)

‘“Notes of busy life in distant worlds”: Tennyson and the Voice of Antiquity’, Victorian Modernities Conference, University of Kent (June 2015)

‘Byronic Illusion and the Elegiac Mode’, Long-Eighteenth-Century Research in Progress Seminar, University of Oxford (November 2014)

‘“The Controlless Core of Human Hearts”: Writing the Self in Byron’s Don Juan’, Adam’s Dream: Imaginative Incarnations in the Long Eighteenth Century, University of Cambridge (April 2013)