Dr Alexander Freer, Trinity




Biographical Information


I'm a research fellow at Trinity College. I grew up near Manchester, and studied English at Warwick (BA) and Cambridge (MPhil in 18th century and Romantic literature, PhD in English). I began a Title A Research Fellowship (JRF) in English at Trinity in October 2015. For the academic year 2017-18 I was lecturer in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature at the University of East Anglia.


Research Interests


I am primarily interested in poetry and poetics, and critical prose, across the long eighteenth century (at the moment especially William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, and Letitia Landon); literary theory (the French psychoanalytical tradition; queer theory; phenomenology) and the history of criticism.

I currently teach, or have recently taught, in the following areas: long eighteenth century literature, culture and philosophy, British romantic poetry and prose, Victorian literature, the history of criticism, literary theory, and literature and psychoanalysis.

In Cambridge I teach the papers Practical Criticism and Critical Practice; English Literature and its Contexts 1660-1870; Love, Gender, Sexuality 1740-1824; Lyric; The Ethical Imagination; and History and Theory of Literary Criticism.


Selected Publications



Wordsworth's Unremembered Pleasure (Oxford UP, 2020) investigates Wordsworth's sustained interest in unnoticed, retrospective and "unremembered" pleasure. Reading Wordsworth with and against the psychoanalytic tradition of reading for unconscious trauma, it positions romanticism as a resource for rethinking wider questions of aesthetic pleasure and compositional practice.

A second book (in preparation) will study the history, poetics, and politics of self-love, from the eighteenth century to the present.




The Poetics of DreamsCritical Quarterly 61.2 (2019), 77104.

A Genealogy of Narcissism: Shelley’s Self-LoveNineteenth Century Literature

Percy Shelley’s touch, or, lyric depersonalizationModern Philology 117.1 (2019), 91–114.

Shelley’s Vestimentary Poetics Philosophy and Literature 42.2 (2018), 292–310.

Faith in Reading: Revisiting the Midrash–Theory connectionParagraph 39.3 (2016), 335–357.

Rhythm as CopingNew Literary History 46.3 (2015), 549-568.

Wordsworth and the Infancy of AffectionStudies in Romanticism 54.1 (2015), 79–100.

Wordsworth and the poetics of disappointment’ Textual Practice 28.6 (2014), 1123–1144.

Musicality and the Limits of Meaning in Wordsworth and Kant’ Paragraph 36.3 (2013), 324–343.

‘Love-Runes We Cannot Speak: Sacred and Profane Love in The Pentecost CastleLiterature and Theology 26.2 (2012), 199–213.


Book Reviews

For Romantic Circles Reviews and Receptions:

Daniela Garofalo and David Sigler, eds, Lacan and Romanticism

Brittany Pladek, The Poetics of Palliation

Seth T. Reno, Amorous Aesthetics (October 2020)

Markus Iseli, Thomas De Quincey and the Cognitive Unconscious (October 2016)

Wordsworth’s Poetic Theory: Knowledge, Language, Experience’ European journal of English studies 18 (3), 339 - 341, 2014