Dr Christopher Tilmouth, Faculty of English




Biographical Information

Brought up in Edinburgh, Christopher Tilmouth read undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in English at Christ's College, Cambridge. He became a Research Fellow of Peterhouse (Cambridge) in 1999 and then a Fellow and College Lecturer at Corpus Christi College (also Cambridge) in 2001. Since 2006 he has been a University Lecturer (now Associate Professor) in literature and philosophy and literature and intellectual history for the Faculty. Christopher has given external conference papers, lectures and talks at the British Academy (on Milton and on Pope); at Oxford University, the Ludwig-Maximilians University's Center for Advanced Studies in Munich, Aix-Marseille University, Helsinki University's Collegium for Advanced Studies, the University of Portsmouth's Centre for Studies in Literature, the University of Sussex's Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies, the University of York's Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and Rutgers University's British Studies Center; and for the Australian Research Council's Center of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Queensland.

Christopher is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal The Seventeeth Century. From 2022 to 2024 he is also serving as the Director of MPhil Studies for the Faculty.

Research Interests

Late sixteenth to late eighteenth-century English literature; relations between literature and philosophy (epistemology, ethics, political thought, philosophies of the emotions), and between literature and intellectual history more widely; early modern physiology and its place in literature; Shakespeare; Montaigne and English Literature; Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy; Thomas Hobbes; Descartes and English literature; Anglo-French libertinism; John Milton; 2nd Earl of Rochester and Restoration literature; 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury; Bernard Mandeville; John Dennis, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele; Alexander Pope; Augustan literary culture; David Hume and the Scottish Enlightenment; Sterne, Mackenzie and sentimental literature; William Godwin and his circle; early Wordsworth. Modern philosophical interests include writings by Murdoch, Nussbaum, MacIntyre, Taylor, Rorty, Cavell, Lovibond, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, and assorted philosophers of the emotions, together with the methodological works of Pocock and Skinner. Further literary interests include tragedy, modernist poetics, and the works of Tom Stoppard.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

Topics relating to research interests (above). Contributes to teaching for the MPhil in English Studies, particularly for early modern, eighteenth-century, and philosophical topics. 

Selected Publications

  • "Butler, Pope, Sterne: Négocier l’amour-propre au XVIIIe siècle", tr. Doriane Molay, in En deçà du bien et du mal. Morales de la littérature de la Renaissance à l’âge contemporain, eds Barbara Carnevali, Emiliano Cavaliere and Katie Ebner-Landy, Éditions Hermann, 2024, 175-209. 
  • "Virtue in Defeat in Davenant and Cowley", Words at War, eds Paul Hammond and Andrew Hadfield, Proceedings of the British Academy 261, 2024, 265-77.
  • "Inheritance and Innovation", Shakespeare and Emotion, ed. Katharine Craik, Cambridge University Press, 2020, 79-93.
  • "Donne and the Passions", John Donne in Context, ed. Michael Schoenfeldt, Cambridge University Press, 2019, 185-95.
  • "After Libertinism: The Passions of the Polite Christian Hero", Emergent Nation: Early Modern British Literature in Transition, 1660-1714, ed. Elizabeth Sauer, Cambridge University Press, 2019, 240-57.
  • "Sceptical Perspectives on Melancholy: Burton, Swift, Pope, Sterne", The Review of English Studies 68, 2017, 924-44.
  • "Rochester and the Play of Values", Lord Rochester in the Restoration World, eds Matthew Augustine and Steven Zwicker, Cambridge University Press, 2015, 141-61.
  • "Passion and Intersubjectivity in Early Modern Literature", Passions and Subjectivity in Early Modern Culture, eds Brian Cummings and Freya Sierhuis, Ashgate, 2013, 13-32.
  • "Morality as a Discourse of the Imagination", The Poetic Enlightenment: Poetry and Human Science, 1650-1820, eds Tom Jones and Rowan Boyson, Pickering & Chatto, 2013, 105-19.
  • "Early Poems and Prose: Some Hidden Continuities", Young Milton: The Emerging Author, 1620-1642, ed. Edward Jones, Oxford University Press, 2013, 280-307. (This volume as a whole won the Milton Society of America's Irene Samuel Memorial Award for 2013.)
  • "Pope's Ethical Thinking: Passion and Irony in Dialogue" (2011 Chatterton Lecture on Poetry), Proceedings of the British Academy 181, 2012, 35-62.
  • "John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester", Oxford Bibliographies, in "British and Irish Literature", ed. Andrew Hadfield, Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • "'Honest Montaigne' from Temple to Pope", Montaigne Studies 24, 2012, 83-104.
  • "Milton on Knowing Good from Evil", John Milton: Life, Writing, Reputation, eds Paul Hammond and Blair Worden, The British Academy, 2010, 43-65.
  • "Shakespeare's Open Consciences", Renaissance Studies 23, 2009, 501-15; reprinted in The Renaissance Conscience, eds Harald E. Braun and Edward Vallance, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, 67-81.
  • "New Sources for Steele's Presentation of Cato in The Christian Hero", Notes and Queries 54, 2007, 440-4.
  • Passion's Triumph over Reason: A History of the Moral Imagination from Spenser to Rochester, Oxford University Press, 2007; paperback, 2010.
  • "Generosity and the Utility of the Passions: Cartesian Ethics in Restoration England", The Seventeenth Century 22, 2007, 144-67.
  • "Burton's 'Turning Picture': Argument and Anxiety in The Anatomy of Melancholy", The Review of English Studies 56, 2005, 524-49; reprinted in Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800 195, 2012, 85-99.
  • "Burton's St Bernard", Notes and Queries 47, 2000, 176-80.
  • Assorted reviews for The Byron Journal, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Notes and Queries, Renaissance QuarterlyThe Review of English Studies, The Seventeenth Century, Social History of Medicine.