Dr Michael Hurley, St Catharine's



Biographical Information

Educated at the Universities of Cambridge (PhD) and St Andrews (MA): Michael D. Hurley has taught English at Cambridge since 2005, he was a Visiting Scholar in the English Department at Harvard in 2008-2009, and he has also lived and worked in Cluj-Napoca, Romania (1994-1995), Hiroshima, Japan (1999-2000), and Savannah, USA (2017-2018). He has been appointed as the Wordsworth Crausaz Interdisciplinary Fellow in Philosophy for 2018-2019, having previously been an Early Career Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) in 2008.

Research Interests

My research tends to fall within the long nineteenth century, but also ranges before and after this period. I am interested in matters of literary form and style, especially in how such qualities of 'literariness' can enable writers to say, think or do things that could not otherwise be said, thought or done. Much of my work has therefore an interdisciplinary edge to it, drawing on philosophy and theology to explore connections between how books and poems make us feel and what they make us think. Above all, my research is directed towards ultimate questions and questions of value.

To view a short, informal account of some of my research, see pages 28-31 of CAM magazine issue 69, here

For a short, recent example of literary journalism, see here

Areas of Graduate Supervision

I have supervised PhD and MPhil dissertations on nineteenth and twentieth century literature and non-fiction prose, and on the relations of literary form and style to philosophy and theology. Authors of particular interest include (among many others): Dante, Milton, Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Dickens, Tennyson, C. Rossetti, Hopkins, Barrett Browning, Arnold, Swinburne, Newman, Pater, Wilde, Hardy, Chesterton, Conan Doyle, Yeats, Woolf, T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, Dylan Thomas, Auden, Larkin, Geoffrey Hill, Marilynne Robinson.

Past PhDs titles under my supervision include: Sarah Weaver, Fossil Poetry: Tennyson and Victorian Philology; Adam Crothers, Paul Muldoon and the Place of Rhyme; Anna Nickerson, Frontiers of Consciousness: Tennyson, Hardy, Hopkins, Eliot; Michael Skansgaard, The “Aesthetic” of the Blues Aesthetic: Langston Hughes and Vernacular Close-Reading; Thomas Docherty, Consummatum est: the end of the word in Geoffrey Hill; R. Eric Tippin, Playing Modern: Essaying, 1880-1920, Wilde, Chesterton, Woolf

Selected Publications

Books authored

Books edited

Book chapters and essays

  • "John Henry Newman, thinking out into language", in Thinking Through Style: Non-Fiction Prose of the Long Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018)
  • "Theologies of Inspiration: William Blake and Gerard M. Hopkins", in Constructing Nineteenth-Century Religion: Literary, Historical, and Religious Studies in Dialogue, ed. Joshua King and Winter Jade Werner (Ohio State University Press, forthcoming)
  • "Blake's Sense of Sound", in William Blake in Context, ed. Sarah Haggarty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)
  • "Passion and Playfulness in the Letters of G. M. Hopkins", in Letter Writing Among Poets: from William Wordsworth to Elizabeth Bishop ed. Jonathan Ellis (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015), pp. 141-54.
  • "G. K. Chesterton", in Blackwell Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature ed. Dino Felluga, Pamela K. Gilbert and Linda K. Hughes (New York: Blackwell, 2015)
  • "Rhythm", in The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Poetry ed. Matthew Bevis (Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 19-35.
  • "Why Chesterton loved London", in G. K. Chesterton, London and Modernity ed. Matthew Beaumont and Matthew Ingleby (London: Continuum, 2013), pp. 15-14.
  • "On or about July 1877", in Victorian Transformations: Genre, Nationalism, and Desire in Nineteenth-Century Literature ed. Bianca Tredennick (Ashgate, 2011), pp. 61-67.
  • "George Saintsbury's History of English Prosody', Essays in Criticism 60.4 (2010): 336-60
  • "How Philosophers Trivialize Art: Bleak House, Oedipus Rex, 'Leda and the Swan'", Philosophy and Literature 33.1 (2009): 107-125
  • "The Status of Poetry as an Aesthetic Object", Semiotica, Revue de l'Association Internationale de Semiotique 169.1/4 (2008): 71-92
  • "Scansion", 4500-word entry in The Literary Encyclopedia (2008)
  • "The Pragmatics of Prosody", Style 41.1 (2007): 53-113
  • "What Sprung Rhythm Really Is NOT", Hopkins Quarterly 33.3 (2006): 71-94
  • "Interpreting Dante's Terza Rima", Forum for Modern Language Studies 43.3 (2005): 320-331
  • "Darkening the Subject of Hopkins' Prosody", Victorian Poetry 43.4 (2005): 485-496
  • "The Audible Reading of Poetry Revisited", British Journal of Aesthetics 44.4 (2004): 393-407

Book reviews and review essays

  • Reuven Tsur, Poetic Rhythm, Structure and Performance: an Empirical Study in Cognitive Poetics. In Cambridge Quarterly (2014): 389-394.
  • Douglas Kerr, Conan Doyle: Writing, Profession and Practice. In Cambridge Quarterly 43.1 (2014): 60-66.
  • Meredith Martin, The Rise and Fall of Meter: Poetry and English National Culture, 1860-1930. In Victorian Review 39.2 (Fall 2013): 221-223.
  • Joseph Phelan, The Music of Verse, and Meter Matters ed. Jason Hall. In Cambridge Quarterly 42.1 (2013): 62-67.
  • Northrop Frye, Selected Letters, 1934-1991. In English 59.227 (2010): 99-102.
  • James I. Wimsatt, Hopkins's Poetics of Speech Sound. In Modern Philology 107.4 (2008): 126-130.
  • Colin Jager, The Book of God: Secularization and Design in the Romantic Era. In Times Literary Supplement 16.5.2008.
  • Angela Leighton, On Form: Poetry, Aestheticism, and the Legacy of a Word. In Cambridge Quarterly 36.3 (2008): 263-269.
  • Daniel Brown, Gerard Manley Hopkins. In Hopkins Quarterly 42.3-4 (2006): 63-67.
  • Al Alvarez, The Writer's Voice. In Times Literary Supplement 18.3.2005
  • Nicholas Boyle, Sacred and Secular Scriptures: A Catholic Approach to Literature. In Times Literary Supplement 2.11.2005
  • Alison Chapman, Richard Cronin and Anthony H. Harrison (eds.), A Companion to Victorian Poetry. In The Tennyson Research Bulletin 8.3 (2004)