Anna Nickerson, Girton

Degree: PhD
Course: 1830-PD
Supervisor: Dr M Hurley
Dissertation Title:

Poetic Syntax in the Long Nineteenth-Century

Biographical Information

I was born in the D. R. Congo and grew up in London. After attending a number of local state schools, I studied for my BA at Selwyn College, Cambridge. After a short stint working in the charity sector, I returned to Cambridge to study for an MPhil and an AHRC UK funded PhD at Girton College. I have recently been awarded a PhD for my thesis, Frontiers of Consciousness: Tennyson, Hardy, Hopkins, Eliot.

Research Interests

I work on the intersections between poetics and epistemology. Or, to put it another way, I try and answer the question 'What do we know when we read poetry?' My current research seeks to answer this question through a more particular inquiry into nineteenth- and early twentieth-century poetry. I'm interested in the ways in which a feeling that life was becoming increasingly secular led a number of the period's most important poets to reimagine the kinds of epistemological work that poetry might do.

Poets considered in my work include: William Wordsworth; Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Alfred Tennyson; Christina Rossetti; Thomas Hardy; G. M. Hopkins; T. S. Eliot.

I am currently co-convening with Yui Kajita the first international conference on the work of Walter de la Mare, to be held on 20-21 September 2018: .

Areas of Supervision

Practical criticism; Paper 7a and b; 19th and 20th century poetry.

I have supervised Part I and Part II dissertations on: G. M. Hopkins; Thomas Hardy's poetry;  Tess of the d'Ubervilles; Paul Muldoon and the 20th century sestina.

Selected Publications


‘T. S. Eliot and the Point of Intersection’, Cambridge Quarterly (forthcoming)

'Hardy's Apprehensions', Esssays in Criticism (June 2017)

'"How you call to me, call to me": Hardy's self-remembering syntax', Victorian Poetry 54.1 (Spring 2016)


'Hopkins' "Mixed Insight"', Cambridge Quarterly (September 2018)

'Critical Exchange: On The Philosophy of Poetry ed. John Gibson', Philosophy and Literature (April 2016)