Ruby Hutchings, Queens'

Degree: PhD
Course: English
Supervisor: Dr Sarah Haggarty
Dissertation Title:

William Blake’s Lowness

Biographical Information

I grew up in north London, where I attended local comprehensives, and then studied for a BA (1st class) and an MSt (Distinction) in English Literature at Oriel College, Oxford. At Oriel, I was an academic scholar. After a year working in the corporate world, I am returning to academia to complete a PhD at Queens' College, supervised by Dr Sarah Haggarty and fully funded by the AHRC.

Research Interests

My doctoral research focuses on the "lowness" of William Blake's prophetic works. By this I mean how the mundane and material, the popular and plebeian coexist with and endorse his high transcendentalism. Whilst Blake's political radicalism has long been noted by critics, other manifestations of the enthusiastic, artisanal, and "vulgar" culture by which he was surrounded have not received sufficient attention. 

I hope to trace how popular forms, images, entertainments, and humour inflect his verbal and visual works, ranging from ballads and pantomimes to scatology and folklore. The intersection of high and low axes in Blake's work, and Romantic poetry more broadly, underpins the project in several senses. 

Broader research interests: the long eighteenth-century; Romantic poetry (especially Burns, Keats, Clare); poetic form; material texts; manuscript studies; the essay; London in literature; ekphrasis; bodies and embodiment; art history; etymology; working-class literature; comedy and satire; close reading 

Selected Publications

Essays and Reviews:


  • 'Authorship, Artifacts, Afterlife: Blake and Young's Night Thoughts', British Association of Romantic Studies Early Career and Postgraduate Conference: Romantic Boundaries, University of Edinburgh (June 2023)
  • 'Pantomimic Prophet', Past Mirth, Present Laughter: Forms of Comedy, 1300-1900, University of Cambridge (May 2023)
  • 'Material Sublime: Blake's Visions and Visual Culture', Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies Postgraduate Forum, University of York (November 2022)
  • 'Blake's Waste', Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Research Seminar, University of Cambridge (October 2022)
  • 'Blake's Laughing Songs', Humour, Laughter, and Everyday Life in the Early Modern Period, University of Newcastle (July 2022)