Dr Chris Townsend

Supervisor in English

I am a Bye-Fellow in English at Christ’s, working mainly on eighteenth-century and Romantic poetry. I completed my PhD, on George Berkeley’s influence on Blake, Coleridge, and Wordsworth, at King’s College, Cambridge, in 2017, where I also obtained my MPhil. Previous to that I was an undergraduate at the University of Exeter. I was, in 2018, the visiting Fleeman Fellow in the School of English, University of St Andrews.

As well as working on a book based on my doctoral research, I am embarking on new work towards a project on the language of semblance — terms like ‘seems’ and ‘appears’ — and the way such terms, in Romantic poetics, are used to open up ambiguities latent in philosophical discussions of the real world and the way the world seems to be. I am a committed Romanticist, with articles on Blake’s critique of Locke, Berkeley’s ‘divine language of nature’ in Wordsworth and Coleridge, and uncertainty as a principle of form in Keats.

I also write about the relation of verse and prose forms, and have published on Berkeley’s prose rhythm, as well as on the appearance of metrical units in Virginia Woolf’s prose. I am at work on an essay on Blake’s long verse lines.

At Christ’s I teach Part I, Paper 6, "English Literature and its Contexts: 1660–1870", running the gamut from Dryden to Dickens. I also teach Practical Criticism and Critical Practice.