Image of Dr James Whitehead

Dr James Whitehead

Humanities and Social Science

Faculty of Arts Professional and Social Studies

I am currently Programme Leader for English and am happy to field any questions about our degree programme from current or prospective students.

My research and teaching interests include Romanticism and its legacies, psychiatry and other psy-sciences in relation to nineteenth and twentieth-century literature, and life-writing (autobiography and biography) about mental health and illness. My core undergraduate teaching includes 5111ENGL Romanticism and 5108ENGL Poetry Matters. I am also very happy to discuss postgraduate study and research plans in these areas.

I am currently working on two monographs, one on the representation (and appropriation) of schizophrenia in twentieth-century literature and culture, to appear in Liverpool University Press’s Representations series, and the other on the history of autobiographical narratives about mental illness and confinement.

I am also responsible for the administration of The Hazlitt Society, dedicated to the Romantic-period writer and essayist, and the annual journal it produces, The Hazlitt Review. Queries or submissions for the society or journal should be sent to: For more information see:


2011, King's College London, UK, PhD in English
2006, University College London, UK, MA in English
2002, University of Oxford, UK, BA in English Language and Literature

Academic appointments

Programme Leader for English, Liverpool John Moores University, 2021 - present
Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in English, Liverpool John Moores University, 2014 - present
Lecturer in English and Medical Humanities, King's College London, 2011 - 2012
Wellcome Research Fellow, King's College London, 2010 - 2014
Assistant Editor, Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2003 - 2005


Whitehead JR. 2020. 'A song in the night': reconsidering John Clare's later asylum poetry Kövesi S, Lafford E. Advances in John Clare Studies :275-296 Palgrave Macmillan DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Books (authored)

Whitehead JR. 2017. Madness and the Romantic Poet: A Critical History Oxford University Press. Oxford 9780198733706 DOI Publisher Url

Journal article

Whitehead JR. 2015. Biopower: bodies, minds and biographical subjection in Victorian Lives of the Poets Victorian Network, 6 :7-31 Publisher Url Public Url

Conference presentation:

‘What sort of genre is illness narrative?’, ‘Remembering Voices Lost’, MLA Europe Symposium, Universidade Católica, Lisbon, Portugal, panel presentation. 2019

‘The schizophrenic century: schizophrenia from modernism to mass culture’, ‘Madness, Mental Illness and Mind Doctors in 20th and 21st Century Popular Culture’, University of Edinburgh, conference paper. 2018

'Disorder and disease in Romantic reviewing’, ‘Romantic Disorder’, North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Conference, University of California Berkeley, conference paper. 2016

'Illness narrative and historical testimony', AHRC New Generations Workshop, King's College London, invited talk. 2015

‘Autobiography, authenticity, and the medical humanities’, 'Athens Dialogues: Medical Humanities', Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, Athens, Greece, colloquium contribution. 2014

‘Memoirs of mental illness—autobiographical and medical subjects’, ‘Beyond the Subject: New Developments in Life Writing’, International Auto/Biography Association Conference, Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Geschichte und Theorie der Biographie, Vienna, conference paper. 2013

‘The data of degeneration: biography, psychiatry, and the figure of the Romantic poet’, Romanticism at the Fin de Siècle, Trinity College, Oxford, conference paper. 2013

‘On the giddy brink: the Romantic precipice poem’, 'Romantic Prospects', NASSR Conference, Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland, conference paper. 2012

‘Voices of experience: autobiographical accounts of psychosis and their genres’, 'Situating and Interpreting States of Mind', University of Northumbria, Newcastle, conference paper. 2012

‘Using the evidence of autobiography’, ‘Evaluation, Value and Evidence: Medicine, Humanities, and the Human Sciences’ Colloquium, Heyman Center for Humanities, Columbia University, New York, invited colloquium contribution. 2012

‘Common concerns? literature and medicine since 1945’, 'Medicine, Health and the Arts', University of Bristol, invited lecture. 2012

Other invited event:

‘25 Years of Madness and Modernism’, Durham University, symposium respondent. 2018

‘Madness and creativity: debunking the myth?’, Institute of Psychiatry, Denmark Hill, London, invited lecture. 2014

'Pathology and poetry: psychiatry and literature', Green Templeton College, Oxford, invited lecture. 2011

Other Professional Activity:

External Examiner, BA English, Edge Hill University. 2018

External PGR Supervision - completed students:

King's College London, PhD, Dementia in science, medicine and literature of the twentieth century. 2017

King's College London, PhD, The British anti-psychiatrists from institutional psychiatry to the counter-culture 1960-1971. 2015

King's College London, PhD, The Coleridge Legacy: the development of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's intellectual legacy in Britain and America, 1834-1934. 2014

External committees:

Peer Review College, Arts and Humanities Research Council. 2015

Conference organisation:

‘A Narrative Future for Health Care’, King's College London. 2013

Hazlitt Society Annual Lecture and Day Conference (since 2012).

Editorial boards:

The Hazlitt Review, Assistant Editor, 2012