School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Dr James Harriman-Smith

Lecturer in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature


I am a lecturer in literature, one of te university's public orators, and the undergraduate admissions director for SELLL.

I read English literature at the University of Cambridge, where I won the Harness Essay Prize in 2009, and the Charles Oldham Shakespeare Scholarship in 2010. I was also fortunate to receive an Erasmus scholarship during my degree that allowed me to spend a year studying French, Latin and Greek at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon.

Following time spent teaching English back at the Ecole Normale, my postgraduate work studied the place of Shakespeare and the theatre in the literary culture of the long eighteenth century, both in Britain and France.

I was appointed to a lectureship in Restoration and eighteenth-century literature at Newcastle University in September 2015; I became a trustee of the British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies in 2018, and one of the university's public orators in 2019. At SELLL I teach on a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and welcome PhD candidates whose research interests overlap with my own.

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  • SEL1030: Close Reading
  • SEL1023: Transformations
  • SEL2202: Writing New Worlds
  • SEL3366: The Ways of the World (2015/6)
  • SEL3389: Stage and Page (2016/7)
  • SEL3392: Between the Acts: English Theatre 1660-1737
  • SEL8188: Reading the Past (2015/6)
  • SEL8535: Intermedialities (2018/9)
  • SEL8680: Thinking through Performance

I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations.


My research concerns what James Boswell, in 1770, called 'literary productions relative to the art of acting': a heterogeneous range of materials from across the long eighteenth century, including letters, biographies, articles, and scholarly editions as well as acting treatises and manuals. Key themes within this work include: celebrity and identity, the theory and performance of the passions, and the transmission of theatrical tradition on both page and stage.

My PhD thesis examined the place of Shakespeare within 'literary productions relative to the art of acting', which represents an important but understudied part of the playwright's legacy. One chapter of that thesis has become a book, called The Art of Transition, due for publication from Cambridge University Press in 2021.