Newcastle University Academic Track Fellowships NUAcT

Joseph Hone

Dr Joseph Hone

I grew up near Plymouth, where I went to a local state school, before studying English Language and Literature at Oxford. My first degree led to postgraduate study on early eighteenth-century political writing, a research fellowship at Cambridge, and, from 2019, a NUAcT Fellowship here at Newcastle. My major project is a study of clandestine printing during the English ‘Enlightenment’. On any given day I might be combing through intelligence reports filed by undercover government press spies, using decorative ornaments or broken pieces of type to identify the printers of controversial tracts, or studying interrogation transcripts. My next book springing from this project investigates a three-hundred year old mystery involving an anonymous sectarian pamphlet, a masked woman, a down-on-his-luck printer, and a plot to overthrow the government. The NUAcT scheme is enabling me to use this minute archival research to ask big questions about the nature of communication, the circulation of ideas, and the strictures of censorship. I have longstanding interests in public engagement and one of my aims as a NUAcT Fellow is to champion the importance of literary and historical studies in the modern world. Naturally, I spend much of my spare time rummaging through the barrows of second-hand bookshops.