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Dr. John West



Room 5.43, Faculty of Arts Building, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL


I am Associate Professor and I teach in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies. I studied at the Universities of Warwick (BA and PhD) and Oxford (MSt). I held a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Exeter, a visiting fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library, and was Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham before joining Warwick in 2017.


My research interests include seventeenth-century literature, especially of the Civil Wars and Restoration; early modern literature and politics; and early modern literature and religion. My first book was about enthusiasm in the works of the Restoration poet, dramatist and literary critic John Dryden. I am continuing my work on Dryden with an essay about his role as Poet Laureate. This is based on a public lecture I gave at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany in November 2023.

For some time now my research has focused on literature printed at moments of royal and protectoral succession from 1603 to 1714. I was a Research Fellow at Exeter University on the Stuart Successions Project, which yielded a bibliographical database of succession literature, an anthology of primary sources, and a volume of essays. I also contributed to a series of public engagement activities that led to the development of the educational website Stuarts Online with the Bodleian Library, the Ashmolean Museum, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. I am now working on a book about literature and the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Writers I'm researching in connection with this project include Dryden (inevitably), Katherine Philips, and George Wither.

My research plans for the future include a study of the mythological figure Comus across different periods, cultures, and media, which partly stems from an unhealthy interest in horror films and folk music; and work on literature and the theology of the Holy Spirit in early modern Britain, which I hope will lead me back to work I did a long time ago on the brilliant republican writer Lucy Hutchinson.

Teaching and Supervision

On the undergraduate syllabus I usually teach on the modules Epic into NovelLink opens in a new window, Seventeenth-Century LiteratureLink opens in a new window, Literature and Revolution 1640-60Link opens in a new window, and Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his TimeLink opens in a new window. I lecture on Medieval and Early Modern Literature. I also teach on the MA module Shakespeare in History.Link opens in a new window

I have supervised undergraduate dissertations on topics including Restoration poetry, the Eikon Basilike of Charles I, and early modern witchcraft plays.

At postgraduate level, I co-supervised with colleagues in History a PhD thesis on religion in Restoration drama (completed in 2023). I enjoy supervising projects in all areas of early modern English literature so please email me for a conversation if this is something you're interested in doing.

Selected Publications

Dryden and Enthusiasm: Literature, Religion, and Politics in Restoration England (Oxford, 2018).

With Andrew McRae ed. Literature of the Stuart Successions: An Anthology (Manchester, 2017).

'The People and the English Civil Wars' in The People: Belonging, Exclusion, and Democracy ed. Benjamin Kohlmann and Matthew Taunton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

'"Epiques chang'd to Doleful Elegies": The Poems on the Death of Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester' The Seventeenth Century 39 (2024), 441-465.

'Poetry, the Passions, and Anti-Democracy in Later Stuart England' in Democracy and Anti-Democracy in Early Modern England, 1603-1689Link opens in a new window ed. Cesare Cuttica and Markku Peltonen (Leiden, 2019).

‘‘A great Romance feigned to raise wonder’: Literature and the Making of the 1689 Succession’ in Stuart Succession Literature: Moments and TransformationsLink opens in a new window ed. Andrew McRae and Paulina Kewes (Oxford, 2019), pp. 114-31.

Office Hours 23/24 (Term 2)

Week 1-3: Wednesday 1-2; Thursday 11-12
Week 9: Monday 3-4; Wednesday 1-2

2023/24 Teaching


EN2L6/3L2: Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his Time (convenor)


EN9ZF: Shakespeare in History (convenor)

EN9A7: Drama and Performance Theory