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Dr Michael Meeuwis

Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer)

The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul.


Room H529
Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


I write about English literature, political theory, and theories of performance. Everyone's Theater: Literature and Daily Life in England, 1860-1914, is forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press. This book reconstructs the mass popular theater of England in the later part of the nineteenth century, basing around it a cohesive media theory of later-Victorian personhood and politics. A second manuscript, tentatively entitled We Want What You Have: Middle-Class Adventures on the London Stage, describes recent plays (ca. summer 2017) in terms of life and politics in contemporary London. As part of teaching Austen in Theory, I'm developing How Austen Works, a manual for general readers seeking to read these novels more closely. Finally, a new monograph, Performing Novels, reconsiders the textual and philosophical history of the novel, from its eighteenth-century origins to the present day, in light of the phenomenon of novels read out loud as well as read in private.

Research interests

I'm a literary historian of the British eighteenth through twenty-first centuries, with an ongoing interest in theatre. My book discusses performance in Britain and its empire during the later Victorian and Edwardian periods. I'm currently moving forward to discuss contemporary performance in London, and backwards to consider the epistemological history of performance and novels in the eighteenth century.

In 2019-20 I am leading a university-wide reading group in nineteenth-century cultural studies.

As the ramp-up to my second manuscrpt, I maintained an informal theatregoing blog. The blog's gone quiet while I finish up the second book; in the manner of all blog projects, it'll doubtless be resurrected soon.

Teaching and supervision

I welcome proposals for undergraduate or postgraduate theses discussing nineteenth-century literature, performance studies and drama, liberal political theory's relationship to literature.


  • Everyone's Theater: Daily Life and Literature in England, 1860-1914 (University of Michigan Press)
  • "Full Content: Shaw's Paratexts, Social Liberalism, and Harmonization," forthcoming in The Entangled Careers of Liberalism and Literature (edited collection, University of Toronto Press)
  • "Herbert Spencer, Gerard Hopkins, and the Force of Poetic Expression,” Modern Philology, Volume 113, no. 2, November 2015
  • “Representative Government: The ‘Problem Play,’ Quotidian Culture, and the Making of Social Liberalism,” English Literary History (ELH), Volume 80, Number 4, Winter 2013
  • “‘The Theatre Royal Back Drawing-Room:’ Professionalizing Domestic Entertainment in Victorian Acting Manuals,” Victorian Studies 54 (Spring 2012).
  • “Living the Dream: The Golden Bowl and Benjamin’s Arcades Project,” The Henry James Review 27 (Winter 2006).


  • BA (Toronto)
  • MA (Rice)
  • PhD (University of Chicago)

Office hours 2019-20

Autumn and Spring terms:

Tuesdays 3-4 and Thursdays 2-3--and, as ever, by appointment



Undergraduate modules

Modes of Reading (all year)

George Eliot and Sociology (all year)

Austen in Theory (all year)

Postgraduate modules

The British Dramatist in Society (spring)