David Amigoni studied English and History at University College Cardiff, followed by an MA in Victorian Studies at Keele University. He obtained his PhD from the Liverpool Polytechnic which he later published as Victorian Biography in 1993. He has taught at Aberystwyth University and the University of Sunderland.
He took up a lectureship at Keele University in 1995 and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2000, and then to a personal chair in Victorian Literature in 2005. He was elected Fellow of the English Association in 2008. He researches, broadly, the dynamic relationship literature and intellectual culture in the nineteenth century, on which he has published extensively, exploring, in particular, the relationship between evolutionary science and literature in the Victorian period: he published Colonies, Cults and Evolution with Cambridge University Press in 2007 (and funded by the AHRB). Since 2009 he has worked with Professor Miriam Bernard and the New Vic Theatre on a New Dynamics of Ageing funded project on the relationship between ageing and theatre; connected to this he has secured AHRC Network Funding, with Professor Gordon McMullan (King's College, London) for an interdisciplinary exploration of late-life creativity (an ongoing research project).
He has occupied the managerial roles of Head of the School of English, Research Dean of Humanities, Director of the Research Institute of Humanities and (most recently) Head of the School of Humanities. He is a member of AHRC's Peer Review College.
David is writing a monograph on social and biological inheritance in intellectual families contributing, across three generations, to scientific and literary culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His public engagement work includes speaking at literary festivals and an interview with the Booker Prize-winning novelist Ian McEwan at the Bicentenary festival of Charles Darwin's birth in Cambridge, 2009. He has appeared on BBC Radio 4's The Long View. He is committed to the understanding and furtherance of interdisciplinary research that traverses established boundaries, both in history and in the present.
Research and scholarship
My books include: Victorian Biography (1993); Charles Darwin's Origin of Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays (1995) (edited with Jeff Wallace); this will be re-published in 2013; Victorian Culture and the Idea of the Grotesque (1999) (edited with Colin Trodd and Paul Barlow), and Life Writing and Victorian Culture, an edited collection of ten original essays tracing new developments in the field (2006). My monograph Colonies, Cults and Evolution: Literature, Science and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Writing appeared in 2007 (with AHRB support), published by Cambridge University Press in their 'Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture' series. My book, Victorian Literature: A Critical Guide (Edinburgh University Press) appeared in 2011
as did The Evolutionary Epic, edited with James Elwick (York University, Toronto), vol 4 of Gowan Dawson and Bernard Lightman (eds.) Victorian Science and Literature (Pickering and Chatto, 8 volumes).
I have published essays on neo-Darwinian literary criticism, genetics in literature, and Ian McEwan and contemporary science. This led to a public conversation with Ian McEwan at the Darwin Bicentenary Festival in Cambridge (July 2009)
Other writings include The English Novel and Prose Narrative (Edinburgh 2000), and essays about Matthew Arnold, the Dictionary of National Biography, Charles Darwin and Wordsworth, Leslie Stephen, Thomas Carlyle, Harriet Martineau, Grant Allen, Victorian biographies of eighteenth-century men of letters, Samuel Butler, John Addington Symonds, and a chapter for the recently published Cambridge History of Victorian Literature (ed. Kate Flint, 2012). I was the editor of the interdisciplinary Journal of Victorian Culture between July 2005 and July 2008. I am a member of the editorial board for Blackwell's internet journal, Literature Compass, having been founding editor of its Victorian section. I was made a Fellow of the English Association in 2008.
I am co-editing, with Dr Amber Regis (University of Sheffield) a special issue of the journal English Studies on the work of John Addington Symonds (2013).
My next major monograph project, under development, is concerned with literature, science and life writing, and the idea of inheritance in the nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries. It begins with a focus on Darwin and Galton, and examines the intellectual dynasties of the Darwins, the Huxleys and the Batesons.
Projects and collaborations
I am co-investigator, with Lucy Munro, on a major interdisciplinary project entitled ‘Ages and stages: the place of theatre in representations and recollections of ageing’, and led by Professor Miriam Bernard. We are working in partnership with the New Victoria Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme – originally Peter Cheeseman’s famous Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent (on which the project’s rich archival research is based). The project is funded under the New Dynamics of Ageing cross-council research programme. The project was recently in receipt of follow-on funding, see:
I am PI of the AHRC-funded research network, 'Late-Life Creativity and the New Old Age: arts & humanities and gerontology in critical dialogue', a collaboration with Professor Gordon McMullan (King’s College, London).
I continue to work on the development of The Foundations of British Sociology; The Sociological Review Archive at Keele with colleagues from Humanities, and the Research Institute for the Social Sciences. The archive, formerly known as ‘the Le Play Collection’, is a unique body of papers and social survey materials from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, deposited by Patrick Geddes, Victor Branford and associates. We secured generous funding from the Sociological Review, which has an historic relationship to the collection, and this enabled us to catalogue the archive; see:
I am a member of the editorial board of the Sociological Review
I have an interest in the theory and practice of pedagogy. I co-wrote Get Set for English Literature with Julie Sanders (2003), and I worked on a project concerned with 'the production of English in Mass Higher Education', with Ken Jones and Susan Bruce (Keele), and Monica McLean (Nottingham University); the project was funded by the English Subject Centre.
I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College until 2012. I am an experienced external examiner of undergraduate and masters programmes, and higher degrees. At Keele I have been Research Dean for Humanities (2003-05), Head of the School of English (2004-05), and Director of the Research Institute for Humanities (2005-08).
School of Humanities
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 733109