Dr Paul Davis

Email: paul.davis@ucl.ac.uk
External phone: 020 7679 3125
Internal phone: 33125
Office: Foster Court 203


Education and Experience

Paul Davis received a BA from Cambridge, in 1990, and an MPhil in Renaissance Literature the following year. He was awarded a PhD in 1995 and then held a Junior Research Fellowship at Magdalene College, Cambridge from 1995 to 1997. Since then he has been a member of the English department at UCL, where he is now a Reader. He is the convenor of the ‘Restoration and Eighteenth Literature’ course, and also teaches and examines across a wide range of the department’s other undergraduate provision, particularly the first-year core courses and those in ‘Shakespeare’, ‘Renaissance Literature’, and ‘London in Literature’, as well as guest seminars on ‘Milton and Latinity’ in ‘Literary Linguistics’, on ‘Language and the New Science’ in ‘History of the Language since Chaucer’, and on ‘Mollies and Macaronis’ in ‘Literary Representation and the History of Homosexuality’ . At postgraduate level, Paul gives three seminars on ‘Reception Theory’, ‘Milton’s Shakespeare’ and ‘Dryden’s Shakespeare’ in the ‘Afterlives’ strand of the ‘Shakespeare in History’ MA, and one on ‘Shakespeare and Manuscript Culture’ in the ‘Research Methods’ strand. Paul is presently supervising five doctoral students (two of them jointly with colleagues in the Classics department) researching ‘The Politics of Drama, 1688-1702’, ‘The Reception of Greek Tragedy in the Long Eighteenth Century’, ‘Ovid’s Ars Amatoria in England, 1600-1750’, ‘Houses and Homes in Milton’, and ‘Milton and Italian Poetry’. He has acted as a Ph.D examiner for a number of theses in the UK, as well as in France and Switzerland. Paul has just begun his second two-year term as one of the department’s admissions tutors, having previously filled the role in 2001-2; he also has particular experience in exam administration, having chaired the department’s Board of Examiners between 2008 and 2010 and served since 2011 as External Examiner in the BA and MA programmes in ‘Comparative Literature’ at King’s College London. Paul reviews book proposals for Oxford University Press and article submissions for a number of academic journals in the US and the UK, including Restoration, Modern Philology and Translation & Literature.


Paul’s research interests lie in four main fields: translation and reception of the classics in England from the Civil War to the turn of the nineteenth century; the literature and culture of the Restoration; ideas of poetic vocation and career between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment; and manuscript verse culture in the seventeenth century. His monograph, Translation and the Poet’s Life: the Ethics of Translating in English Culture, 1646-1726 (Oxford University Press, 2008), covered ground shared between the first three of those fields. But Paul’s most recent work has been mainly concentrated in the fourth, leading initially to his edition of Rochester: Selected Poems (Oxford’s World Classics, 2013). This is the first mass-market edition based not on the unreliable early printings of Rochester’s works but the most authoritative manuscripts, and its critical apparatus has been designed to provide students and non-specialist readers with the means to appreciate Rochester as a scribal poet. Whilst working on the edition, Paul discovered a new ‘loose’ collection of thirty-three poetic manuscripts, chiefly from the Restoration period and including three new copies of major satires by Rochester, in the papers of the Molyneux family of Teversall, Nottinghamshire. Paul’s essay on the collection, with a full finding list, will shortly be published in English Manuscript Studies 18 (2013). Other essays on Rochester’s manuscripts and scribal networks in the late seventeenth century are due to appear in journals and books in 2013 and 2014, leading towards Paul’s complete edition of Rochester’s works (including the letters) in the ‘Twenty-First Century Oxford Authors’. Paul’s other project at the moment is a short book on Milton for the ‘Writers and their Work’ series.

Selected Publications


Translation and the Poet’s Life: The Ethics of Translating in English Culture, 1646-1726 (Oxford University Press, 2008), xi+324pp

Edited Volume

Rochester: Selected Poems (Oxford’s Worlds Classics, 2013), lvi+ 136pp

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Academic Journals

'An Unrecorded Collection of Restoration Scribal Verse, Including Three New Rochester Manuscripts', English Manuscript Studies 18 (2013)

'Catholic Dryden', Essays in Criticism, 53 (2003), 174-84

'"But Slaves we are":  Dryden and Virgil, Translation and the "Giant Race"', Translation & Literature 8 (2001), 110-27

‘ John Bunyan and Heavenly Conversation’, in Essays in Criticism, 50 (2000), 215-41

‘ Dryden and the Consolations of Philosophy’, in The Seventeenth Century, 15 (2000), 217-43

'"Dogmatical" Dryden:  Translating the Georgics in the Age of Politeness', Translation & Literature 8 (1999), 28-53

‘Thomas Hobbes’s Translations of Homer: Epic and Anticlericalism in Late Seventeenth-Century England’, in The Seventeenth Century, 12 (1997), 231-55

Essays and Chapters in Book

'Latin Epic: Virgil, Lucan and Others', in The Oxford History of the Classical Reception in English, vol. 3: 1660-1790, eds. David Hopkis and Charles Martindale (Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 133-64

‘Marvell and the Literary Past’, in The Cambridge Companion to Andrew Marvell, eds. Derek Hirst and Steven Zwicker (Cambridge University Press, 2011) pp. 25-44.

‘After the Fire: Chaucer and Urban Poetics, 1666-1743’, in Chaucer and the City, ed. Ardis Butterfield (Woodbridge, 2006), pp. 177-92.

‘Greek and Latin Didactic Poetry, 1660-1790’, in The Oxford History of Literary Translation in English, 6 vols, gen. eds. Peter France and Stuart Gillespie (Oxford University Press, 2005), vol. 3, eds. David Hopkins and Stuart Gillespie (2005), pp. 191-203.

‘Dryden and the Invention of Augustan Culture’, in The Cambridge Companion to John Dryden, ed. Steven Zwicker (Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 75-91.