UCL English


Dr Eric Langley

Graduate Tutor

Email: eric.langley@ucl.ac.uk
External phone: 020 7679 3143
Internal phone: 33143
Office: Foster Court 234

Eric Langley-

Education and Experience

Dr Eric Langley (BA hons, MA dist, PhD: Leeds) was awarded his PhD in 2003, and since then has taught at the Universities of Leeds, York, St Andrews, Sheffield, and Royal Holloway. Having previously been a Teaching Fellow in the department, Eric returned in 2014, and is now an Associate Professor in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature.

Research interests

Eric's second monograph - Shakespeare's Contagious Sympathies: Ill Communications - was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. Counting the cost of compassion, this study of Shakespeare's plays and poetry analyses how medical explanations of disease impact upon philosophical conceptions and literary depictions of his characters who find themselves precariously implicated within a world of ill communications. It examines the influence of scientific thought upon the history of the subject, and explores how Shakespeare—alive to both the importance and dangers of sympathetic communication—articulates an increasing sense of both the pragmatic benefits of monadic thought, emotional isolation, and subjective quarantine, while offering his account of the considerable loss involved when we lose faith in vulnerable, tender, and open existence.

Eric’s first monograph - Narcissism and Suicide in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries (OUP, 2009) - understands self-love and self-slaughter in terms of self-reflexivity and aggressive isolationism. The book considers the rhetoric of introspection and period conceptions of individualism, reading the narcissist and suicide in relation to Renaissance ocular theory, the pastoral tradition, Ovid, classical influence, and religious text. Other recent or ongoing research considers Renaissance erotica, friendship essays, early modern letters, Lucretian atomism, and Montaigne’s digressive tendencies.

Eric's debut poetry collection - Raking Light - was published by Carcanet in 2017 and was nominated for the Felix Dennis award for best first collection at that year's Forward Prizes. He has poems placed in a number of publications including PN Review, New Poetries VI3:AM Magazine, and Blackbox Manifold, and a co-authored sonnet sequence, written with Emily Critchley, with Crater Press.

Eric is currently on the supervisory team for a number of doctoral students whose work focuses, variously, on Renaissance conceptions of ecstatic experience, early-modern semiotic theory, blood, vision, Spenser and Burton, and the parasite. He would welcome enquiries from potential PhD applicants looking to work on relevant subjects.


Shakespeare's Contagious Sympathies
Raking Light


Shakespeare's Contagious Sympathies: Ill Communications (Oxford: OUP, 2018)

Raking Light (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2017)

Narcissism and Suicide in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries (Oxford: OUP, 2009)

Articles and Chapters

with Lesel Dawson, 'Affective Inheritances,' Early Theatre, 20.1 (2017), 133-52

'Standing on a Beach: Shakespeare and the Sympathetic Imagination' (forthcoming)

'Try a little extendedness: Paying attention to Renaissance tenderness' (forthcoming)

The Path to which Wild Error Leads: A Lucretian Comedy of Errors,’ Textual Practice, 28 (2014), 161-87

Postured like a whore? Misreading Hermione’s Statue,’ Renaissance Studies, 27 (2013), 318-40

‘Plagued by Kindness: Contagious Sympathy in Shakespearean Drama,’ Medical Humanities, 37 (2012), 103-109

‘“And Died To Kiss His Shadow:” The Narcissistic Gaze in Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis,’ Forum for Modern Language Studies, 44.1 (2008)

‘Anatomising the Eye in Phineas Fletcher’s The Purple Island: A Literary Case Study,’ Renaissance Studies, 20.iii (2006)

‘“Filthie and Superfluous Speech:” Decadent Rhetoric and the Early-Modern Pornographer,’ Decadence in English Literature, ed. Paul Fox, Studies in English Literature (Stuttgart: Ibidem Press, 2006)

Poems (including co-authored collection)

These Insuing Sonnets, with Emily Critchley (London: Crater Press, 2018)

'6 Sonnets: Call and Response', with Emily Critchley, Blackbox Manifold, 20 (2018), online

'Reddish-Green', Blackbox Manifold, 19 (2018), online

'Two poems', The Forward Book of Poetry, 2018 (London: Faber and Faber, 2017)

'Duos #4: Sometime too hot...', with Emily Critchley, 3:AM Magazine (2017), online

'Argus Panoptes,' PN Review, 229 (2016)

'Yellow Milkmaid Syndrome,' Blackbox Manifold, 17 (2016), online

'{{du|he|tao}} A Sequence,' PN Review, 228 (2016)

'6 Poems', New Poetries VI: An Anthology, ed. Michael Schmidt and Helen Tookey (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2015), pp. 14-28

'2 Poems,' PN Review, 216 (2014)