UCL English


Dr Linda Freedman


Email: l.freedman@ucl.ac.uk
External phone: 0207 679 3137
Internal phone: 33137
Office: Foster Court 227


Linda Freedman

Education and Experience 

Linda Freedman is a graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford  and King’s College London.

She won an AHRC award to compete a doctoral dissertation on Emily Dickinson in 2004 and completed her PhD at King's in 2007.

Between 2008 and 2011 she held the Keasbey Research Fellowship in American Studies at Selwyn College, Cambridge. She joined UCL as a lecturer in 2012 and was appointed Associate Professor in 2019.

Research Interests

Linda teaches and researches nineteenth and twentieth-century British and American literature. She has a particular interest in transatlantic connections and the relationship between literature, theology and the visual arts and welcomes approaches from students interested in undertaking a PhD in any of these areas.

Her first book, on Emily Dickinson and the Religious Imagination, explored the tensions and affinities between readings in poetry and readings in theology.

Her second book is called William Blake and the Myth of America: from the Abolitionists to the Counterculture. This takes in literary and cultural reception and engages with questions about myth-making, politics and identity-formation. It identifies and explores particularly lively moments in nineteenth and twentieth-century America when Blake mattered to a post-Romantic and countercultural concern with democracy, imagination and individual freedom. The book also thinks about the ways in which Blake’s American reception might make us read his work, and his own ideas about America, in a new light.

She is currently working on a third book, provisionally entitled The Myth of the Fall and the Shaping of Modern Western Culture. The myth of the Fall is a point of continuity between sacred and secular worldviews in the long nineteenth century. Stretching from Rousseau to Kafka and Freud, this research investigates the myth of the Fall as a shaping force on modern western culture and looks equally at the shaping force that various forms of cultural expression exert on a living myth. It investigates the extent to which the myth of the Fall helps construct our changing and plural senses of 'world' and the narrative structures that contribute to its making. From Providence to circumstance, nature to artifice, dominion to catastrophe,  shifting hermeneutics raise questions about agency, aesthetics and ethics. This project explores the residually religious myth of the Fall as a vital creative, political and psychological origin story of our modern post-secular world.



Emily Dickinson and the Religious Imagination

William Blake

Emily Dickinson and the Religious Imagination (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)

William Blake and the Myth of America: from the Abolitionists to the Counterculture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018) 


Articles and Chapters in Books

'Errant Boys and Accidental Falls: Ontological Exegesis in Dickinson's Old Testament Poems', Literature and Theology 34.1 (2020): 19-40.

'Whitman, Crane and the Beats', Blake in Context ed. Sarah Haggarty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

''Rare sparkles of light': Intimacy and Distance in Emily Dickinson's letters to Thomas Wentworth Higginson', The Edinburgh Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Letters and Letter-Writing ed. Celeste-Marie Bernier, Judie Newman and Matthew Pethers (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016)

''And with what Body do they come?': Dickinson's resurrection', Religion and Literature 46.1 (2014): 180-187

‘Plath and the New Yorker’, in Writing for the New Yorker ed. Fiona Green (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015).

'Poetry, Prophecy and Democracy': Teaching through the lens of the Fortnightly Review', in Teaching Transatlanticism: Resources for Teaching Nineteeth-Century Anglo-American Print Culture ed. Sarah Robbins and Linda Hughes (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015).

‘Touching the Wounds: Dickinson and Contemporary Christology’, in Emily Dickinson and Philosophy, ed. Jedd Deppman and Marianne Noble (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

‘William Blake and Walt Whitman: the prophet-artist and democratic thought’, Traffic and Translations: Transatlantic Exchanges between Britain and New England 1610-1910 ed. Robin Peel and Daniel Maudlin (University Press of New England, 2013).

‘Blake, Duncan and the Politics of Writing from Myth’, Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly: Autumn 2013.

‘Tom Altizer and William Blake: the Apocalypse of Belief’, Literature and Theology 25 (2011), 20–31.

‘The Scapegoat and the story of Grace’, Word and Image 26 (2010), 142-9.

‘Greed and Literature: the Narrative of Consumption’ in Greed, ed. Stephen Barber and Alexis Brassey (London: Macmillan, 2009): 170-188

‘Reflection and the Aesthetics of Grace in Villette’, Literature and Theology 22 (2008), 406-18.

‘“Meadows of Majesty”: Baptism as Translation in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry’, The Emily Dickinson Journal 17 (2008), 25-42.


Linda's reviews include pieces for The European LegacyThe Emily Dickinson JournalThe Journal of American Studies,  Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly and Religion and Literature.