UCL English


Professor Peter Swaab

External phone: 020 7679 3140
Internal phone: 33140
Office: Foster Court 231

Pete Swaab Photo

Education and Experience

After graduating in English at Cambridge, I spent two years on a Harkness Fellowship studying at Harvard and NYU. Returning to Cambridge, I completed a PhD on ‘Wordsworth and Patriotism’ and was a Research Fellow at Queens’ College, and then for four years Director of Studies in English at Corpus Christi College. I have been at UCL since 1990, during which time I have also taught as a visiting professor at the universities of Turin and Zürich, and at Dartmouth College.


My main area of research is the literature and especially the poetry of the Romantic period, in particular the poetry of Wordsworth. But I have also published on Shakespeare and film studies, and in recent years have been researching in the field of gay and lesbian studies. I have written a BFI Film Classics book on Howard Hawks’s 1938 screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby (2010) and edited a volume of Sara Coleridge’s literary criticism (The Regions of Sara Coleridge's Thought, 2012), following on from my edition of her poetry (2007), for which I had AHRC-funded research leave in 2009-10. I have a number of ongoing projects, including a book on Sylvia Townsend Warner, and a book of essays on ideas of utopia in gay and lesbian literature, which looks like including discussions of Edward Lear, Frederick Rolfe, swimming, Westerns, Willa Cather, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Jane Bowles, Elizabeth Bishop, and Thom Gunn.

Selected Publications


Bringing Up Baby (BFI Classics, 2010)

Edited Books

Ed. with Introduction, The Regions of Sara Coleridge's Thought: Selected Literary Criticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), xxxvi + 236pp

Introduction to The Two Noble Kinsmen (Penguin Shakespeare, 2009), ed. N.W.Bawcutt, xxi-lxxxvii, xcviii-cviii

Co-ed. with Philip Horne, Thorold Dickinson: A World of Film (Manchester University Press, 2008), 320pp

Ed. with Introduction, Collected Poems of Sara Coleridge (Carcanet, 2007), xi + 255pp

Ed. with Introduction, Over the Land and Over the Sea: Selected Nonsense and Travel Writings of Edward Lear (Carcanet, 2005), xxvi + 354pp

Ed. with Introduction, Lives of the Great Romantics: Wordsworth (Pickering and Chatto, 1996), xliv + 497pp


‘"Heavenly Hermaphroditism": A Note on The Sea-Change', The Journal of the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society 16 (2015)

'Wordsworth's Elegies for John Wordsworth', The Wordsworth Circle 45 (2014), 30-38

‘Sylvia's Similes: A Stylistic Approach to Sylvia Townsend Warner’, Literature Compass 11 (2014), 767-75

‘Sara Coleridge: Poems and their Addressees’, The Coleridge Bulletin 33 (2009): 45-64

‘Un film vampirisé’, on Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr, Film Quarterly, vol. 62 (2009): 56-62

The Line of Beauty’, on the TV adaptation of Alan Hollinghurst’s novel, Film Quarterly, vol. 60 (2007): 10-15

Life of Charles Lamb, New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)