Professor Angus Gowland

Angus Gowland is a Professor of Intellectual History. His main research interest is in the intellectual history of early modern Europe, especially in the fields of psychology, medicine, and natural and moral philosophy. In his work on Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621-1651), he has written about early modern theories of melancholy, the ways in which these related to contemporary philosophical, religious, and political contexts, and their literary expression. He is also interested, more broadly, in early modern ideas about human nature and selfhood, and the various forms in which these were expressed.

Angus teaches courses on the history of political thought in the West from classical antiquity to the twentieth century, on ideas about human nature in the European Renaissance, on Renaissance political thought, and on the theory and practice of intellectual history.

PhD supervision

Angus is interested in supervising PhDs on topics in European (including English) intellectual history from the Renaissance to the 17th century, particularly in political thought, medicine, natural philosophy, and theology.

Current and recently completed students: Simone Webb, 'Extra-discursive Philosophical Practices by Women Philosophers, 1660-1750'; James Everest, 'Practical Optics and Polemical Purposes in Seventeenth-Century England'; Mads Jensen, 'The Political Thought of Philipp Melanchthon'.

Major publications

  • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, ed. and trans. Angus Gowland (Penguin Classics, forthcoming).
  • 'Melancholy, Passions, and Identity in the Renaissance,' in Brian Cummings and Freya Sierhuis (eds), Passions and Subjectivity in Early Modern Culture (Ashgate, 2013)
  • The Worlds of Renaissance Melancholy: Robert Burton in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2006)
  • 'The Problem of Early Modern Melancholy', Past and Present 191 (2006)

For a full list of publications, see Angus's Iris profile.


In 2010 Angus was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Early Modern History.

Media appearances

  • 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder', Horizon, BBC Worldwide, June 2015
  • 'All in the Mind: Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy', ABC Radio (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), April 2004