We are delighted to welcome to the department Paddy Bullard, who is one of several new colleagues joining us this Autumn.
Enlightenment-period literature and the history of the book are the two great enthusiasms of my professional life, and the University of Reading is a very special place to be pursuing them. For me the Whiteknights campus is haunted by the satirist Alexander Pope, who knew it well as the estate of his friend Anthony Englefield during the first decade of the eighteenth century. Two of my heroes from the end of the century, the inventor and memoirist Richard Lovell Edgeworth and the novelist Thomas Day, met and became firm friends a few miles down the road at Hare Hatch. And, as a book historian, Reading’s unique holdings of publisher’s archives and typographic collections promise many seasons of happy research and teaching at Redlands Road. I can’t wait to get started.
I come to the University of Reading with some baggage – two on-going book projects, and several other long-term plans for research. The main focus of my writing is a monograph, On Knowing More Than You Can Say: An Enlightenment Problem, 1600-1800. It describes how writers in an age of open inquiry dealt with knowledge that cannot be disseminated freely in print (the conventional technology of enlightenment) because it is tacit and unspecifiable, reproducible only by example or personal habituation. It will be my second book – my first, Edmund Burke and the Art of Rhetoric (Cambridge University Press, 2011), traced the origins of Burke’s thinking about political deliberation in seventeenth-century theories of moral psychology, and in the ‘commonwealthsman’ political culture of eighteenth-century Ireland. A second on-going project is The Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth-Century Satire, of which I am editor. My own research in this area is focused on Pope’s friend Jonathan Swift – in 2013 I published a co-edited collection of essays called Jonathan Swift and the Eighteenth-Century Book.
Outside the world of books my enthusiasms coalesce (very loosely) around things rural, folky and earthy. Gardening is my passion, British traditional song is my soundtrack, and an active life in the local community (wherever that may be) is what makes sense of it all. I expect to be hanging out at the Museum of English Rural Life on Redlands Road rather a lot.