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Dr. R. (Rosalind) Powell

Faculty of Humanities
Capaciteitsgroep Engelse taal en cultuur

Visiting address
  • Spuistraat 134
Postal address
  • Postbus 1641
    1000 BP Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Profile

    I joined the UvA in January 2023 as Assistant Professor in English Literature. I came to the university from the University of Bristol, where I was Senior Lecturer. I received my PhD from the University of St Andrews and my undergraduate degree from Cambridge University.

    My main area of research is the relationship between literature, science and religion in the long eighteenth century. My second book, Perception and Analogy, was published by Manchester University Press in 2021. It explores what it means to ‘see scientifically’ in the eighteenth century by looking at the descriptive strategies of poets, natural philosophers, and theologians from the period. I have also written on poetry and Linnaean botany, scientific satires about reproduction, children's literature, Christian ideas in Romantic literature about science, and anti-Newtonianism in the works of Christopher Smart and his contemporaries. My first book, Christopher Smart's English Lyrics (2014), considers Smart’s reception of Biblical and classical verse in terms of national and religious identity.

    My current research considers scientific self-experimentation and the development of aesthetic categories between 1660 and 1830. This project looks at how different scientists and physicians (including Joseph Priestley, Anton von Störck, George Cheyne and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek) documented trials on their own bodies and how their narrative accounts relate to the development and refinement of concepts such as genius, originality, taste, and inspiration.

    I am also co-editing an essay collection with Lisa Ottum (Xavier University, Cincinnati) and Alison Dushane (Angelo State University)  titled Teaching With Science Writing in Humanities Classes.

    I am always delighted to hear from potential collaborators, and to connect with other scholars on questions of research content and method.


    I teach and supervise across the period 1600-1900 and I welcome supervision enquiries related to any of the topics outline above or to poetry more broadly. In 2023/4, I am teaching on the following courses:

    Texts in Focus 1

    English Literature 2: Early Modern Literature

    English Literature 3: The Eighteenth Century

    Authors in Focus: Nineteenth Century

    Self-Reflection in Anglophone Poetry  (MA)

  • Publications



    • Powell, R. (2022). Generation, Classification, and Human-Plant Analogies in the Mid Eighteenth Century. Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 34(supp 1), 572-590.


    • Powell, R. (2021). Perception and Analogy: Poetry, science, and religion in the eighteenth century. Manchester University Press.


    • Powell, R. (2020). Science. In J. Barbeau (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism and Religion (pp. 257-273). Cambridge University Press.


    • Powell, R. (2017). Poetry. In J. D. S. Rasmussen, J. Wolfe, & J. Zachhuber (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of 19th-Century Christian Thought (pp. 424-435)


    • Powell, R. (2016). Linnaeus, Analogy and Taxonomy: Botanical Naming and Categorization in Erasmus Darwin and Charlotte Smith. Philological Quarterly, 95(1), 101-124.


    • Powell, R. (2014). Christopher Smart’s English Lyrics: Translation in the Eighteenth Century. Ashgate.
    • Powell, R. (2014). ‘Christopher Smart’s Systema Naturae: Anti-Newtonianism and the Categorical Impulse in Jubilate Agno’. Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 37, 361-376.


    • Powell, R. (2013). Making an Impression: Christopher Smart’s Idea of Writing Well. In M. Wild, & N. Chevalier (Eds.), Reading Christopher Smart in the 21st Century (pp. 45-61). Bucknell University Press.


    • Powell, R. (2012). Towards a New Language: Sublime Aesthetics in Smart’s Jubilate Agno. In Reading 1759: Literary Culture in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain and France (pp. 111-130). Bucknell University Press.

    Membership / relevant position

    • Powell, R. (2017-2025). Member of Executive Committee, British Society for Literature and Science.

    Talk / presentation

    • Powell, R. (speaker) (23-11-2023). Barometers and Bodies in the Eighteenth Century: Scientific Sensitivity, Sociability and Authority, Université Lille.
    • Powell, R. (speaker) (13-4-2023). Epistolary Science, British Society for Literature and Science Conference.
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities