Saturday 13 June 2009

About Dr Patrick Spedding

I am a lecturer in Literary Studies and am Associate-Director of the Centre for the Book, in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, at Monash University, Melbourne.

This blog was set up to provide me with an informal outlet for research notes, writing about research and teaching.** As I say on my Monash staff page (here), my research areas are the bibliography of Eliza Haywood, book history or print culture, especially of the long eighteenth century, eighteenth-century literature, especially popular, satirical, erotic and low-life literature, and eighteenth-century culture, especially concerning sex, sexuality and contraception.

My teaching interests are quite a bit broader: eighteenth-century and Romantic literature; the gothic; nineteenth-century fantastic, horror and supernatural fiction; film, TV and Graphic Novel adaptations of these.

I am interested in supervising projects in these areas. I would be particularly interested in projects focussing on Eliza Haywood, and other women writers of the "long" eighteenth-century, in projects focusing on the British book trade, and the relationship between authors, publishers, readers and other stakeholders, in the eighteenth-century, projects focusing on erotica and censorship in the eighteenth-century, or on vampiric and demonic (anti)heroes.

I can be contacted about this, or anything else, via the following email address:

A partial list of my articles will be found the publications section of my Monash profile here; a more complete list of my publications, essays, papers etc., can be found here—with links to copies of many of my articles, available for download—and my page is here.

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My official blurb runs as follows:

Patrick received his B.A. (hons) from the University of Tasmania and his Ph.D. from Monash University. His doctoral project was a detailed descriptive bibliography of every edition of every work by Eliza Haywood (1693-1756), from the first edition of the first anonymous and undated publication of 1719 through to the latest on-line collection of texts. Before completing this study, Patrick was invited to act as a consulting editor on the "superbly edited" (Peter Sabor, 2002) six volume series, the Selected Works of Eliza Haywood (v.1-3: 2000; v.4-6: 2001).

Patrick's A Bibliography of Eliza Haywood was submitted in 2003 and published by Pickering and Chatto in 2004. Containing over 125,000 words of critical prose this pioneering study has received numerous commendations from eminent scholars, and was the winner of the 2004-5 Modern Language Association of America Prize for a Distinguished Bibliography (see here). Margaret Croskery (2002) described it as a "formidable source of Haywood scholarship"; James Raven (2004), as exhibiting "extraordinary precision", "exemplary clarity", "painstaking research", "an indispensable aide to the literary scholar and cultural historian"; Paula Backscheider (2004), as a "formidable" work, "essential for Haywood critics": "his scholarship would be more accurately described as 'mind-boggling'"; Kevin L. Cope (2005) writes: "few [bibliographers] inspire such confidence as Spedding", his Bibliography " among the most accurate and comprehensive records of any author, let alone of [Haywood]", "Spedding thus brings a new and much-needed level of discipline to a field of study that has more often been animated by desire and ideology than by solid empirical scholarship", he shows "versatility as an interpreter as well as a bibliographer", "Such a volume is surely more than enough to constellate Spedding among the superstars of bibliography"; Norma Clarke (2005) describes Patrick's Bibliography as "without question, the most important development in Haywood scholarship of our time". The MLA citation of 2006 describes the Bibliography as an "astounding achievement in descriptive bibliography", while David Oakleaf quipped in The Scriblerian, that "were it not so heavy", this Bibliography "would be hard to put down"!

Patrick's other research interest concerns the clandestine publication of erotica in eighteenth century London. He edited, with Alexander Pettit, two five-volume sets of Eighteenth Century British Erotica for Pickering and Chatto (2002, 2004). This "spectacular" set, "with excellent historical and textual introductions", has been very well received (Norbert Schurer, 2004). Patrick's volume in this series was singled out by Joseph Pappa in The Scriblerian (2004) as containing a "fine Introduction" and "the best [annotations] in the series". He also acted as a consulting editor on two four-volume sets of Whore Biographies, 1700-1825, for the same publisher (2006, 2007). Patrick compiled an extensive Checklist of Eighteenth Century British Erotica while selecting and editing texts for Eighteenth Century British Erotica; he has also been researching the publication history of those few works that provide information on how these erotic texts were written, printed, published, distributed, sold, read and (usually) destroyed. In 2006, this research was the subject of a (successful) ARC funding application.

Since the conclusion of this project Patrick has been writing articles on the erotic "canon"; lost erotica of the eighteenth century; the history of Private Case collections; the uselessness of modern text-bases for research into eighteenth-century erotica; the prevalence and open sale of erotica in the eighteenth century; the continuing importance of manuscript distribution of erotica in the eighteenth-century, Boswell's use of condoms; the variety, if not the futility, of defining erotica and pornography. He is working towards completion of three books: a book-history study of erotica, especially in the eighteenth century (to be comprised of many of the article mentioned), a Checklist of Eighteenth-Century Erotica (presently in database form), and a history of the condom before 1840.

Patrick was General editor—with Paul Watt—of a four-volume series Bawdy Songbooks of the Romantic Period (2011) and is presently preparing a variety of articles on Eliza Haywood's readers.

**NB: "Blogger has not been enabled by the administrator of the domain"—which is why this blog was set up independently of Monash.

[UPDATED 16 March 2018]


Unknown said...

Hello Patrick

I am going on holiday in the Isle of Man and as a researcher into the history of the Fleetwood family I thought I would check to see whether there were any connections and before I knew it, I was reading your fascinating information about Elizabeth Fleetwood née Heywood or Haywood. Is it possible to save your research, photos etc. so that I can look at them offline? It would be dreadful to discover that your website had vanished one day and with it all the information you have recorded.

Regards............Sue Cawthorne

Patrick Spedding said...

Sue, you are very welcome to save any of my posts offline; and you are right, I should do the same. I am glad enjoyed my post and good luck with your own work on the Fleetwoods.

amer said...

Hello Patrick,

I have read your fascinating work on Haywood. I am about to start a reseach about the possible links between Haywood's fiction post 1724 and earlier utopias, arguing that there is a utopian dimension for her fiction, particularly memoirs of a certain island. Do you have any recommendations or advice about how to approach this task please?
thank you

Patrick Spedding said...

Amer, an interesting project.

Why don't you contact me at my Monash email address so we can discuss this more easily?

There is a link to my Monash staff page (and linked email address) on my profile for this blog (or you can Google Spedding + Monash) to get to the same pages.


amer said...

hello Patrick,

I am just wondering whether you have got my email on your monash email?