Thesis Title: The Materiality of Women’s Writing, 1580-1740: Production, Transmission, and Reception
Supervisors: Prof. Adam Smyth & Prof. Christine Gerrard
Research Interests: History of the Book, Women's Writing (1550-1830), Material Culture, Jonathan Swift, Maria Edgeworth
Ben Wilkinson-Turnbull is a D.Phil student and Clarendon Scholar at Mansfield College, University of Oxford. His doctoral research focuses on the materiality of women’s writing between 1580 and 1740. The varied methods of textual production employed by women writers means much work remains to be done in understanding the material forms (paper, fabric, stone, metal, and hybrids of the above) used to produce and circulate their works. By comparing women's textual practices to those of their male contemporaries his thesis demonstrates the underappreciated aesthetic complexity of women's writing, explores new forms of textual transmission, and aims to improve our understanding of how form affects meaning.
Publications, Research Output, and Ongoing Projects
Ben’s first article, a study of active reading practices and post-print manuscript editing by women writers, is forthcoming in OUP’s The Review of Literary Studies. With Prof. Helen Smith, he is currently editing 'The Material Book' section of The Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Early Modern Women’s Writing. Alongside his work as a feminist literary historian, Ben is also a contributing editor to The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift working on his later political writings.
Ben is also an Research Assistant on Prof. Ros Ballaster's “Opening the Edgeworth Papers” Project. As part of this project he co-curated the "Meet the Edgeworths" exhibition at the Bodleian Library. Ben regularly blogs for the project and is particularly interested in the materiality of Maria Edgeworth's manuscripts. Updates for this project can be found on Twitter @EdgeworthPapers.
Ben has taught widely on literature written between 1550 and 1830. He is currently supervising a number of undergraduate dissertations, ranging in scope from early modern book history to contemporary women's writing, and welcomes enquires from potential supervisees.