Rowan Boyson

Senior Lecturer in English Literature

King's College London

Rowan Boyson studied for her BA and MPhil at the University of Cambridge, and was a Knox Fellow at Harvard University. Her PhD was supervised by Paul Hamilton at Queen Mary, University of London and awarded in 2008. She taught at Queen Mary and at London Metropolitan before being elected as a Junior Research Fellow at King’s College, Cambridge in 2009. Her current project is a philosophical-cultural history of smell rooted in the Enlightenment and Romantic periods. Research questions include the relation of materialism and imagination in early-Enlightenment thought, critical concepts of Romantic lyric sensuousness, and narratives of the senses in relation to political and cultural theories of modernity. She has published chapters and articles on smell and the senses (see ‘Selected Publications’). She is also developing research into the topics of waste, idleness and rest, especially in relation to Rousseau. Previous work has focused on the interplay of aesthetics and politics in the long eighteenth century. Her first monograph, Wordsworth and the Enlightenment Idea of Pleasure, (2012, paperback 2015), won the University English Early Career Book Prize in 2013. It has been reviewed in Romanticism, European Romantic Review, The Wordsworth Circle, the BARS Bulletin and Review and Studies in Romanticism. The book considered the political and ethical problem of pleasure for a range of Enlightenment thinkers including Shaftesbury, Kant, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft before examining William Wordsworth’s treatment of the theme and its critical legacy.