King's College London

Research portal

Dr James Whitehead

Research interests

I have two major projects in progress.  The first is the expansion and publication of my PhD thesis (Poetic Madness and the Reception of British Romanticism, 1800-1870, 2011) as a monograph. The thesis examined nineteenth century writing (including poetry, journalism, criticism, biography, and medical literature) that linked poetry to madness.  Its purpose was to offer an account of the growth and dissemination of a popular idea of the ‘mad poet’, and how this idea influenced the varying fortunes in reception and reputation of some British Romantic poets (specifically Blake, Shelley, and Clare), their works, and conceptions of Romanticism generally.

The second project, relating to the Wellcome fellowship, moves from the mythologies surrounding mental illness to its realities, and examines the history of autobiographical writing about mental illness and breakdown.  My concern here is to show in particular how changing genres and forms of autobiographical writing have shaped the ways in which the experience of mental illness, and illness more generally, can be conceptualised and communicated, from the late eighteenth century to the present. 

Biographical details

I joined the English department at King's in 2006 as a PhD student from UCL, where I took an MA in English (Issues in Modern Culture).  My BA was in English Language and Literature from Magdalen College, University of Oxford.  I have also previously worked as a lexicographer and researcher on the ongoing third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press).  Since completing my PhD, I have been attached to the Centre for Humanities and Health as one of the six postdoctoral fellows on a project funded by the Wellcome Trust, entitled The Boundaries of Illness, in a strand relating to illness and narrative.

Editorial activity

The Hazlitt Review (Journal)

James Whitehead (Associate Editor)
2011 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Participation in conference

Beyond the Subject: New Developments in Life Writing, IABA Europe

James Whitehead (Speaker)
31 Oct 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Romanticism at the Fin de Siecle

James Whitehead (Speaker)
14 Jun 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Evaluation, Value and Evidence: Medicine, Humanities, and the Human Sciences

James Whitehead (Invited speaker)
12 Apr 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Athens Dialogues: Medical Humanities

James Whitehead (Invited speaker)
26 Feb 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Ways of Seeing John Berger

James Whitehead (Speaker)
6 Sep 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Romantic Prospects: North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Conference

James Whitehead (Speaker)
15 Aug 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Situating and Interpreting States of Mind

James Whitehead (Speaker)
14 Jun 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Motion and Space: KCL English Postgraduate Conference

James Whitehead (Speaker)
23 May 2011

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

International Health Humanities Conference: Madness and Literature

James Whitehead (Speaker)
6 Aug 2010

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Romantic Diversity: North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Conference

James Whitehead (Speaker)
21 Aug 200824 Aug 2008

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

The Case and the Canon: Science and Literature, ACUME-2 Conference

James Whitehead (Speaker)
26 Jun 200828 Jun 2008

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Life and Works: Victorian Life-Writing

James Whitehead (Speaker)
16 Jun 2008

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Types of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Collaboration on Guardian feature

James Whitehead (Interviewee)
Mar 2011

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Publication peer-review

Stet: an online postgraduate research journal (Journal)

James Whitehead (Peer reviewer)
20112012

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Types of External academic engagement - Invited talk

Madness and Creativity: debunking the myth?

James Whitehead (Speaker)
8 Apr 2013

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

‘Illness Narrative, Autobiography, and Selfhood’

James Whitehead (Speaker)
3 Jul 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

‘The Doctor’s plot: medical representations’

James Whitehead (Speaker)
3 Jul 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

‘Narrative medicine: a critical context’

James Whitehead (Speaker)
3 Jul 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

‘Common Concerns? Literature and Medicine since 1945’

James Whitehead (Speaker)
16 Mar 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

‘Gothic case histories and medical knowledge’

James Whitehead (Speaker)
7 Mar 2012

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

‘The Pathology of Poetry: psychiatry and literature in dialogue’

James Whitehead (Speaker)
24 Oct 2011

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

‘Reason’s Sleep: the idea of poetic madness in early English Romanticism’

James Whitehead (Speaker)
24 Feb 2009

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

Types of Award - Fellowship awarded competitively

AHRC Doctoral Award

James Whitehead (Recipient)
Sep 2007Sep 2009

Activity: OtherTypes of Award - Fellowship awarded competitively

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