The Political Work of Richard Brinsley Sheridan



The centrepiece of our project will be a new, four volume edition of Sheridan’s political works, to be published by Oxford University Press by 2020. These speeches will date from 1780–1812 and will include both Parliamentary and extra-parliamentary addresses. We will also include journalism and essays, many available only as manuscripts.

This will be the first such work attempted since the 1816 edition which was produced in haste and with little care, the result being that Sheridan’s extensive and varied editorial and journalist efforts have never been correctly identified or collected. The new edition will also exist online where it will be fully searchable. It will be subdivided as follows:

I - Government, Reform and Finance
II - Colonial Wars and Imperial Governance: America, India and Ireland
III - French Revolution and War with France
IV - Extra Parliamentary Speeches, Political Writings and Appendices

The project will also produce an edited volume of work which will deal more widely with Sheridan’s life or aspects of late eighteenth-century British political, literary or theatrical culture. This volume is provisionally entitled The Age of Sheridan: Politics, Empire and Print 1770-1820.


Our project aims to develop interest and involvement in Sheridan’s life and political work within both the academic community and the general public. To this end a number of Sheridan-themed events will be organised and contributed to by the project staff, including conferences, workshops, and public talks in Leeds, London and Stafford). Read more about our events.


Sheridan was a terrific orator, famous for the power and wit of his speeches, but he worked in a context very different from the present House of Commons. The project is also producing podcasts of some of his best speeches, recorded by modern politicians, academics, and other public figures.

These podcasts aim to make Sheridan’s words more widely available and accessible both to those working within academia and to the general public. Editorial work has been undertaken to make each speech performable, in particular returning them to the first person since most printed versions of Sheridan’s speeches (the largest surviving group) exist only in the third person.

You can download the following podcasts for free below: