Nathan Hunt


Summary: Seventeenth century literature: particularly satire, criticism, manuscript and print culture; reception studies; ecocriticism.


Teaching commitments: Level 1: Drama: Reading and Interpretation

Research interests

My principle research interests are in the literary culture of Restoration England. More specifically, my PhD thesis examines the role played by Restoration satire in the development of English literary criticism.

Following the momentous return of Charles II, many writers saw an opportunity to (re)create English literary culture, generating an increasingly self-reflective and critical body of work addressing various aesthetic and ideological issues. By focusing on these issues, my thesis explores how literary criticism arises out of the production and transmission of satirical texts, and argues how satire develops into the dominant medium for critical debate across Restoration poetry, prose and drama.

 I am especially interested in the intertextuality of seventeenth century literature, and how these form networks of textual dialogues in manuscript and print. Restoration literature in particular is consciously self-referential, with writers sharing a critical vocabulary to define theoretical principles they could not always agree on. By observing how satirical texts encompass and intersect this vibrant exchange of ideas, my work demonstrates how satire develops into a self-reflective and intellectual mode of literary debate.

Reception studies forms a major part of my research. This focuses on modern re-appropriations of classical precepts and images and the use of the classics as a model for contemporary learning and knowledge. I also have an interest in translation theory and how this effects modern editions of classical authors.

Principle writers in my research include John Dryden, the Earl of Rochester, Samuel Butler, Mathew Prior, and the Earl of Mulgrave. A significant section of my thesis is dedicated to the early critical essays of Thomas Shadwell, which aims to reassess his influence on English literary theory.