Dr Alison Searle

Dr Alison Searle


I joined the University of Leeds as a University Academic Fellow in Textual Studies and Digital Editing in September 2016. I was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020. I am co-general editor of The Complete Correspondence of Richard Baxter (forthcoming in nine volumes with Oxford University Press). I am also working on a book project, Pastoral Care Through Letters in the British Atlantic (for Cambridge University Press). I was an ARC DECRA postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sydney (2012-2016), an AHRC Research Associate on the Complete Works of James Shirley at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge (2008-2012), and a Leverhulme Visiting Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London (2006).


  • School Lead for Equality and Inclusion

Research interests

I am currently working on an AHRC-funded research project: ‘Pastoral Care, Literary Cure and Religious Dissent: Zones of Freedom in the British Atlantic (c. 1630-1720)’. 

  • Religious nonconformity and dissent
  • Renaissance drama
  • Seventeenth-century epistolary culture
  • Transatlantic puritan literary traditions
  • Theories of the imagination
  • Literature and theology 

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to supervise postgraduate students in the following areas:

  • Early modern literature
  • Literature and religion
  • Textual studies and editing
  • Digital humanities
  • Epistolary culture and theory 



‘The Eyes of Your Heart’: Literary and Theological Trajectories of Imagining Biblically (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2008).


Alison Searle and Johanna Harris, gen. eds, The Correspondence of Richard Baxter, 9 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

James Shirley, The Sisters, ed., Alison Searle in The Oxford Complete Works of James Shirley, gen. eds, Eugene Giddens, Teresa Grant and Barbara Ravelhofer, 10 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Alison Searle and Jennifer Young, eds, The AHRC Electronic Old-spelling Edition of the Complete Works of James Shirley gen. eds, Eugene Giddens and Teresa Grant (London: King’s College, 2017).

Online Exhibitions

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel: A Transatlantic Community of Letters (2021). 

Baxter Quatercentenary Exhibition (2015).  


Religious Nonconformity and Performance in Britain (c. 1620-1680) prototype database schema (2014).

Radio Programmes

‘Archives in the Culture Wars’, contributor to BBC Radio 3 Sunday Feature with New Generation Thinker, Dr Tom Charlton, 6 June 2021: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000wslk 

‘The Life and Life of Richard Baxter’, contributor to BBC Radio 3 Sunday feature with New Generation Thinker, Dr Tom Charlton, 15 November 2015: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b06p4s60 

Chapters in Scholarly Collections

‘Compassion, Contingency and Conversion in James Shirley’s The Sisters’, eds, Kristine Steenbergh and Katherine Ibbett, Compassion in Early Modern Literature and Culture: Feeling and Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

‘Bunyan and the Word’, ed., Michael Davies, A Handbook of Bunyan Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). 

Exiles at Home’, eds, Andrew Hiscock and Helen Wilcox, The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Literature and Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). Available at: 

'Performing Religious Nonconformity: Conversion, Debate and the Republic of Letters', eds, A. R. Cross, P. J. Morden & I. M. Randall, Pathways and Patterns in History (London: The Baptist Historical Society, 2015).

Ben Jonson and Religion’, ed., Eugene Giddens, A Handbook of Jonson Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). 

Women, Marriage and Agency in Restoration Dissent’, eds, Sarah Apetrei and Hannah Smith, Religion and Women in Britain, c. 1660-1760 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014). 

Conversion, Incarnation, Performance: Theology and the Future of Imagination’, eds, David Starling and Trevor Cairney, Theology and the Future (London: Bloomsbury, 2014). 

‘Writing Authority in the Interregnum: The Pastoral Letters of Richard Baxter’, eds, Anne Dunan- Page and Clotilde Prunier, Debating the Faith: Religion and Letter-Writing in Great Britain, 1550-1800 (Springer: International Archives of the History of Ideas, 2013).

‘Conversion in James Shirley’s St Patrick for Ireland’, eds, Lieke Stelling, Harald Hendrix and Todd Richardson, The Turn of the Soul: Representations of Religious Conversion in Early Modern Art and Literature (Intersections: Yearbook for Early Modern Studies, Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2012).

‘Narrative, Metaphor and Myth in C. S. Lewis’s testimonial novel Till We Have Faces’ in Oral and Written Narratives and Cultural Identities: Interdisciplinary Approaches, eds, F. C. Fagundes and M. F. Blayer (New York: Peter Lang, 2007).

‘Tolkien and Time: The Fantastic Art of Consolation, Endurance, Escape’, eds, Jan Lloyd et al., Art and Time (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2007).

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

(with Samantha Rayner) ‘C. S. Lewis: Writing and Publishing Literary Criticism with Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press’, Memoires du livre, 10.2 (2019).    

(with Tom Charlton) 'Manuscript and Print in the Late Seventeenth Century: The Case of Morgan Library, MA 4431, British Library, MS Egerton 2570, and Richard Baxter's An end of doctrinal controversies (1691)', The Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society,19.3 (2018), pp. 368-375. 

'"a kind of agonie in my thoughts": writing puritan and non-conformist women's pain in 17th-century England', Medical Humanities 44.2 (2018). 

'Interpreting the Event: Baptism, Networks and Polemic in Commonwealth England', The Seventeenth Century, published online 17 October 2017. 

‘Letters: Emergence, Interaction, Transcendence’, Appositions: Studies in Renaissance/Early Modern Literature & Culture 1 (2008).

“Though I am a stranger to you by face, yet in neere bonds by faith’: A Transatlantic Puritan Republic of Letters’, Early American Literature 43.2 (2008).

‘The Role of Missions in Things Fall Apart and Nervous Conditions’, Literature and Theology 21.1 (2007).

‘The Certainty of the Worlds of Spirits: Richard Baxter’s Prophetic Voice’, The Glass, 19 (2007).

‘Fantastical Fact, Home or Other? The Imagined ‘Medieval’ in C. S. Lewis’, Mythlore: A Journal of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature, 25.3-4 (2007).

‘The Moral Imagination: Biblical Imperatives, Narrative and Hermeneutics in Pride and Prejudice’, Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 59.1 (2006).

‘An Idolatrous Imagination? Biblical Theology and Romanticism in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre’, Christianity and Literature 56.1 (2006).

‘‘My Souls Anatomiste’: Richard Baxter, Katherine Gell and Letters of the Heart’, Early Modern Literary Studies, 12.2 (2006).

‘The Biblical and Imaginative ‘Interiority’ of Samuel Rutherford’, Dalhousie Review 85.2 (2005).

‘Theology, Genre and Romance in Richard Baxter and Harriet Beecher Stowe’, Religion and Literature 37.1 (2005).

‘Biblical Aesthetics and The Pilgrim’s Progress’, Journal of Literature and Aesthetics 14.2 (2004).

‘Which Model? Whose Measure?: Sexuality, Morality and Power in Measure for Measure and Basilicon Doron’, Philament 1.1 (2003).

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA (Honours) in English Literature
  • PhD in English Literature
  • PGCE in Higher Education

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research groups and institutes

  • Textual Histories Research Group
  • Centre for the Comparative History of Print

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>