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

  • pastoral care
  • 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


Radio Programmes

School Resource

‘How Texts From the Past Can Shape and Inform the Future’ (2021). Alison Searle was recently featured in a magazine and online article discussing her work and offering guidance to young people interested in textual studies. This article was produced by Futurum, a magazine and online platform aimed at inspiring young people to follow a career in social sciences, humanities and the arts for people and the economy (SHAPE). The article includes a link to an activity sheet for students and teachers.

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). 
  • '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>