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 of Textual Studies in 2020. Prior to coming to Leeds, 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).

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 



  • Alison Searle, Pastoral Care through Letters in the British Atlantic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023).
  • Alison Searle and Johanna Harris, eds, The Puritan Literary Tradition (Oxford University Press, in press).
  • Alison Searle, ‘The Eyes of Your Heart’: Literary and Theological Trajectories of Imagining Biblically (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2008).


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

<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>