Dr Tess Somervell

Dr Tess Somervell


I completed my PhD, on the long poems of John Milton, James Thomson, and William Wordsworth, at the University of Cambridge in 2015. My PhD was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

I then taught at Cambridge and held a Visiting Fellowship at Chawton House Library before joining Leeds in 2016. As Research Fellow and Teaching Fellow I worked on the AHRC-funded project 'British Romantic Writing and Environmental Catastrophe'.

From 2017 I am a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, working on a project titled 'Georgic Climates: Writing the Weather in Eighteenth-Century Poetry'.

Research interests

My research is in literature of the long eighteenth century, particularly poetry.

My doctoral research focused on time in three long poems of the (very) long eighteenth century: Milton’s Paradise Lost, Thomson’s The Seasons, and Wordsworth’s The Prelude.

Under the auspices of the AHRC-funded project ‘British Romantic Writing and Environmental Catastrophe’, I carried out research into representations of the deluge in eighteenth-century and Romantic writing, with a particular focus on Wordsworth. I am interested in how the biblical deluge was reimagined by poets in the light of developments in geological history, ideas about nature, and theories of time.

My work on the deluge feeds into my current project, which is on representations of weather and climate in georgic poetry of the long eighteenth century. I am examining how and why poets used the georgic mode and its conventions for representing the weather to navigate between competing conceptions of nature, notably the theological and the natural philosophical.

<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>


  • PhD (Cantab) English Literature
  • MPhil (Cantab) English Literature
  • MA (Oxon) English Language and Literature

Professional memberships

  • British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
  • British Association for Romantic Studies
  • Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (UK and Ireland)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Student education

I teach modules and supervise projects in eighteenth-century literature, Romantic literature, and environmental humanities, at BA and MA levels.