photo of Richard Adelman

Dr Richard Adelman

Post:Senior Lecturer (English)
Other posts:Director of Doctoral Studies (School of English)
Location:ARTS B B262

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 873460
International:+44 1273 873460

Research expertise:
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I came to Sussex in 2012 having previously held teaching and research posts at York, UCL, Edinburgh and Dundee.

My work to date has focused on reconstructing literary and cultural oppositions to laissez-faire economics across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In this vein I have written two books on the concepts of idleness, repose and aesthetic consciousness. The first of these, Idleness, Contemplation and the Aesthetic, 1750-1830, was published by Cambridge University Press in hardback in 2011, and in paperback in 2014. It examines the resonances of idle contemplation in nascent political economy, in penal and educational reform debates, in the lyric poetry and travel writing of Romanticism, and in the mature cultural theory of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The second, Idleness and Aesthetic Consciousness, 1815-1900, will also be published by Cambridge Universty Press in 2018. It explores the changing significances of aesthetic idleness across second-generation Romanticism, the political economy of David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus and John Stuart Mill, the ideology of the 'gospel of work', mid-century meditative poetry, high Victorian cultural theory, and the period's gothic and vampire fiction. Together these books chart the growth, transformation and then demonisation of a widespread positive conception of idle contemplation, which reaches its high-point in the early years of the nineteenth century.

I am also the editor, with my colleague Catherine Packham, of Political Economy, Literature and the Formation of Knowledge, 1720-1850 (New York: Routledge, 2018), and the author of shorter pieces on the thought of such figures as Dante Rossetti, John Ruskin, William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, John Keats and J. M. Coetzee.

My current project draws out for the first time the pertinence of humanities-based economic thought for present policy agendas. It will see me work in partnership with Green House thinktank, collaborate with economists and other social scientists to build a new multi-disciplinary model of economic expertise, and also produce a monograph - The Economic Moment - radically recontextualizing the birth of political economy in French and Scottish Enlightenment thought.



I have previously supervised postgraduate work on topics such as the afterlife of 'negative capability' in Victorian thought, and Romantic and Regency Orientalisms. My current doctoral students are working on mental health and the environment in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century thought, and late eighteenth-century dissenting culture.

I welcome applications from doctoral students on all aspects of late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature and culture, including but not limited to the following areas: theories of labour, idleness and contemplation; German Idealism in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain; Scottish Enlightenment philosophy; the gothic across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; Marxism, communism and proto-communisms; political economy and its oppositions; primitivism and primitivist thought in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century contexts.