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Dr Edmund King

Research Associate, Reading Experience Database

I joined the English Department in February 2010. Originally from New Zealand, I hold MA and PhD degrees in English from the University of Auckland. Before moving to the UK, I worked at the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre at Victoria University of Wellington.

Research Interests

At the Open University, I am responsible for maintaining and adding data to the Reading Experience Database. My primary research area is Reading in the First World War, which involves analysing evidence of reading preserved in a wide range of material: wartime letters, diaries, and official papers as well as later printed memoirs. What role did the circulation of books and letters play in the experience of war? Did mass mobilization change reading practices? What new opportunities did it provide for the circulation of texts and ideologies across national boundaries? I am currently working on a book manuscript, entitled “Captive Audiences? The Reading Lives of British and Australian Prisoners of War, 1914–18,” and an essay collection, co-edited with Shaf Towheed, Reading and the First World War: Readers, Texts, Archives (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2014) I have presented papers on my First World War research at conferences and workshops in Britain, Ireland, Australia, and the United States.

Outside of First World War Studies, I maintain an active research programme in Shakespeare studies, the histories of reading and authorship, and the digital humanities. I am also broadly interested in colonial literature, particularly the role of print and print circulation in the formation of settler and national identities in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century New Zealand and Australia.

Public Engagement

I have worked as an academic consultant for The Open University on two TV programmes: the BBC/RSC/Illuminations/Open University coproduced film of Julius Caesar (BBC4, 2012) and the forthcoming second series of Shakespeare Uncovered, a coproduction between The Open University, Blakeway Productions, and Sky Arts, due for transmission in 2014.


“E. W. Hornung’s Unpublished ‘Diary’, the YMCA, and the Reading Soldier in the First World War,” English Literature in Transition 57, no. 3 (forthcoming 2014).

“‘A Priceless Book to Have out Here’: Soldiers Reading Shakespeare in the First World War,” Shakespeare 10, no. 3 (forthcoming 2014).

(Co-edited with Shaf Towheed), Reading and the First World War: Readers, Texts, Archives (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2014).

‘Books Are More to Me than Food’: British Prisoners of War as Readers, 1914–1918,” Book History 16 (2013): 247–71.

"Cardenio and the Eighteenth-Century Shakespeare Canon,” in David Carnegie and Gary Taylor (eds.) The Quest for Cardenio: Shakespeare, Fletcher, Cervantes and the Lost Play (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 81–94.

Towards a Prehistory of the Gothic Mode in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand Writing,” Journal of New Zealand Literature 28, no. 2 (2010): 35–57.

Fragmenting Authorship in the Eighteenth-Century Shakespeare Edition,” Shakespeare 6, no. 1 (2010): 1–19.

Alexander Turnbull’s ‘Dream Imperial’: Collecting Shakespeare in the Colonial Antipodes,” Script & Print: Bulletin of the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand 34, no. 2 (2010): 69–86.

Alexander Pope’s 1723-25 Shakespear, Classical Editing, and Humanistic Reading Practices,” Eighteenth-Century Life 32, no. 2 (2008): 3–13.

‘Small-Scale Copyrights?: Quotation Marks in Theory and in Practice,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 98, no. 1 (2004): 39–53.

A full list of my publications and conference presentations can be found via Open Research Online.

Edmund King photo

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