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Profile summary

  • Research Fellow
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Art His, Class St, Eng&CW, Mus
  • English & Creative Writing
  • edmund.king

Professional biography

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? In 2015, I co-edited (with Shaf Towheed) the essay collection Reading and the First World War: Readers, Texts, Archives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), and I am currently working on a book about the reading and writing cultures of First World War British prisoners of war.
Outside of First World War Studies, I maintain an active research programme in Shakespeare studies, the histories of reading and authorship (particularly in the eighteenth century), 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.
Forthcoming and Recent Publications
"Discovering Shakespeare's Personal Style: Editing and Connoisseurship in Eighteenth-Century England," in Canonising Shakespeare: Stationers and the Book Trade, 1640-1735, ed. by Peter Kirwan and Emma Depledge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017).
"Editors," in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare's First Folio, ed. by Emma Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 121-36.
"Radicalism in the Margins: The Politics of Reading Wilfrid Scawen Blunt in 1920," Journal of British Studies 55, no. 3 (2016): 501-18.
(Co-edited with Shaf Towheed), Reading and the First World War: Readers, Texts, Archives (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
“‘A Priceless Book to Have out Here’: Soldiers Reading Shakespeare in the First World War,” Shakespeare 10, no. 3 (2014): 230-44.
“E. W. Hornung’s Unpublished ‘Diary’, the YMCA, and the Reading Soldier in the First World War,” English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920 57, no. 3 (2014): 361-87.
A full list of my publications and conference presentations can be found via Open Research Online.


Teaching interests

I am currently a module team member for A334: English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen, for which I wrote the course book chapters on The Spanish Tragedy and Julius Caesar.

I was also a module team member on AA306: Shakespeare, Texts and Contexts from 2011 until its last presentation in 2015.

In addition to this, I am also currently co-supervising three PhD students at The Open University. I have acted as internal examiner for two Open University PhD theses. 

Impact and engagement

In 2016, I was an academic consultant (with Prof. David Johnson) on the Living Shakespeare project (British Council/BBC World Service).

I have also 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) 
  • The Sky Arts series My Shakespeare (the second series of Shakespeare Uncovered), a coproduction between The Open University, Blakeway Productions, and Sky Arts (Sky Arts, 2014). This series aired under the title Shakespeare Uncovered: Series 2 in the US on PBS in 2015.


Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Book History and Bibliography Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts


Externally funded projects

Reading Communities: Connecting the Past and Present

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Dec/201530/Nov/2016AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council)
‘Reading Communities: Connecting the Past and Present’ addresses the AHRC 10th-Anniversary Follow-On Scheme Highlight Notice, which invites proposals that will ‘enhance engagement with, and impact from, research funded by the AHRC during the first two years after its establishment in 2005’. This project is intended as a follow on from the ‘Reading Experience Database 1800–1945’ (2006–2009), which was funded by a £292,108 Resource Enhancement grant awarded by the AHRC in 2006. This one-year project builds on the success of the Reading Experience Database (RED) to create a series of city-focused reading outreach events. These will include lectures, oral history interviews and community workshops focused on crowdsourcing from participants' diaries or other documents. Activities will take place in Belfast, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London.


Radicalism in the Margins: The Politics of Reading Wilfrid Scawen Blunt in 1920 (2016-07)
King, Edmund G. C.
Journal of British Studies, 55(3) (pp. 501-518)
E. W. Hornung’s unpublished “Diary,” the YMCA, and the reading soldier in the First World War (2014)
King, Edmund
English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 57(3) (pp. 361-387)
“A priceless book to have out here”: soldiers reading Shakespeare in the first world war (2014)
King, Edmund
Shakespeare, 10(3) (pp. 230-244)
“Books are more to me than food”: British prisoners of war as readers, 1914-1918 (2013)
King, Edmund
Book History, 16 (pp. 246-271)
Fragmenting authorship in the eighteenth-century Shakespeare edition (2010-04-13)
King, Edmund G. C.
Shakespeare, 6(1) (pp. 1-19)
Alexander Turnbull's ‘dream imperial’: collecting Shakespeare in the colonial antipodes (2010-04)
King, Edmund
Script and Print: Bulletin of the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand, 34(2) (pp. 69-86)
Towards a prehistory of the gothic mode in nineteenth-century New Zealand writing (2010)
King, Edmund G. C.
Journal of New Zealand Literature, 28(2) (pp. 35-57)
Pope's 1723–25 Shakespear, classical editing, and humanistic reading practices (2008-04)
King, Edmund
Eighteenth-Century Life, 32(2) (pp. 3-13)
“Small-scale copyrights”?: Quotation marks in theory and in practice (2004-03)
King, Edmund
Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 98(1) (pp. 39-53)
Editors (2016-08)
King, Edmund G. C.
In: Smith, Emma ed. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare's First Folio (pp. 121-136)
ISBN : 9781107491687 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge
Cardenio and the Eighteenth-century Shakespeare Canon (2012-09)
King, Edmund G. C.
In: Carnegie, David and Taylor, Gary eds. The Quest for Cardenio: Shakespeare, Fletcher, Cervantes and the Lost Play (pp. 81-94)
ISBN : 978-0-19-964181-9 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford
Narratives about collaborating playwrights: the new bibliography, “disintegration”, and the problem of multiple authorship in Shakespeare (2010-09-01)
King, Edmund
In: Johnson, Laurie and Chalk, Darryl eds. “Rapt in Secret Studies”: Emerging Shakespeares (pp. 249-268)
ISBN : 1-4438-2328-7 | Publisher : Cambridge Scholars Publishing | Published : Newcastle Upon Tyne
Reading and the First World War: Readers, Texts, Archives (2015-08)
Towheed, Shafquat and King, Edmund eds.
New Directions in Book History
ISBN : 9781137302700 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Reading the Great War through Wilfrid Scawen Blunt: J. A. Fallows, MA, and His Copy of My Diaries, 1900–1914 (2011-04-29)
King, Edmund
In : Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing Regional Conference (28-30 April 2011, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
A captive audience? The reading lives of Australian prisoners of war, 1914–18 (2011-02-12)
King, Edmund
In : Open University Book History and Bibliography Research Group Seminars: Reading andthe First World War (12 February 2011, London, UK)
Man of science, man of religion: the reading of a medical missionary in Uganda, 1896-1918 (2011)
King, Edmund C. G.
In : SHARP 2011: The Book in Art and Science (14-17 July 2011, Washington, D.C., USA)
Lewis Theobald, Double Falshood, and the 1733 Works of Shakespeare (2009-05-23)
King, Edmund
In : International Cardenio Colloquium (22-24 May 2009, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Jacob’s Sons in the South Pacific: The Geoeschatology of Edwin Fairburn’s "Ships of Tarshish" (2008-12-12)
King, Edmund
In : Flogging a Dead Horse: Are National Literatures Finished? A Stout Research Centre in the Humanities Conference (10-13 Dec 2008, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
The Shakespearean Book in the Colonial Antipodes: The Case of Alexander Turnbull (2008-10-02)
King, Edmund
In : Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand Conference, 2008 (2-3 Oct 2008, University of Sydney, Australia)
"Fragments minutely broken": text, paratext, and authorship in the eighteenth-century Shakespeare edition (2008-02-08)
King, Edmund
In : Australia and New Zealand Shakespeare Association Conference, 2008 (6-9 February 2008, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)