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Professor Richard Danson Brown

Profile summary

  • Professor of English Literature
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • richard.d.brown

Professional biography

I was educated at Gosforth High School, the University of Oxford, the University of Durham, and the University of York before joining the OU in 1998. Between 2004 and 2009, I was Director of Level 1 Teaching, and between 2009 and 2012, I was Associate Dean (Curriculum) and Programme Director for the Arts and Humanities. From October 2014 to July 2015, I was Dean and Director of Studies in the Faculty of Arts. I then became interim Executive Dean for the new combined Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, before returning to regular academic life in August 2016 to get back in touch with my teaching and research interests.

Research interests

I am currently working on a book on the literary forms of The Faerie Queene, forthcoming with Manchester University Press. Manchester also published my most recent book, A Concordance to the Rhymes of The Faerie Queene with Two Studies of Spenser’s Rhymes, which I co-wrote and edited with J. B. Lethbridge (for a review see This is the first major study of Spenser's rhymes, as well as a comprehensive research tool which gives the reader access to the full range of rhymes Spenser used in his extraordinary epic. I was academic consultant an interviewee on a programme in The Secret Life of Books series on Spenser, broadcast by the BBC in 2015. Here are some additional materials from that programme:  I have also worked extensively on the poetry and drama of Louis MacNeice. I welcome applications from research students interested in any aspect of sixteenth-century poetry, and those concerned with what my book on MacNeice calls 'the Poetry of the 1930s' - that is, the loose group of writers who shared social and literary connections with MacNeice, and who came to prominence at roughly the same time as him - most famously W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender, but also encompassing many less celebrated figures.

I’ve had some of my own poems published in several magazines. I was an editor of The English Review, a peer reviewed magazine aimed at sixth form students, in which I have published a wide range of articles. I am currently Book Reviews editor for The Spenser Review.


The New Poet - coverLouis MacNeice and the Poetry of the 1930s - coverA Concordance to the Rhymes of The Faerie Queene - cover

Teaching interests

At the OU, I have taught on English and interdisciplinary modules, as well as making contributions to English Language modules produced by FELS. My major achievement has been as Chair of AA100, The Arts Past and Present during the production. It was a privilege to lead a brilliant team of individuals in the creation of this module, which continues to open the door to students to studying the Arts with us. I’ve made significant contributions to AA306, Shakespeare; text and performance; A300, Twentieth-Century Literature; Texts and Debates; A230, Reading and Studying Literature; and the now defunct AA305, The Renaissance in Europe: A Cultural Enquiry. I have written two units (one on As You Like It, one on The Faerie Queene) on A334, English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen. In 2010, I received an OU teaching award in recognition of my outstanding commitment to the teaching of the Arts and Humanities.


[Book Review] Catherine Bates, ed., A Companion to Renaissance Poetry (2018-10)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Spenser Review, 48(3)
Trevor Joyce, Fastness: a Translation from the English of Edmund Spenser (2018-01-31)
Brown, Richard Danson
Spenser Review, 48, Article 14(1)
“And dearest loue”: Virgilian half-lines in Spenser’s Faerie Queene (2018)
Brown, Richard Danson
Proceedings of the Virgil Society, 29 (pp. 49-74)
Call you ’em stanzos? Stanza form and reading poetry (2013-04)
Brown, Richard Danson
The English Review, 23(4) (pp. 32-34)
Review of Richard A. McCabe, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser (2012)
Brown, Richard Danson
Modern Language Review, 107(1) (pp. 271-272)
Reading iambic pentameter (2011)
Brown, Richard Danson
English Review, 22(2) (pp. 34-37)
Book review: Edmund Spenser, Selected Letters and Other Papers, Christopher Burlinson and Andrew Zurcher (eds) (2010-07)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Modern Language Review, 105(3) (pp. 832-834)
Book Review: Gerald Dawe (ed) 'Earth Voices Whispering: An Anthology of Irish War Poetry 1914-1945' (2010-06)
Brown, Richard Danson
Wasafiri, 25(2) (pp. 85-87)
“Modern Bondage” or reading for rhyme (2010-04)
Brown, Richard Danson
The English Review, 20(4) (pp. 2-5)
C Day-Lewis: A Life (2010)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Modern Language Review, 105(4) (pp. 859-860)
Book review: Andrew Zurcher, Spenser's Legal Language: Law and Poetry in Early Modern England (2009-04)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Modern Language Review, 104(2) (pp. 546-548)
W.S. Graham: I Leave This At Your Ear (2008-11)
Brown, Richard Danson
The English Review, 19(2) (pp. 9-12)
Book review: Richard Chamberlain, 'Radical Spenser: Pastoral, Politics and the New Aestheticism' (2008)
Brown, Richard Danson
Yearbook of English Studies, 38(1 & 2) (pp. 268-269)
Andrew Hadfield, ‘Shakespeare and Renaissance Politics’, and ‘Shakespeare, Spenser and the Matter of Britain’ (2008)
Brown, Richard Danson
Yearbook of English Studies, 38(1 & 2) (pp. 269-271)
Book review: John Stubbs, 'Donne: The Reformed Soul' (2008)
Brown, Richard Danson
Yearbook of English Studies, 38(1 & 2) (pp. 272-274)
Book review: Louis MacNeice, ‘Collected Poems’, Peter McDonald (ed) (2008)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Modern Language Review, 103(1) (pp. 213-214)
Neutrality and Commitment: MacNeice, Yeats, Ireland and the Second World War (2005-04)
Brown, Richard Danson
Journal of Modern Literature, 28(3) (pp. 109-129)
'Your thoughts make shape like snow': Louis MacNeice on Stephen Spender (2002-09-22)
Brown, Richard Danson
Twentieth-Century Literature, 48(3) (pp. 292-323)
Concordance to the Rhymes of the Faerie Queene: with two studies of Spenser's Rhymes (2013-12-16)
Brown, Richard Danson and Lethbridge, Julian
The Manchester Spenser
Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester
Louis MacNeice and the Poetry of the 1930s (2009-12-23)
Brown, Richard Danson
Writers and their Work
ISBN : 074631180X | Publisher : Northcote House Publishers Ltd | Published : Tavistock, UK
'Can't we ever, my love, speak in the same language?': everyday language and creative tension in the poetry of Louis MacNeice (2011)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Swann, Joan; Pope, Rob and Carter, Ronald eds. Creativity in Language and Literature: The State of the Art (pp. 39-54)
ISBN : 9780230575608 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Houndmills
‘I would abate the sternenesse of my stile’: diction and poetic subversion in Two Cantos of Mutabilitie’ (2010)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Grogan, Jane ed. Celebrating Mutabilitie: Essays on Edmund Spenser’s Mutabilitie Cantos. Manchester Spenser (pp. 275-294)
ISBN : 9780719082245 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester
Everyman’s progresses: Louis MacNeice’s dialogues with Bunyan (2007)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Owens, W. R. and Sim, Stuart eds. Reception, Appropriation, Recollection: Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Religions and discourse (33) (pp. 147-163)
ISBN : 3039107208 | Publisher : Peter Lang | Published : Oxford, UK
MacNeice in Fairy Land (2006)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Lethbridge, J. B. ed. Edmund Spenser: New and Renewed Directions (pp. 352-369)
ISBN : 838640664 | Publisher : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press | Published : Madison, U.S.A.
His lights are not ours: W. B. Yeats and the wartime poems of Louis MacNeice (2005)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Harte, Liam; Whelan, Yvonne and Crotty, Patrick eds. Ireland: space, text, time (pp. 113-123)
ISBN : 1904148832 | Publisher : Liffey Press | Published : Dublin, Ireland
‘Such ungodly terms’: style, taste, verse satire and epigram in The Dutch Courtesan (2013)
Brown, Richard Danson
Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York, York.