History of books and reading

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
October January
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
Application period

The History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) Research Collaboration, based in English & Creative Writing has made major contributions to the subject internationally. Members have published on authorship studies, printing, publishing, textual editing, and the history of reading.

The group’s research interests range from early modern manuscript culture to 21st century digital reading, and from publishing studies to postcolonial book history. HOBAR includes several externally funded projects, including the UK Reading Experience Database, 1450–1945 (UK-RED), which showcases 34,000 records of the reading experiences of British subjects. Recently, members have been involved in the pan-European consortium project, Reading Europe Advanced Data Investigation Tool (READ-IT), developing digital tools to help uncover the hidden histories of reading.

We welcome applications that relate to group members’ research interests. We look for detailed and well-thought-out proposals; which set out specific research questions and outline the originality of your topic or approach.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English

Current/recent research projects

Recently completed PhD projects:

  • Popular genre fiction in Indian writing in English: recent trends in the Indian literary marketplace 
  • James Lackington: reading and the art of self-advancement
  • Conrad’s reading

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £12,146 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £6,073 per year

Some of our research students are funded via the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Old book open on a table

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Dr Molly Ziegler / Dr Ed Hogan
Email: FASS-EnglishCreativeWriting
Phone: +44 (0)1908 652092

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.