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Dr Helen Williams

Senior Lecturer

Department: Humanities

Helen received her BA from Northumbria University and her MA from Durham University before returning to Northumbria to complete a PhD in collaboration with the Laurence Sterne Trust at Shandy Hall. She joined the faculty at Northumbria in 2012 where she is now Senior Lecturer in English. She works closely with the Laurence Sterne Trust at Shandy Hall, the National Trust at Seaton Delaval Hall, and organises public engagement events based on eighteenth-century theatre.

Campus Address

Office: Lipman 024


  • English Literature PhD June 24 2014
  • English Literature MA June 30 2009

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Reading Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure against Cleland's life and letters, Terry, R., Williams, H. 1 Apr 2019, In: Eighteenth-Century Life
  • The Publication of Plays in London 1660‐1800: Playwrights, Publishers and the Market. By Judith Milhous and Robert D.Hume. London: British Library. 2015. xxvi + 484 p. £50 (hb). ISBN 978‐0‐7123‐5773‐9., Williams, H. 1 Jun 2019, In: Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
  • A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, Williams, H., Wildgust, P., Rowson, M. 27 Feb 2018
  • Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Williams, H., Terry, R. 23 Jul 2018
  • Advertising Sterne's Novels in Eighteenth-Century Newspapers, Brandzaeg, S., Newbould, M., Williams, H. 1 Nov 2016, In: The Shandean
  • “Alas, poor YORICK!”, Williams, H. 18 Jan 2016, In: Eighteenth-Century Fiction
  • John Cleland and the Marquis of Rockingham: Two New letters, Terry, R., Williams, H. Sep 2014, In: Notes and Queries
  • Christopher Smart and the Lord Crewe Trust: New letters and details, Terry, R., Williams, H. 2013, In: Notes and Queries
  • John Cleland and the Delavals, Terry, R., Williams, H. 2013, In: The Review of English Studies
  • The Delaval family's patronage of Christopher Smart: New evidence, Terry, R., Williams, H. 2013, In: Notes and Queries

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Helen’s research interests broadly lie in eighteenth-century book history, professional authorship and literary heritage, and she is particularly interested in work incorporating digitisation and heritage collaboration. Her publications explore manuscript, print and eighteenth-century authorship whilst interrogating the effects of writers’ relationships with their patrons and publishers on the production of bestselling literary texts.

Helen is Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded ‘Sterne Digital Library’ project, a two-year collaboration between Northumbria, Cambridge University, Cambridge University Library and the Laurence Sterne Trust. The project edits and digitises works inspired by Sterne to examine the dynamic culture of eighteenth-century adaptation. The Sterne Digital Library will be a digital resource platforming Sterne's works alongside Sterneana, allowing users to explore the wider implications afterlives hold in literary culture.

With Clark Lawlor, Allan Ingram, and Leigh Wetherall Dickson, Helen is co-investigator of a three-year Leverhulme-funded project entitled Writing Doctors: Representation and Medical Personality ca. 1660-1832. The project analyses writing by and about doctors and other health practitioners, including midwives, apothecaries, quacks, and cunning-women, during the period in which the English vernacular first became the primary mode of medical communication. The project employs a postgraduate research assistant and a PhD student, and will culminate in an international conference.

Helen’s monograph, with the provisional title Laurence Sterne and the Eighteenth-Century Book, is currently under review. She shares a contract with Richard Terry and Peter Sabor to publish an edition of John Cleland’s correspondence for Cambridge University Press, the result of a project which has been in part funded by the British Academy.


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