Research Fellow in Society of Authors

University of Leeds School of English

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (Society of Authors)

Do you have a research interest in nineteenth or early-twentieth century print culture and the history of authorship? Would you like to join a team of researchers exploring the origins and early history of the first professional literary association in Britain?

The Incorporated Society of Authors, founded in 1884 by the novelist Walter Besant (and continuing in existence to this day), occupied a prominent place in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century literary culture, attracting widespread attention for its campaigns in defence of ‘literary property’. In addition to the activities of Besant and its management committee, the Society counted many well-known, as well as less familiar, literary figures of the period amongst its membership. This project will examine the early history of the Society of Authors, from its formation in the 1880s through to the beginning of WW1. Within this key period, the project will study how the Society operated as a professional association and the ways in which its role was conceived and contested; examine its under-appreciated role within the history of copyright law and debates on intellectual property; and document the material support which it provided to members. The project will be the first academic study to conduct sustained research on the Society’s large unpublished Archive in the British Library, as well as examining its extensive body of published work.

Your role will be to identify and collate key documentary sources on the Society’s early history, consulting physical and online archives; to support the preparation of a collaborative scholarly history of the Society and an edited anthology of primary sources; to manage the project website and to coordinate associated research events.

Applicants will have a PhD in nineteenth or early-twentieth century literary studies or book history, with a particular interest in authorship, print culture, book history, or literary networks. You will have some experience of archival research, studying nineteenth/early-twentieth century books, periodicals, and manuscripts.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact:

Dr Richard Salmon, School of English, University of Leeds


Location: Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service: Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Cultures
School/Institute: School of English
Category: Research
Grade: Grade 7
Salary: £33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
Working Time: 100%
Post Type: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed Term (for 48 months from 1 October 2020)
Release Date: Friday 17 July 2020
Closing Date: Sunday 16 August 2020
Reference: AHCEN1039