Professor Henry Power
Associate Dean of Education, Professor
CV for Professor Henry Power
I started life - or academic life, anyway - as a classicist. When I went to Oxford in 1997, it was to study Greek and Latin (or Literae Humaniores, as they insisted on calling it). But I soon realised that what most excited me about ancient texts was the way they had been read and re-made in the modern world. So I switched to Classics and English. After a BA in Classics and English (2001) and an MSt in Greek and Latin Literature (2002), I went to Cambridge to write a PhD on the classical sources of Henry Fielding's great novel, Tom Jones.
Most of my work since then has been concerned with the reception of classical texts and ideas by English (or English-speaking) authors. I have a particular interest in English Literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but I also write about (and teach) recent and contemporary literature; one current research project is on the Homeric translations of Christopher Logue (1926-2011). You can read my recent essay on Logue here.
After leaving Cambridge in 2005 I was briefly a research fellow at the Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition at the University of Bristol. I was then awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, which allowed me to spend time thinking about the reception of the Roman poet Virgil during the English Civil War (there's more on this under Research). Since 2007 I have been teaching at the University of Exeter.
In 2015, I published Epic into Novel, a book which looks at the way classical literature was consumed in the first half of the eighteenth-century. I have recently been commissioned by Oxford University Press to edit the prose works of the eighteenth-century statesman and classicist, Joseph Addison. This edition will be the major focus of my research over the next four years. Addison is best known for writing periodicals such as the Tatler and the Spectator. This edition will present a number lesser known works, in which Addison writes for a general reader about the significance of classical art and literature.
I have been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for the 2018/19 academic year. This will enable me to complete my edition of Addison's prose, while also working with colleagues at the British Museum on some public engagement activities related to Addison's work; this year the British Academy awarded 33 fellowships across the Humanities and Social Sciences.
I have held visiting positions at the Beinecke Library at Yale University and at the Huntington Library in California.In the Trinity (Summer) Term 2019, I will be a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.
- Seventeenth and eighteenth-century literature
- The reception of classical texts and ideas
- Theory and representation of landscape in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
- The early English novel (especially those of Fielding, Richardson, Smollett, and Sterne)
- The poetry of the English civil war
- The epic tradition
- Satire and print culture
Together with my colleague Dr Ika Willis, I organised the workshop ‘Stories of the Novel: Ancient and Modern Narrative Forms’ in 2008 at the University of Bristol.