Dr Peter Riley

Senior Lecturer in American Literature


Extension: 5300

Telephone: 01392 725300

My research examines nineteenth- through early twentieth-century American poetry and poetics in relation to labour history, critical theory, and archival studies, with developing focuses on race, ethnicity, German-American literature, and cultural ecology. I am also a prize-winning writer of non-fiction.

My first book, Against Vocation: Whitman, Melville, Crane, and the Labors of American Poetry was published by Oxford UP in 2019. I have also published articles in the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, the North American Review, and Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, as well as contributed essays to a number of edited collections including The Cambridge History of American Working-Class Literature (Cambridge UP), and the forthcoming Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition (Cambridge UP), The New Whitman Studies (Cambridge UP), and Understanding Marx, Understanding Modernism (Bloomsbury).

My second book Strandings recently won the inaugural Profile Aitken Alexander Non-Fiction Prize (2020). It is contracted to Profile Books, and forthcoming next year. You can read about it here.

I joined the University of Exeter as Lecturer in American Literature in 2014 after spending two years as Early Career Fellow in American Literature at the University of Oxford. I received my AHRC-funded PhD in June 2012 from the University of Cambridge. I am a co-founder of BrANCA (British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists) and co-organiser of the inaugural BrANCA symposium “Aesthetics/Politics” at the University of Sussex (2013), as well as the third biennial symposium “The Not Yet of the Nineteenth-Century US” (University of Exeter, 2017). I also organised the International Walt Whitman Week at Exeter in 2016.

I'm currently serving as Committee Member, Humanities Rep, and Caseworker for the Exeter Branch of UCU (for any union matters, please contact me on p.riley@exeter.ac.uk). 

My office hours are Mondays 1-2:30 and Fridays 11:30-1