Staff profile

Dr Anna Burton


Lecturer in English Literature

Anna Burton reading a book in a forest setting


English; Creative Writing and Publishing


College of Arts, Humanities and Education







I am a Lecturer in English Literature. My research is concerned with environmental perception and writing about nature in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I co-lead the 'Romantic Trees: The Literary Arboretum, 1740-1840' project and the interdisciplinary 'Tree Talks' seminar series with Dr Amanda Blake Davis.

Teaching responsibilities

Research interests

My primary research is concerned with eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature and is engaged within the environmental humanities more broadly. I have a particular interest in the literary representations of trees and arboreal space, the 'Picturesque' writings of William Gilpin, the nineteenth-century novel, and nature and natural history writing.

My first monograph, Trees in Nineteenth-Century English Fiction: The Silvicultural Novel, was published in March 2021 with Routledge's Environmental Humanities Series. This is a book about a longstanding network of writers and writings that celebrate the aesthetic, socio-political, scientific, ecological, geographical, and historical value of trees and tree spaces in the landscape; and it is a study of the effect of this tree-writing upon the novel form in the long nineteenth century.

My current research project is focused on literary and cultural representations of trees, tree-planting, and arboreal caretaking in the English Lake District. Using long nineteenth-century Lakeland literature (Wordsworth, Martineau, Ruskin, and Potter) and contemporary place writing (Rebanks and Monbiot) that explores the planting, transplanting, and caretaking of trees as its focus, this is the first environmental humanities study to explore the tensions and intersections surrounding arboreal specimens and spaces in this agropastoral region. In doing so, this work responds to the pressing political and environmental need to balance tree-planting (for biodiversity and flood defences) alongside agricultural practices and traditions. As part of this research, and as a BARS/Wordsworth Trust Research Fellow for 2022, I am currently collaborating with The Wordsworth Trust on an exhibition on Wordsworthian responses to tree-planting (2023, date TBC).

I am also a co-lead on the forthcoming project 'Romantic Trees: The Literary Arboretum, 1740-1840' with my colleague, Dr Amanda Blake Davis.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

Recent publications