Staff profile

Dr Erin Lafford

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in English

An image of Erin Lafford reading a book.


English, Creative Writing and Publishing


College of Arts, Humanities and Education



Research centre

Identity, Culture and Representation Research Centre




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in English. My research focuses on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature and culture, and especially on representations of illness, emotion, and environments. I have a special interest in the poetry of John Clare and am currently working on my first monograph John Clare and the Poetry of Illness.

In addition to my research, I also teach on English modules at BA and MA level.

I studied for a BA at the University of Warwick, an MLitt at the University of Glasgow, and completed my DPhil at the University of Oxford.

Teaching responsibilities

Research interests

My research specialties are: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature; Romanticism; John Clare; medical and health humanities; environmental humanities; aesthetics; form; affect and emotions

I am particularly interested in the mental, physical, and emotional experiences that shape the writing and reading of literature, and am currently working on my first monograph, John Clare and the Poetry of Illness. The book explores how Clare drew consistently on poetry as a means of expressing and interpreting experiences of mental and physical disorder, forging connections between what he saw as his pathological idiosyncracies and a wider literary and imaginative culture of illness.

It asks what happens when a poetic interest in illness collides with a personal reality of suffering and demonstrates how Clare's writing consistently makes connections between poetic traditions and individual crises. Showing the importance of attending to labouring-class poets in order to get a fuller picture of Romanticism's imaginative culture of illness, the book argues that few poets are better placed than Clare to consider the vexed relationship between poetry, illness, and exceptionalism in Romantic literature and culture.

I am also in the early stages of a new project on the intersection of landscape aesthetics, ecology, and medical thought in the long eighteenth century provisionally titled The Contagious Picturesque. As part of this research, I am currently writing about the medical, environmental, emotional, and aesthetic implications of 'atmosphere' in the work of William Gilpin.

Membership of professional bodies


Additional interests and activities

I sit on the committee of the John Clare Society, and am Reviews Editor of the John Clare Society Journal.

Recent publications

Edited collection / special issues:

Journal articles and book chapters: