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

I have research interests in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature; Romanticism; medical and health humanities; environmental humanities; aesthetics; form; affect and emotions; ethics; critical and cultural theory; psychoanalysis.

I am currently working on my first monograph, John Clare and the Poetry of Illness. This is the first book-length study of how Clare drew consistently on poetry as a means of expressing and interpreting experiences of mental and physical suffering, forging connections between what he saw as his subjective idiosyncracies and a wider literary and imaginative culture of illness. It explores the thoughtful connections Clare made between symptoms and/as poetic technique, and offers especially a more expansive study of illness as a site of poetic self-fashioning and formal experiment for Clare beyond the context of the asylum.

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 identity in Romantic literature and culture.

Other projects include an interest in the intersection of landscape aesthetics, ecology, and medical thought in the long eighteenth century, for which I have explored the medical, environmental, emotional, and aesthetic implications of 'atmosphere' in the work of William Gilpin. I am also in the early stages of a new project on the form and feeling of care in long eighteenth-century literature, which aims to consider how writers in this period explored the literary possibilities of care at the intersection of ethics, affect, and aesthetics.

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: