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Dr Susan Valladares

Associate Professor

Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies


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Director of Undergraduate Studies

Office Hour: Term-time, on Tuesdays 10-11 am (via Zoom). Alternative arrangements can also be made (please just send me an email).

Brief Bio:

I studied at the Universities of Oxford (MA; DPhil) and York (MA). After receiving my doctorate, I taught for various colleges at the University of Oxford. I was a Junior Research Fellow at Worcester College (University of Oxford, 2012–2016) and then worked as a Departmental and College Lecturer in English at St Hugh’s College (University of Oxford) before joining Durham University’s Department of English Studies in 2018.


My research interests span the long eighteenth century, with a special focus on:

  • theatre and performance
  • political history
  • slavery and abolition
  • gender
  • autobiographies
  • Romantic-period print culture

My first book, Staging the Peninsular War: English Theatres 1807-1815 (Ashgate/Routledge, 2015/2016) draws upon a range of visual, printed and manuscript sources in order to examine the larger political and ideological axes of Romantic-period performance. It explores how, during the seven vexed years that marked the Peninsular War, the English theatres helped ascribe new urgency to issues such as citizenship, patriotism, and the articulation of national identities. It also provides the first printed ‘Calendar of Plays for Covent Garden, Drury Lane and Bristol Theatre Royal, 1807–1815’.

Other essays of mine have focused on Peninsular War poetry and novels; Romantic-period wartime and post-war theatre; women’s writing; satirical prints; and Anglo-Caribbean exchanges (as listed below).

In 2016, I was one of the principal curators for the Bodleian Library’s successful autumn exhibition, Staging History 1780–1840, which explored how and why in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries ‘history’ became a dominant genre in Britain’s theatrical and musical repertoires. This exhibition generated a number of public outreach initiatives (including an introductory video, gallery tours, and a podcast series (available on iTunes). 

I have held visiting fellowships at the Houghton Library (Harvard), the Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, D.C.) and the Beinecke Library (Yale).

Teaching at Undergraduate Level:

At Durham, I convene 'Romantic Plays and Players' (a Level 2 Seminar Module) and 'Black Lives, pre-1900' (a Level 3 Special Topic Module). I also lecture for various other modules, and supervise dissertations (at undergraduate, MA, and PhD levels).

PhD Supervision:

Durham offers fantastic resources for research into the literature of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I warmly welcome inquiries from potential postgraduate research students working on any aspect of English literature from 1660 to 1830, and especially where your own interests touch upon Romantic-period drama, theatre and performance; writing of the Romantic period in relation to its historical contexts; slavery and abolition; private lives (diaries, letters); book history; and the intersection of literature and visual cultures. At Durham, we work as supervisory teams. I had the pleasure to co-supervise the doctoral research of:

  • Francesco Marchioni (Full-time PhD student, 2019–2023 (Examined January 2023)): ‘Promethean Forms of Grief in the Work of Byron, Shelley and Leopardi’.

I am currently co-supervisor to the following PhD students:

  • Hao Yang Zhang (Full-time PhD student, from January 2024): 'Commercialism, Marriage, and Comic Realism: A Study of Comedy Genre in the "Long Eighteenth Century".'
  • Toby Lucas (Full-time PhD student, 2022 –): '"The life of Napoleon is the epic of our century’: Reconfigurations of Napoleon in Second-Generation Romantic Poetry.'
  • Keerthi Vasishta (Full-time PhD student, 2021 –): ‘Wordsworth and Liberty.’
  • Sheng (Ariel) Yao (Full-time PhD student, Chinese Government Scholarship, 2019 – Thesis submitted December 2023): ‘“A Motion and a Spirit”: William Wordsworth’s, Joanna Baillie’s and Robert Browning’s Dramatic Poetics of Feeling and Passion’.


Research interests

  • Theatre, drama and performance; long eighteenth century; Romanticism; politics; race; visual culture (especially satirical prints); gender

Esteem Indicators

  • 2023: Recipient of Durham University’s Exceptional Contribution Award : Award ‘for making a sustained contribution over and above the normal expectations of your role’
  • 2023: Administrative Roles: Director of Undergraduate Studies Faculty Education Committee (Member) Department Education Committee (Chair) Department Undergraduate Student Staff Consultative Committee (Member) Department Management Group (Member) Department Progression Committee (Member)
  • 2022: Recipient of Durham University’s Discretionary Award Scheme: Award ‘for making a contribution over and above the normal expectations of your role’
  • 2021: Keynote Address: The London Stage and the Nineteenth-Century World III Conference, University of Oxford, April 2021.
  • 2019: Keynote Address: Humour and Satire in British Romanticism Conference, Durham University, September 2019.
  • 2017: Frederick A. and Marion S. Pottle Short Term Fellowship, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library:
  • 2016: W. Jackson Bate/Douglas W. Bryant Fellow at Houghton Library, Harvard College Library:
  • 2016: Short-term Fellowship, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C.:
  • 2016: Co-Curator for the Bodleian Library exhibition ' Staging History, 1780–1840', University of Oxford.: Public engagements included: an interview for a local TV station, gallery tours and podcast recordings. The podcast is freely available online via iTunes: >
  • 2012: Junior (Postdoctoral) Research Fellowship, Worcester College, University of Oxford :


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

Supervision students