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Dr. Sophie Thomas

EducationDPhil (Oxford)
Areas of ExpertiseRomanticism, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, visual studies, and the history of museums and collections


Dr. Thomas joined the English Department at Ryerson in 2009, after previous posts at the University of Sussex in the UK and the University of Toronto. Her research explores the crosscurrents between visual culture, material culture, and literary texts. Her 2008 monograph Romanticism and Visuality: Fragments, History, Spectacle focuses on a variety of "sites" of seeing, and on the impact of new visual media on the literary and historical imagination. She has published articles and book chapters on a variety of topics related to Romanticism and visual culture, and is currently completing a SSHRC-funded research project on objects, collections and museums in the Romantic period, called The Romantic Museum: Antiquity, Memory, Modernity – and beginning a new funded program of research, under the title “Vital Matter(s): Romanticism, Museums, and the Poetics of Sculpture.” She is also co-editing The Edinburgh Companion to Romanticism and the Arts and a special issue of Museum and Society, “On the Properties of Things: Collective Knowledge and the Objects of the Museum.”

Selected Recent Publications:

“‘With a master’s hand and prophet’s fire’: Blake’s Illustrations for ‘The Bard,’” Romanticism and Illustration, ed. Susan Matthews and Ian Haywood (Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 47-69.

“A ‘strange and mixed assemblage’: Sir John Soane, Archivist of the Self,” Studies in Romanticism 57:1 (Spring, 2018), pp. 121-142. 

“Vital Matter(s): Shelley, Herder, and Sculpture,” European Romantic Review 29:3 (May, 2018), pp. 377-387.

“Word and Image,” The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, ed. David Duff (Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 625-642.

“Pompeii, the Body, and the Imprint of the Ancient World,” Word & Image 33:3 (September, 2017), pp. 303-312. 

“Collecting, Cultural Memory, and the Regency Museum,” Regency Revisited, ed. Tim Fulford and Michael E. Sinatra (Palgrave, 2016), pp. 159-175.

“Collection, Exhibition, and Evolution: The Romantic Museum,” in Romantic Evolutions, ed. Joshua Lambier and Joel Faflak. Literature Compass 13/10 (2016) pp. 681-690.
(Wiley Online Library), external link

 “Painting, Spectacle, and the Visual,” William Wordsworth in Context, ed. Andrew Bennett (Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 300-307.

“Representing Paris: History and Actuality at the London Panoramas,” in Romantic Circles, Praxis Series, Theresa Kelley and Jill Casid, ed., Visuality’s Romantic Genealogies (University of Maryland, 2014). 30 pages., external link

“Feather Cloaks and English Collectors: Cook’s Voyages and the Objects of the Museum,” in Eighteenth-Century Thing Theory in a Global Context: From Consumerism to Celebrity Culture,” ed. Ileana Baird and Christina Ionescu (Ashgate, 2013), pp. 69-87.

“Distraction and Display: The Curiosity Cabinet and the Romantic Museum,” Contemporary Collecting: Objects, Practices, and the Fate of Things, ed. David Banash and Kevin Moist (Rowman & Littlefield/Scarecrow Press, 2013), pp. 195-212.

“Visual Culture,” Handbook to Romanticism Studies, ed. Joel Faflak and Julia M. Wright (Blackwell, 2012), pp. 87-103.

“Displaying Egypt: Archaeology, Spectacle, and the Museum in the Early Nineteenth Century,” The Nineteenth Century Archaeological Imagination, ed. Alex Warwick and Martin Willis. Special issue of Journal of Literature and Science 5:1 (Fall, 2012), pp. 6-22. 

“Poetry and Illustration: ‘Amicable Strife’” in A Companion to Romantic Poetry, ed. Charles Mahoney (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), pp. 354-373.

Romanticism and Visuality: Fragments, History, Spectacle (New York: Routledge, 2008), external link