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Ben Wilkinson-Turnbull is a research associate on the AHRC-funded project ‘Shaping Scholarship: Early Donations to the Bodleian Library’. He is also a fourth year DPhil student, Clarendon, and Graduate Development Scholar in English at the University of Oxford. His doctoral research focuses on the materiality of women’s texts between 1580 and 1760. By comparing the material forms (paper, fabric, stone, metal, and hybrids of the above) used to produce and circulate their works to those of their male contemporaries, his thesis demonstrates the under-appreciated aesthetic complexity of women's writing, explores new forms of textual transmission, and aims to improve our understanding of how form affects meaning.
Much like the work of ‘Shaping Scholarship’, intersecting questions of the use and ownership of books, their provenance, and the history of libraries, are at the heart of his research. Ben’s first article, a study of reading practices, essay writing, and post-print manuscript editing by women writers appeared in The Review of English Studies. With Prof. Helen Smith, he is also currently editing 'The Material Book' section of The Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Early Modern Women’s Writing, for which he is also writing several biographies and chapters on digital materiality and epitaphs. Alongside his work as a feminist literary historian, Ben is a contributing editor to The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift working on his later political writings. He is also a practicing poet, with work published in The North.
Before joining CELL in 2022, Ben worked as a Research Assistant on number of projects, including Prof. Ros Ballaster's “Opening the Edgeworth Papers” and Dr Julia Smith’s The Oxford Traherne. He has also interned on Elizabeth Montagu Correspondence Online, a collaborative digital project based between Oxford Brookes and Swansea.
Ben has taught widely on literature written between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. At Oxford, he is currently a lecturer in English at St Anne’s and on Lady Margaret Hall’s ground-breaking foundation year. Prior to studying at Oxford for his degrees, Ben attended a state school in Leeds. He is a proud working class, northern, queer, first generation academic.