Five Questions: Jeremy Davies on Bodily Pain in Romantic Literature

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Jeremy Davies - Bodily Pain in Romantic Literature

Jeremy Davies is Lecturer in English at the University of Leeds; prior to taking up this post in 2011, he studied and taught at Cambridge, Glasgow and Queen Mary. His research focuses principally on the intersections between Romantic poetry, medical thought, and ecology, and he has published essays and articles on Percy and Mary Shelley, Jeremy Bentham, and sustainability and nostalgia. Below, we discuss his first monograph, Bodily Pain in Romantic Literature, recently published by Routledge. The first thirty pages of this fascinating book can be viewed here.

1) How did you come to work on the history of bodily pain, and how did you select the four authors you concentrate on (Jeremy Bentham, the Marquis de Sade, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Percy Shelley)?

It probably goes back to the first time I opened Prometheus Unbound. I remember being fascinated and a bit revolted by the monologue with which Shelley’s drama begins. Prometheus describes in grisly detail the tortures to which he’s being subjected, and welcomes them as a glorious empire over which he has dominion. I wasn’t sure what …read more