Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Yr Athro Bill Bell

Yr Athro Bill Bell


+44 (0)29 2087 5621
2.42, Adeilad John Percival , Rhodfa Colum, Caerdydd, CF10 3EU


My research is focussed on English Literature. I am a member of the Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research.

Additional publications

Co-editor, The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle, volumes 19-23 (Duke University Press, 1993-96)

 ‘Critical Opinion: The Function of Arnold at the Present Time’, Essays in Criticism (July 1997)

‘Print Culture in Exile’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada (Spring 1999)

‘Victorian Paratexts’, Victorian Literature and Culture, (Spring 1999)

Joint Editor, Across Boundaries: The Culture and Commerce of the Book (Oak Knoll, 1999)

‘Bound for Australia: Shipboard Reading in the Nineteenth Century’, Journeys through the Market, edited by Robin Myers and Michael Harris (British Library, 1999)

‘Matthew Arnold’, Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, volume 4 (2000)

‘Beyond the Death of the Author’, Book History 3 (2000)

Joint Editor, Nineteenth Century Media and the Construction of Identities (Palgrave, 2000)

‘From Grub Street to Parnassus: Matthew Arnold and the House of Macmillan’, Macmillan: A Publishing Tradition, edited by Elizabeth James (Palgrave, 2001)

 ‘Bound for Botany Bay; Or, What did the Nineteenth Century Convict Read?', Against the Law, ed. Myers & Harris (British Library, 2004)

‘George Murray Smith’[founder of the DNB], Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2005) 

'The Scottish Book Trade at Home and Abroad’, Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature, volume 2 (Edinburgh University Press, 2006)

‘Reading between the Lines: Literature on the Western Front 1914-1918’, Journal for the Study of British Cultures (2007)

 ‘What was Book History?’ Modern Intellectual History (November 2007)

Editor: The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, volume 3: Industry and Ambition 1800-1880 (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)

General Editor: The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, volume 4: Diversity and Professionalism 1880-2000 (Edinburgh University Press, November 2007)

 ‘A Place in the World: Britain and the International Book Trade’, Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, volume 6 (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

‘Crusoe’s Books: The Scottish Emigrant Reader in the Nineteenth Century’, The History of the Book in the West, IV: 1800-1914, eds. S. Colclough and A. Weedon (Ashgate, 2010)

'Commentary: Selkirk’s Silence’, Times Literary Supplement (March 2011)

General Editor: The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, volume 2: Enlightenment and Expansion (Edinburgh University Press, 2012)

‘Signs Taken for Wonders: An Anecdote Taken from History’, New Literary History (Spring 2012)


Bill Bell founded the Centre for the History of the Book at The University of Edinburgh in 1995, of which he was Director until 2012. He has held visiting posts at The Australian National University, The University of Ottawa, and St John's College, Oxford, Jadavpur University, and The University of Göttingen.

He is a member of the Council of The Bibliographical Society and from 2008-2014 was Editor of the Society's quarterly, The Library: Transactions of the Bibliographical Society. He has served on the advisory boards of a number of organisations, including the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP) and the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP). He is one of three editors of Palgrave Studies in the History of Media and has served on the advisory boards of several publications, including the American annual Book History.




















Bill Bell specialises in nineteenth-century literature and culture and has written extensively on the sociology of the text, the history of the book, and theories of cultural production. He was for several years a member of the editorial team of the Duke-Edinburgh edition of The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle (vols 19-24) and is general editor of the Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland (4 vols, Edinburgh University Press), of which he was also editor of volume 3, Industry and Ambition, 1800-1880 (2007). 

He is joint author of Travels into Print: Exploration, Writing and Publishing 1760-1860 (forthcoming from University of Chicago Press) and is completing Crusoe's Books: Journeys through the Textual Imagination, a study of itinerant reading communities.

Research interests

I would welcome enquiries from potential graduates who intend to pursue research in the areas of bibliography, book history, and the history of reading, particularly relating to the nineteenth century. I also have ongoing interests in theories of cultural production, utopian writing, literature and religion, the history of English studies, and the works of Matthew Arnold.


Past projects