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Dr Anna Mercer

Dr Anna Mercer


2.05, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU


I am a Romanticist, interested in literary relationships, women writers, and manuscript studies (1770-1830). I completed my AHRC-funded doctorate at the University of York in 2017. Prior to my PhD I've studied at the University of Liverpool and Jesus College, University of Cambridge.

My first monograph is published by Routledge and is entitled The Collaborative Literary Relationship of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (2019). This book is the inaugural text in the new series ‘Routledge New Textual Studies in Literature’.

My current research projects include:

  • Editing the selected works of Mary Shelley for OUP.
  • Co-editing with Professor Cian Duffy the Shelleys' History of a Six Weeks' Tour for OUP.
  • A collaborative project with Professor Nora Crook and Dr Bysshe Coffey to edit and publish the only notebook containing Percy Bysshe Shelley's hand that has not appeared in facsimile print edition: MSS 13,290 in the Library of Congress.
  • Co-editing a special issue of Romanticism with Dr Amanda Blake Davis with papers from The Shelley Conference 2022 #Shelley200:

I am involved in the following projects alongside my research and teaching as a Lecturer at Cardiff:

  • I work with Keats House in Hampstead, where I am working on a collaborative project grant, including a forthcoming exhibition, called 'Young Romantics in the City' (funded by Innovation for All), and I support their events programme.
  • I am the Communications Officer for the British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) and I previously worked on the BARS Digital Events series 2020-22. 
  • I am on the committee for the project 'The Year of Gothic Women'. 
  • I was the lead organiser of Cardiff BookTalk 2020-22 and I was the Director of Communications for the Keats-Shelley Association of America (K-SAA) from 2017-22.

Publications: monographs

Mercer, Anna. The Collaborative Literary Relationship of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (London: Routledge, 2019).

Publications: essays and chapters 

Mercer, Anna. ‘Mary Shelley’ in Percy Shelley in Context ed. Ross Wilson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

---.‘Collaboration and the first Frankenstein of 1818’ in Nineteenth Century Literature in Transition: The 1810s ed. Emma Mason (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

---.‘Mary Shelley’s Italian Scenes’ in Mary Shelley in/and Europe; Essays in Honour of Jean de Palacio ed. Antonella Braida Laplace (Cambridge: Legenda, 2020), 90-102.

---.‘“Writing reading & walking”: The Shelleys in 2019’ in The Keats-Shelley Review, Vol. 33, No. 1 (2019), 18-24.

---. ‘Rethinking the Shelleys’ Collaborations in Manuscript’ in The Keats Shelley Review, Vol. 31, No. 1 (2017), 49-65.

---. ‘Beyond Frankenstein: The Collaborative Literary Relationship of Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley’ in The Keats-Shelley Review, Vol. 30, No. 1 (2016), 80-85.

---. ‘“What aspect wears the soul within?”: Sara Coleridge and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Poetical Connections, and the Image of Childhood’ in The Coleridge Bulletin, New Series 41 (Summer 2013), 85-96.

Co-authored/co-edited volumes

Anna Mercer and James Grande (eds.) The Keats Shelley Review: The Shelley Conference Special Issue, Vol. 33, No.1.

I've also written several reviews and articles for online publications including the British Association for Romantic Studies, the Keats-Shelley Association of America, Romantic Circles, Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition, Romantic Textualities, the University of York, the City of London, and The Romanticism Blog (Wordsworth Grasmere). 


I joined ENCAP in October 2018. I have previously taught in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York.

Honours and awards

  • Innovation for All Project Grant 2022, working with Keats House Museum.
  • Keats-Shelley Essay Prize (Runner-up) 2015 for the essay ‘Beyond Frankenstein’. 
  • Awarded AHRC Travel Award Scheme grant to travel to the USA to study manuscripts in Washington D.C. and New York City, October/November 2015.
  • Recipient of BARS Stephen Copley Postgraduate Research Award 2015 for the same research trip as above.
  • Recipient of a full AHRC Doctoral Award.
  • Essay entitled ‘Shelley and Mary in 1816’ shortlisted for the Keats-Shelley Prize 2012.
  • Awarded Jesus College University of Cambridge Graduate Scholarship 2012.

Speaking engagements

Recent and forthcoming conference papers 

  • ‘Shelley’s Beatrice Cenci as Romantic Heroine – Then and Now’, Invited Speaker at the P. B. Shelley’s Contemporaneity/ies conference, Bologna and Ravenna, 20-22 October 2022.
  • ‘Teaching Gothic Women’, Roundtable at BARS/NASSR Conference ‘New Romanticisms’, Edge Hill University, 2-5 August 2022.
  • ‘Mary Shelley and a new History of a Six Weeks’ Tour (1817 in 2022)’, BARS/NASSR Conference ‘New Romanticisms’, Edge Hill University, 2-5 August 2022.
  • ‘The Shelleys’ early travels in France, Switzerland, Germany and Holland’, British Romanticism and Europe, Ascona, Switzerland, 23-26 June 2022.
  • ‘Mary Shelley, John Keats and Romantic Circles’, Keynote Address, The Keats Bicentenary Conference 2022, London, 20-22 May 2022.
  • 'Romantic interaction in London: Hazlitt, Keats and the Shelleys’, The Hazlitt Day School, 18 September 2021.
  • ‘The Inkstand Used by Percy Bysshe Shelley’, Dreaming Romantic Europe: Romantic Authorship, Ravenna, 18-19 October 2019.
  • Keats House, Hampstead’, Dreaming Romantic Europe: Romantic Authorship, Ravenna, 18-19 October 2019.
  • ‘Mary Shelley’s Valperga and its connections with Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Julian and Maddalo, 16th BARS International Conference ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies’, 25-28 July 2019.
  • ‘Keats and the Shelleys’, Keats Bicentenary Conference 2019, Keats House, Hampstead, 17-19 May 2019.
  • The Shelleys’ Frankenstein review notebook: a discussion of MSS 13, 290 in the Library of Congress’, ‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 1818-2018: Circuits and Circulation’, University of Bologna, Italy, 19-21 September 2018.
  • ‘The Shelleys’ collective working as evidence of collaboration in Italy, 1818-22’, The Shelley Conference 2017, Institute of English Studies, 15-16 September 2017.
  • ‘Mary Shelley’s role in the construction of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s prose 1814-1817: The Assassins and History of a Six Weeks’ Tour’, 15th BARS International Conference ‘Romantic Improvement’, University of York, 27-30 July 2017.
  • ‘Childhood and the Poetical Dialogue of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Sara Coleridge’, The Coleridge Summer Conference, University of Bristol, 1-5 August 2016.
  • ‘Beyond Frankenstein: how else did the Shelleys collaborate in 1816?’, ‘Summer of 1816: Creativity and Turmoil’ Conference, University of Sheffield, 24-27 June 2016.
  • ‘Rethinking the Shelleys’ Collaborations in Manuscript’, BARS Early Career and Postgraduate Conference ‘Romantic Voices, 1760-1840’, University of Oxford, 22-23 June 2016.
  • ‘Expanding perceptions of the Shelleys’ community: Epipsychidion and “The Bride of Modern Italy”’, ‘Community and its Limits, 1745-1832’ Conference, University of Leeds, 4-5 September 2015.
  • ‘“Such a strong echo in my mind and heart”: Sara Coleridge’s poems to her father’, 14th BARS International Conference ‘Romantic Imprints’, Cardiff University, 16-19 July 2015.
  • ‘“Thou hast a voice, great Mountain”: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and the literary collaboration of 1816’, 44th BSECS Annual Conference ‘Riots, Rebellions and Revolutions’, St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, 6-8 January 2015. [Panel organised: ‘Engaging creativity: interactions between texts and authors towards the end of the long eighteenth century’.]
  • ‘“Dreadful or beautiful realities”: Mary Shelley and perceptions of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Julian and Maddalo, BSECS Postgraduate and Early Career Conference, ‘Encounters’, University Ca’ Foscari, Venice, 23-24 July 2014.
  • ‘The origin of the Shelleys’ literary relationship in 1814’, ‘Romantic Origins’ Conference, University of Sheffield, 5 April 2013.
  • ‘Coleridge and his children: the conflicts of literary influence’, ‘Conflict and Catastrophe in the Long Eighteenth Century’ Conference, University of Cambridge, 21-22 April 2012.

Public and research talks

  • Panellist, ‘Shelley200: Shelley and Travel’, Research Roundtable (online), 5 May 2022.
  • ‘The Shelleys’, Research Seminar, Lancaster Words (online) (with Professor Sharon Ruston) 25 February, 2022.
  • ‘Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley as collaborators’, Romanticism Research Seminar, Balliol College, University of Oxford, 9 November 2021.
  • ‘Gothic Women and Self-Sacrifice in Italy: Why we need to reread Mary Shelley’s Valperga’, Gothic Women: Mary Shelley Beyond Frankenstein, 30 August 2021 (online).
  • 'Keats v Shelley', public talk for Keats House Museum, 23 July 2021 (online).
  • ‘Mary Shelley’s hand in the manuscripts of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron’, public talk for the Byron Society, 13 May 2021 (online).
  • ‘Reflections on RÊVE in the museum’, Dreaming Romantic Europe: ‘Romantic Media’, 29 June 2020 (online).
  • ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’, public talk for Keats House, July 2020 (online).
  • Carmilla for ‘Cardiff BookTalk’, public talk at Cardiff University, 3 February 2020. 
  • ‘Manuscripts as Evidence of Collaboration: The Shelleys in 1819’, research talk at Cardiff University Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, 19 November 2019. 
  • 'New Directions in the Field of Eighteenth Century and Romantic Studies', research talk at Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar, Cardiff University, 14 October 2019.
  • ‘Women Writers of the Romantic Period’, public talk at Keats House, July 2019.
  • ‘The Younger Romantics: Byron and the Shelleys’, educational lecture for visiting students at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge, May 2019. 
  • ‘Why is Romanticism Relevant Today?’, public talk at Keats200 launch at Keats House, 1 December 2018.
  • Mary Shelley’ public talk at ‘Cardiff BookTalk’. Part of the international event ‘Frankenreads’. 29 October 2018. 
  • ‘Shelley’s Creation’, manuscript workshop and public talk at the event ‘Living Frankenstein’ on 23 May 2018 at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Repeated at Keats House on 31 October 2018. 
  • ‘Beyond Frankenstein: The Writings of Mary Shelley’, public talk at the University of York, 8 March 2017. International Women’s Day celebration event.
  • ‘Creative tension: the post-Frankenstein collaboration of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’, Romantic Realignments Seminar, University of Oxford, 6 March 2014. Paper also given at University of York Postgraduate Forum, Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, 25 February 2014.

Conferences organised and forthcoming 

2023 'The Year of Gothic Women', location TBC, co-organiser.

2022 ‘The Shelley Conference 2022’, Keats House, London, co-organiser.

2017 ‘The Shelley Conference 2017’, Institute of English Studies, London, lead organiser.

2015 ‘Difficult Women 1680-1830’, Humanities Research Centre, University of York, co-organiser.

2012 ‘Conflict and Catastrophe in the Long Eighteenth Century’, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, co-organiser.

Selected events organised 

July 2022: The Bicentenary of Shelley's Death in Italy - a global reading of The Triumph of Life in 15 languages, and a round-table discussion about Shelley’s final days featuring scholars and poets. Organised with Prof Neil Fraistat and Dr Giuseppe Albano. 

2020-2022 Lead organiser, Cardiff BookTalk.

2020-2022 Co-organiser, BARS Digital Events. 

2019-2022 Co-organiser, Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar (CRECS).

2018-present Keats House Museum #Keats200 public events (primarily academic talks).

2016 ‘On This Day in 1816: The Bicentenary of the Composition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’. The Keats-Shelley House, Rome, and the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York, July 2016. Reprised at Chawton House Library, November 2016.

2014-15 Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies Postgraduate Forum, University of York, co-chair.

Interviews, media and other public engagement

  • Ambassador for Keats House at The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere. Site and archival visit, December 2018.
  • Interview for the AHRC website: ‘Why Frankenstein still stalks readers 200 years later’, March 2018.
  • Interviewee on the Chawton House Library podcast, January 2017.

Committees and reviewing

  • Reviewer of articles submitted for publication in The Keats-Shelley Review (2020).
  • Reviewer of articles submitted for publication in the European Romantic Review (2020).
  • Reviewer of papers submitted for publication in the American Journal of Political Science (2017).
  • Blog Editor/Communications Officer, British Association for Romantic Studies Executive Committee (2016-present).
  • Editor of the University of York poetry journal Eborakon (2015-2017). Assistant Editor and founding team member (2013-2015).



I have taught on the following modules

Undergraduate teaching:

  • 'Bluestockings, Britannia and Unsex'd Females: Women in Public Life 1770-1800'
  • 'Fictive Histories/Historical Fictions'
  • 'Jane Austen in Context'
  • 'Romanticism, Politics, Aesthetics'
  • 'Second-generation Romantic Poets'
  • 'Introduction to Romantic Poetry'
  • 'Romantic Circles: Collaboration, Radicalism and Creativity 1770–1830'
  • Dissertation

Postgraduate teaching:

  • 'Narrative and Nation: Politics, Gender, History, 1780-1830'
  • Research Methods
  • Dissertation

My research focuses primarily on the writings of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

My PhD thesis (University of York, 2017) is a reassessment of the literary relationship and instances of creative collaboration between the Shelleys. I establish that their written works are profoundly influenced by and constructed through their intellectual exchange. Spoken discussions can never be recovered, but the evidence provided in the Shelleys’ writings, manuscripts, and non-fiction allows informed inferences to be made about how their compositions are inter-related. Recent studies in Romanticism have shown a marked interest in the significance of collective creativity: Percy and Mary Shelley have the potential to provide one of the most intriguing examples of this paradigm.

My analysis reveals the reciprocity of a relationship that in popular culture - including much of the discourse surrounding the Frankenstein manuscript - is often misrepresented as that of a patriarchal husband exerting intellectual dominance over his wife. My research explores how the Shelleys’ collaboration goes beyond Frankenstein. I also emphasise the reciprocity of the Shelleys’ literary relationship, by further establishing how Mary was able to contribute ideas to (and critique) Percy's works, both during his lifetime and as his widow. Archival and intertedxtual study enables a voyage through the corpus of the Shelleys, finding evidence of their textual practices of reading, writing, and copying. I suggest that by reading Percy's and Mary's works in parallel, and examining their extant manuscripts, we can make informed suppositions; this method crucially pays attention to biographical details in order to gauge how their shared lives (and specifically, their shared travels) influence their texts, as opposed to the texts revealing truths about their lives.

Following my PhD research I have continued to study the Shelleys and I am currently working on two editing projects with Oxford University Press Mary Shelley: Selected Writings and (with Professor Cian Duffy) History of a Six Weeks' Tour. I have also been working on a collaborative project with Professor Nora Crook and Dr Bysshe Coffey to publish the only notebook containing Percy Shelley's hand that has not appeared in facsimile print edition: MSS 13,290 in the Library of Congress. In my future research I am hoping to examine other women writers of the Romantic period - I am particularly interested in women’s self-education from 1770-1830. I’m also thinking about the works of other canonical Romantic writers with regards to creative collaboration (especially S T Coleridge and his poet-children, William Hazlitt, John Keats, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft).


Past projects