Skip to main content

Dr Melanie Bigold

BA Hons (Manitoba), MA (Toronto), DPhil (Oxford)

Senior Lecturer

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

+44 (0)29 2087 5409
2.16, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


Senior Lecturer in English Literature, whose work focuses on book history and women’s literary history during the late 17th to mid-18th centuries, with a particular interest in the role of the archive, manuscript culture, letters, drama, and life writing. 

My first book explored three of the most interesting and intellectual of the British Enlightenment women: Catharine Trotter Cockburn, Elizabeth Singer Rowe, and Elizabeth Carter. I revisited their manuscript writings alongside their print publications to present a fuller picture of their contributions to the philosophical, religious, and literary debates of their time. I am now completing the first book-length study of women's libraries and book ownership, 1660-1820 as part of a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship. I am also a section editor on the Elizabeth Montagu Correspondence Online (

I co-founded and co-convene the Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar (CRECS -, as well as the interdisciplinary Families,  Identities, and Gender Research Network (FIG).


I completed my undergraduate and masters degress in Canada at the University of Manitoba and University of Toronto, respectively. I majored in English with a minor in Drama during my undergraduate degree and then went on to a masters in Drama at the University of Toronto. I was awarded a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) doctoral fellowship to complete my Dphil at the University of Oxford, where I graduated in 2007. During  2007-08, I was awarded a Postdoctoral SSHRC Fellowship based at the University of Toronto, and was also a Plumer Visiting Fellow at St. Anne's College, Oxford. I joined Cardiff University in Autumn 2008.

I have held visiting fellowships at Chawton House Library, Hampshire, the Huntington Library, California, and a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2019-20).






  • Bigold, M. 2010. Letters and learning. In: Ballaster, R. ed. A History of British Women's Writing: 1690-1750., Vol. 4. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 173-186.



At Cardiff I teach on modules across the curriculum, including literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, drama, and book history.

I have previously held lecturing posts at Jesus and St. Anne's Colleges at Oxford; at the University of Toronto; and have participated in Erasmus teaching exchanges at the University of Oslo and the University of Stuttgart.

Research interests

I have a number of upcoming and/or ongoing research projects:

1. Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2019-20) to complete a monograph and database on Women’s Libraries and Book Ownership, 1660-1820. A short article on this project can be found on the Trust's website here:

2. Section editor for the Elizabeth Montagu Correspondence Online (

3. Joint biography of George Ballard (an antiquarian and historian of learned women) and Elizabeth  Elstob (an early anglo-saxonist and one of the women Ballard 'rediscovered')


I welcome enquiries from potential graduates who would like to pursue research in the following areas: 

  • history of the book;
  • reading and reception studies;
  • manuscript culture (including marginalia and epistolary studies);
  • women's writing and women's  literary history;
  • philosophy, religion and literature in the long eighteenth century;
  • life-writing:
  • dramatic literature, dance, and performance studies;

My primary expertise are in the period 1600-1800, but I also welcome enquiries from students with an interest in all periods of drama, dance, and historical performance studies.

Current supervision

Stephanie Clayton

Research student

Past projects

Current and previous PhD supervision includes:

  • The Emotional and Gendered Importance of Letter Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century in the Epistolary Network of the Canning Family.
  • Eighteenth-Century Patronage
  • The life and writings of Hester Thrale Piozzi
  • Remapping Milton: Place, Space and Influence, 1700-1800
  • Untimely Aesthetics: Shakespeare, Anachronism, and Prescence

Areas of expertise