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, drama, and life writing. 


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 taught on an Erasmus exchange at the University of Oslo, Norway (teaching masters modules in the History of the Book).

I have also held visiting fellowships at Chawton House Library, Hampshire, and the Huntington Library, California.






  • 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.



I have held lecturing  posts at St. Anne'™s and Jesus Colleges (Oxford) and the University of Toronto.  At Cardiff I teach on modules across the curriculum, including literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, drama, and book history.

Research interests

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

1. Leverhulme 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 here:

2. Silent Witnesses: What Annotated Playbooks Can Tell Us About The History of Reading, Collecting and Using Books; 

3. a 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  also co-founded and co-convene the Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar (CRECS - and the interdisciplinary Families,  Identities, and Gender Research Network (FIG)


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