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Dr James Castell

Dr James Castell


School of English, Communication and Philosophy

+44 (0)29 2087 5410
2.05, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


Jamie is interested in the role of ‘nature’ in poetry from the Romantic period to the present day. He focuses in particular on the complexity of the word 'nature', literary encounters with animals, various disciplinary approaches to the question of ‘life’, the importance of sound in accounts of nature, and also in how literary texts are reinterpreted through the lens of their changing ecological circumstances, including in our own age of environmental crisis. He has published on William Wordsworth, John Clare and Ted Hughes, as well as on the relationship between the sciences and the humanities. He is a Co-Director of the Cardiff ScienceHumanities initiative.


I joined Cardiff University as a Lecturer in 2014, having been a research fellow at Hertford College, University of Oxford. I completed my PhD on animal life in the poetry of William Wordsworth at St John's College, University of Cambridge. I grew up in Essex and was the first person in my immediate family to go to university. As a result, I am passionate about fair access to Higher Education and enjoy working with secondary schools to this end.





  • Castell, J. 2015. William Wordsworth. In: Vance, N. and Wallace, J. eds. The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature Volume 4: 1790-1880., Vol. 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 325-346.
  • Castell, J. 2015. Wordsworth and 'the life of things'. In: Gravil, R. and Robinson, D. eds. The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth. Oxford Handbooks of Literature Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 733-746.







I teach widely on the undergraduate syllabus. In particular, I focus on poetry in a number of first year modules, as well as teaching  modules on nature writing and Romanticism in the second and third years.

I am also the Recruitment and Admissions lead for the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, and I am keen to work with secondary schools to improve access to Higher Education.

I am working on a monograph that focuses on 'animal life' in the poetry of William Wordsworth. The project builds upon research concerning the relationship between Romantic literature and science, the development of animal rights movements in the period, and continental philosophical interest in animals and the nonhuman. It takes a different approach to previous studies, however, by favouring close analysis of the role of poetic language in thinking philosophically about animal life. Entitled Wordsworth and Animal Life, it contributes to a number of contemporary debates on literature and the nonhuman, as well as attempting to think in a new way about Wordsworth's reputation as a philosophical nature poet.

Research Interests

I am broadly interested in the following fields and topics:

  • Poetry and poetics;
  • critical theory;
  • Romanticism;
  • sound;
  • animals;
  • the nonhuman;
  • nature writing;
  • environmental humanities;
  • literature and science.


I am interested in supervising PhD students who would like to work in the areas of:

  • Romantic Poetry, particularly William Wordsworth and John Clare
  • Nature writing from Romanticism to the present
  • Environmental humanities and literature
  • The relationship between science and literature
  • The role of animals and the nonhuman in literature