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Dr Anna J Nickerson

College position(s)

Fellow, Tutor



Specialising in

Katherine Jex-Blake Research Fellow in English

Degrees, Awards and Prizes

BA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab).

Research themes

I work at the intersection of poetry and philosophy. My work takes its cue from Coleridge’s insight that poetry has ‘a logic of its own’ that throws it into competition with philosophy as a means of coming to know the world. I am especially interested in the ways in which poetry might enable us to apprehend those things that lie beyond the usual sphere of knowledge and experience. As such, my work often has a theological as well as a philosophical edge. Put simply, my work tries to answer the question, ‘What do we know when we read poetry?’

I am currently writing a book about the English poet and Jesuit, Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., provisionally entitled 'Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Manifoldness of Knowledge'. The book is a study of how Hopkins thought ‘thinking’ happened and why it seemed to happen best when his attention was divided. The book traces the philosophical, theological, aesthetic, and linguistic origins of Hopkins’ epistemology, and demonstrates how this commitment to the ‘manifoldness of knowledge’ underpinned every aspect of his highly idiosyncratic poetics.
With Angela Leighton and Yui Kajita, I am co-editor of a forthcoming collection of essays on the life, work, and literary friendships of Walter de la Mare, 'Walter de la Mare: Critical Appraisals' (Liverpool University Press).

I also have long-standing interests in the work of Alfred Tennyson, T. S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and the Girton poet Kathleen Raine.

For an overview of my publications, please see my faculty webpage.

Teaching responsibilities 

I mostly teach nineteenth and twentieth-century literature and anything to do with poetry and poetics.

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