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Colette Davies

Languages and Literature, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

The Minerva Press, Women Writers and the Literary Marketplace, 1770-1820.

Building on Brewer’s claim that ‘the ways in which the arts worked in eighteenth-century England are often best understood…through…those we have now largely forgotten’ (1997: 13), my research explores novels published by the Minerva Press written by a range of neglected professional women writers. These works shed light on how women writers responded to an era of transformation in the literary marketplace and to a socially turbulent context. My thesis will expand current thinking and recast Minerva Press novels as dynamic vehicles of literary and social commentary whose authors made inroads into the literary marketplace. It illuminates how these women writers, often dependent financially on their pens, carefully and strategically represented their own and their characters’ literary interactions and activities. I demonstrate that Minerva Press women writers used their novels as vehicles to legitimise female presence in the literary marketplace and to redesign the reputation and reception of the popular novel and novelist. 

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature


Book Reviews: 

Colette Davies, Review of ELIZABETH A. NEIMAN, Minerva's Gothics: The Politics and Poetics of Romantic Exchange, 1780-1820 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2019), 304pp. £70 hardback. 9781786833679. To be published in Romanticism, forthcoming. 

Colette Davies and Johnny Cammish, Review of Andrew O. Winckles and Angela Rehbein, eds., Women's Literary Networks and Romanticism: "A Tribe of Authoresses" (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017). 314 pp. ISBN: ISBN: 9781786940605; 90 (hb). To be published in Romantic Textualities, forthcoming. 

'Romantic Novel', Year's Work in English Studies. Forthcoming 


'The Minerva Press, Jewels, and Authorship', British Association for Romantic Studies International Conference. University of Nottingham, July 2019. 

'Trembling Authors', School of English Symposium. University of Nottingham, May 2019.

''Lies and jokes' or 'proper vehicles'? Prefaces in Minerva Press novels', British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies International Conference. University of Oxford, January 2019.

'Deserving Authors? Minerva Press women writers applications to the Royal Literary Fund, 1790-1815', British Association for Romantic Studies Early Career and Postgraduate Conference. University of Glasgow, June 2018.

'Names on the Page: The Chameleonic Presentation of Female Author Figures on Minerva Press Title-Pages, 1785-1800'. M3C Research Festival. Birmingham, May 2018. 

'Throw Aside Your Pen'!: Mary Wollstonecraft's Reviews as Means of Instruction to Women Writers'. 'Romanticism Goes to University' Conference. Edge Hill University, May 2018. 

Public Engagement & Impact

Exhibition Curation: 

Co-curated the exhibition 'Romantic Facts and Fantasies' at the Lakeside Arts Centre. This role included selecting items and texts for display, researching and writing exhibition labels, boards, and casebacks, and organising publicity of the exhibition. September 2018-August 2019. 

Exhibition Tour: 'Romantic Facts and Fantasies' , Lakeside Arts Centre. Guided exhibition tour for 10 members of the Nottingham University of the Third Age (U3A) Group. July 2019. 

Public Talks: 

'Female Authors in the 1790s and their Portrayals of Authorship', Newstead Abbey Byron Society, September 2019. 

''A delightful burlesque, particularly on the Radcliffe style': Jane Austen and the Gothic Genre'. Jane Austen House Museum, October 2018. Attended by 30 members of the public and students from the University of Winchester. 


British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS). 

British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (BSECS). 

Newstead Abbey Byron Society. 

Academic Services

British Association for Romantic Studies Postgraduate Representative, 2019-ongoing. 

I am one of two Postgraduate Representatives for the British Association for Romantic Studies. As part of this, I co-organise and co-direct the bi-annual Early Careers and Postgraduate Conference. 


Romantic Novel Contributor for the Year's Work in English Studies, 2019 - ongoing. 

Co-founder of UoN Romanticism Reading Group. 2017-2019.
I planned and organised monthly reading group sessions. 


BSECS Postgraduate Bursary Award. British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. University of Oxford, January 2019.  

BARS ECR & PG Bursary, 'Romantic Novels 1818'. June 2018.

Best Postgraduate Course Representative 2018. Awarded by the University of Nottingham Students' Union, Education Network Awards, June 2018.

'Best Newcomer', informal prize of signed book. Awarded at 'Romanticism Goes to University', May 2018.



Conference Report: 'Factually a Fantastic Conference'. Report on the British Association for Romantic Studies International Conference. Available at: http://www.bars.ac.uk/blog/?p=2482. August 2019.