John Mullan

John Mullan

Lord Northcliffe Chair of Modern English Literature, University College London



John Mullan studied for his BA and PhD at the University of Cambridge.

He was a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge and a Lecturer at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, before coming to UCL in 1994.

He has been Professor of English since 2005, and was appointed Lord Northcliffe Chair of Modern English Literature from 1st October 2016.

He was General Editor of the Pickering & Chatto series Lives of the Great Romantics by Their Contemporaries, and Associate Editor for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

He is a regular TV and radio broadcaster and a literary journalist; he writes on contemporary fiction for the Guardian and was a judge for the 2009 Man Booker Prize.



John is a specialist in eighteenth-century literature and is at present writing the volume of the Oxford English Literary History that will cover the period from 1709 to 1784.

He has edited a number of works by Daniel Defoe and his edition of Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets was published in 2008. [Editions]

He also has research interests in the nineteenth century, and in 2012 published his book What Matters in Jane Austen?

Selected Publications



Sentiment and Sociability. The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 1988)

Eighteenth-Century Popular Culture. A Selection with Christopher Reid (Oxford University Press, 2000)

How Novels Work (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Anonymity. A Secret History of English Literature (Faber and Faber, 2007)

What Matters in Jane Austen? (Bloomsbury 2012)

Event 7: Joe Dunthorne & Philip Hensher talk to John Mullan

Alexander McKenzie Stage

Two of our most brilliant young novelists discuss their most recent books with the academic and critic John Mullan.  Philip’s novel The Friendly Ones depicts multicultural life in Sheffield while Joe’s novel The Adulterants describes the lives of twenty-somethings in London who don’t want to grow up.  Philip has been shortlisted for the Man Booker […]


Event 16: Nick Laird & Zadie Smith talk to John Mullan

Alexander McKenzie Stage

Queen’s Park residents Zadie Smith and Nick Laird read from their latest books and talk about their work and teaching at New York University.  Zadie’s most recent book Feel Free is a collection of essays. Nick’s novel Modern Gods is just out in paperback and his new poetry collection Feel Free is due to be published […]

Fiction Poetry