Thomas Chatterton: Four Ways of Literary Terra-Forming

19 May 2022, 6.00 PM - 19 May 2022, 7.15 PM

Professor Nick Groom

B.H05 Lecture Theatre, 7 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1TB

This is The British Academy's 2022 Thomas Chatterton Lecture

This lecture considers how Thomas Chatterton created literary worlds. Professor Nick Groom’s aim is to reveal the connections between Chatterton's very different poetic visions of mediaeval Redcliffe, African mythology, contemporary eighteenth-century politics, and environmentalism. Although these areas of Chatterton’s writing are usually treated separately by critics, they in fact share many common features, and between them characterize Chatterton’s distinctive – if extraordinarily precocious – poetic voices. These shared characteristics have, moreover, been brought into sharp relief by some of the pressing issues of our own time, from the traumas of the pandemic to the debates on the commemoration (and misrepresentation) of historical figures such as Edward Colston and indeed Chatterton himself. In the poetry of Thomas Chatterton, we can, Groom argues, find not only an unexpected influence on some of our major cultural touchstones, but significance and relevance for us today through the consolation of literature.

Speaker: Professor Nick Groom, Professor of Literature in English at the University of Macau

Chair: Professor Ralph Pite, Professor of English at the University of Bristol

Nick Groom is currently Professor of Literature in English at the University of Macau, having previously held positions at the Universities of Bristol, Chicago, Stanford, and Exeter – at the last of which he holds an Honorary Professorship. He has published research in a number of fields, from eighteenth-century ballads to literary forgery, and from the canonization of Shakespeare to the history of vampires, as well as several articles and essays on the poet Thomas Chatterton. He is primarily known for his work on cultural environmentalism and on the Gothic.

Doors will open for registration at 17.30. There will be a reception held after the lecture and all registered attendees are welcome to join. The evening will conclude at approximately 20.00. Tickets are free, but booking is required.

A recording of this event will be added to the University of Bristol’s YouTube channel after the event has taken place. If you have any questions about this event, please email

Organised in partnership with the British Academy.

The lecture is free though booking is required via Eventbrite.

Photo credit: Chris Chapman

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