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Staff Profile

Dr Adam James Smith

Associate Professor in English Literature

Profile image of Adam J Smith

My teaching and research take place primarily on the English Literature programme at York St John University, where I specialize in eighteenth-century literature. My research explores the role played by cheap print in mediating the relationship between citizens and the state during the long eighteenth-century, with a particular interest in propaganda, protest and satire.

I joined the English Literature team at York St John University full-time in 2016 and have been an Associate Professor of English Literature since 2022.

I am Level 5 Coordinator of our undergraduate programme and a disability coordinator.

I am Chair of the School of Humanities Community of Practice for Employability and Co-Director of the York Research Unit for the Study of Satire (YRUSOS). I am a Senior Fellow of the HEA, an SFHEA mentor and I sit on the YSJU Teaching Senate. I am also Vice Chair of the YSJU Branch of the Universities and College Union.

Beyond YSJU, I am also a member of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS) Executive Committee, Editor of society's online review site: Criticks and I sit on the advisory board of the international 'Diversifying Print History: Archives, Museums, Narratives Network'.

I received by BA (Hons) in English Literature from the University in Sheffield in 2009, where I also completed an interdisciplinary MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies in 2010. I completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2014. Prior to working at YSJU I was a Teaching Associate at the University of Sheffield, where I also an AHRC Postdoctoral project titled “Sheffield: Print, Protest and Poetry” and served as an Honorary Research Fellow for the Centre for Archival Practices. I was also a co-lead Educator on the University of Sheffield/Futurelearn Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Literature of the English Country House between 2014-2016.



I teach widely across the English Literature programme, but tend to deal predominantly with pre-1900 Literature. On our BA in English Literature I currently teach:

On our BA in English Literature I teach:

Theorizing Literature: Power and Identity
Dawn of Print (Module Director)
Gothicism, Romanticism and Revolution (Module Director)
Gothic Origins (Module Director)
Literature and Satire (Module Director)

I also contribute lectures to:

Forms of Narrative
Introduction to Literary Studies 1 and 2
Sick Novels
Science Fiction for Survival

Outside of Literature I contribute sessions to:

Politics and... (Politics)
Eboracum: York, Space and Place (Foundation Year in Liberal Arts)
Media Evolution and History (Film and Media)
Working With Words (Creative Writing)
Publishing Then and Now (Creative Writing MA)

On the MA in Contemporary Literature I teach:

Historicizing the Contemporary (Module Director)
Form and Genre

I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations on a range of topics which, in recent years, have included the form and function of the eighteenth-century elegy, representations of the devil from Paradise Lost to the present, the role of women writers in the eighteenth-century public sphere and the treatment of memory and consciousness in Romantic poetry.


My research explores the role of cheap print in negotiating the relationship between citizen and state in the long eighteenth century, with a particular interest works of propaganda, protest and satire. My doctoral research focused on Whig-sponsored periodicals, particularly those written by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, which neglected to signal explicitly their partisan allegiance. Following my PhD I began to work on radical literature produced by the Hartshead Press in Sheffield at the end of the eighteenth century, focusing particularly on the output of Joseph Gales and James Montgomery. Most recently (at the time of writing) my attention has turned to eighteenth-century satire and to literary representations of the satirist figure, an interest which has manifested itself in publications about the work of Addison and Steele, Eliza Haywood and Virginia Woolf.

As a founding member of the 'People of Print Collective' I am also interested in challenging historic understanding of regionality and agency in the context of early modern and eighteenth-century print culture and book history, as explored in the Print Culture, Agency and Regionality in the Handpress Era (Palgrave, 2022) and the People of Print Cambridge University Press series which I co-edit with Drs Rachel Stenner and Kaley Kramer.

Generally, I am interested in the relationships between politics, news and literature and how partisan identity is cultivated and articulated.

I am currently supervising a PhD on representations of property in eighteenth-century Gothic literature and welcome PhD proposals in any area of long eighteenth-century literature and culture, but especially the following:

Early print culture (pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers)
Non-fiction prose (travel writing, life-writing, essays)
Political writing and satire
Whig literary culture
The writing of Joseph Addison and/or Richard Steele
The rise of the novel
Representations of politeness
Representations of the coffee house
Twenty-first-century engagements with eighteenth-century literary culture.
My research interests are currently directly informing my teaching on the third-year module Research Now: Satire and Literature.


Academic Outputs

Smith, Adam James, ‘Taking Tea with Joseph Addison: Virginia Woolf and the Eighteenth Century in Orlando’ (1928), in ‘Adaptation and Digitisation in the Long Eighteenth Century: Sterneana and Beyond’, a special issue of 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era, Helen Williams and Mary Newbould eds. (forthcoming, 2023)

Impolite Periodicals: Down and Out with Mr Spectator, essay collection co-edited with Emrys Jones and Katarina Stenke, inc. chapter and co-authored introduction (Bucknell, forthcoming 2023)

Smith, Adam James, ‘Satire and the Folk Horror Revival’ in The Routledge Handbook of Folk-Horror, ed. by Robert Edgar and Wayne Johnson (Routledge, forthcoming 2023)

Smith, Adam James, ‘“A smile in her look, and a dagger in her garment”: The Character of the Satirist in Eighteenth-Century Print’, in Conceptualising Character, ed. by Jennifer Buckley and Montana Davies-Shuck (Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print, forthcoming 2022)

Smith, Adam James and Benjamin Garlick, ‘“A Green Parrot for a Good Speaker”: Writing with a Birds-eye View in Eliza Haywood’s The Parrot (1746), in Satire and Animals, ed. by Susan McHugh and Robert McKay (Palgrave Animal Studies, forthcoming 2022)

Print Culture, Agency and Regional Identity in the Handpress Era, essay collection co-edited with Rachel Stenner and Kaley Kramer, inc. chapter and co-authored introduction (Palgrave, 2022)

Smith, Adam James and Jo Waugh, Contagious Laughter: Talking About Satire in the Age of Covid-19 (Greenteeth, 2022)

‘Deceive, Inveigle, Obfuscate: Post-structuralism and the staggered retirement of Fox Mulder’ in Policing the Monstrous: Essays on the Rise of Supernatural Procedural Dramas, ed. by Ashley Szanter (McFarland, 2021).

‘Echoes of Meaning: Cheap Print, Ephemera and the Digital Archive’, Eighteenth Century Fiction, 32.4, Sept 2020.

‘How Proudly Shines the Crazy Clock’: Temporal Displacement and the Miasma of York in James Montgomery’s Prison Amusements (1795-97), in Time, the City and the Literary Imagination, Anne-Marie Evans and Kaley Kramer eds. (Palgrave, 2020)

Smith, Adam James, ‘Property, Politics and Patriotism: The Figure of the “Freeholder” in Eighteenth-Century Partisan Print’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 40.3, Sept 2017.

Poetry, Conspiracy and Radicalism in Sheffield, co-edited and co-authored introduction with Hamish Mathison (Spirit Duplicator, 2016)

‘Research as Resistance’, in No Picnic: Explorations in Art and Research, Matthew Cheeseman ed. (NATCECT, 2014).

Book Reviews

‘Libel and Lampoon: Satire in the Courts, 1670-1792’ by Andrew Benjamin Bricker (2022) The Review of English Studies. Forthcoming, 2022.

‘Anecdotes of Enlightenment: Human Nature from Locke to Wordsworth’ by James Wood (2019) Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Forthcoming, 2022.

‘Celebrity, Performance, Reception: British Georgian Theatre and Social Assemblage’ by David Worrall (2003) Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 38.1 (March 2015).

Online publications

‘The Clockmaker’s Outcry’, Sterne and Sterneana, University of Cambridge Digital Library (2020)

Reviews for BSECS Criticks (online resource) including: ‘Poldark’ (2016), ‘Andrew Marr’s James Boswell’ (2014) ‘Samuel Johnson’s Life on Screen’ (2014), ‘Adrian Teal’s Gin Lane Gazette’ (2013)

Contributions to The Literary Encyclopaedia: ‘Joseph Addison’ (2016); ‘Richard Steele’ (2017)

Other writing

‘Bridgerton: the real 18th-century writers who used pseudonyms to stoke controversy’, The Conversation UK (April 2022)

‘The Prince – The great tradition of satirising the royal family is under threat as they become more “human”’, co-authored with Jo Waugh, The Conversation UK (September 2021)

‘Spitting Image: A warning from the “Golden Age” of satire’, co-authored with Jo Waugh, The Conversation UK (October 2019)

‘Titania McGrath: Twitter parody of “wokeness” owes a lot to satirists of the 18th Century’, co-authored with Jo Waugh, The Conversation UK (March 2019)

‘Brexit Britain is easy fodder for satirists: But should they learn from Eighteenth-Century masters how to do it properly?’, The Conversation UK (October 2018)

‘Don’t scoff at hipster coffee shops. They’ve been around for 300 years’ The Guardian (June 2015)



'The Corrosion of Satire: Boris Johnson [the Prime Minister] and the Dangerous Abuse of Satirical Traditions', Laughter: Contemporary Canons and Values in Contemporary Literary Studies, University of Central London. September 2019.
‘The Deformity of Little Wants”: Addison, Steele and Impoliteness after The Spectator’, Impolite Periodicals Panel, International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Edinburgh University. July 2019.
‘Brexit, Corbyn, Anything but History: The Way People Talk About Poldark’, Pop Enlightenments Panel, British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Annual Conference, St Hugh’s College, Oxford University.January 2019.
’The Unwilling Gratitude of Base Humanity”: The Partisan Hailing of the Satirist in the Writing of Joseph Addison and Alexander Pope’, Character and Caricature, 1660-1850, Northumbria University. September 2018.
‘The Stories of James Montgomery: Accessing obscure eighteenth-century literature through creative practices’, at English: Shared Futures Conference, Newcastle. July 2017.
'The price of tickets and of souls”: James Montgomery’s political poetry of 1816’ at Creativity and Turmoil: The Summer of 1816 Conference, University of Sheffield. June 2016.
'A Smooth Mephistopheles”: The many ‘lives’ of Joseph Addison’ at the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Annual Conference, Oxford University. January 2016.
'The dead themselves were not spared”: A vision of Swift’s Examiner in Addison’s Free-holder’ at Text and Book in the Age of Swift, Oxford University. November 2013.
‘The Style of the News”: A vision of polemic print culture in the Hanoverian periodical writing of Joseph Addison’, at The Business of Newspapers: Commercial information versus civil instruction, Liverpool University. June 2013.
‘News as news: Addison’s periodical reports its own inception’, at The Eighteenth-Century World Research Centre Annual Conference, Liverpool University. March 2012.

Professional Activities

On the Literature programme I am currently Level 5 Coordinator, co-disability coordinator and co-organiser of the Literature Mentorship scheme. Beyond our programme I am Chair of the School of Humanities Community of Practice for Employability and Co-Director of the York Research Unit for the Study of Satire (YRUSOS). In 2019-2021, I also provided the Impact case-study for Literature in REF 2021.

I am a Senior Fellow of the HEA, an SFHEA mentor and I sit on the York St John University Teaching Senate.

Beyond York St John University I am am member of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS) executive committee and am Editor of society's online review site, Criticks. I also sit on the advisory board of the international Diversifying Print History: Archives, Museums, Narratives Network.

I have co-organised two conferences it recent years:

Satire: Deaths, Births, Legacies at YSJU in 2018, co-organized with Jo Waugh.
People of Print: Printers, Stationers and Booksellers at Sheffield Hallam University in 2019, co-organized with Kaley Kramer and Rachel Stenner).

I have been an editor on two essay collections:

Print Culture, Agency and Regionality in the Handpress Era, ed. by Rachel Stenner, Kaley Kramer and Adam J Smith (Palgrave, 2022)
Impolite Periodicals, ed. by Emrys D. Jones and Katarina Stenke (Bucknell University Press, 2023).

I am also a series editor on the People of Print series of "Elements" at Cambridge University of Press, the first two of which are:

People of Print: Seventeenth-Century England (2022)
People of Print: Eighteenth-Century England (2023)

Together with my colleague Jo Waugh I have also, since 2019, co-hosted the monthly podcast Smith and Waugh Talk About Satire.

Public Engagement



'Introducing The Day Shall Come', Co-presented with Dr Jo Waugh, City Screen Picturehouse Cinema. October 2019.
'Satire and the Future: Can the Satirists Still Save Us', Co-presented with Dr Jo Waugh, York Literature Festival, York Explore Library. March 2019.
'Nightmares and Dreamscapes: writing York in the Eighteenth Century', Big City Read Festival, York Explore Library. November 2018
‘Poetry, protest and imprisonment in 18th-century York: James Montgomery in York Castle Prison’, Mint Yard Lecture, York Explore Library. April 2017.
‘Inglorious prey: The incarceration of James Montgomery’, at the York Literary Festival. March 2017.
‘James Montgomery: Poetry and protest’, co-presented with Dr Hamish Mathison, Off the Shelf Festival, Sheffield. November 2016.
‘The Trial of James Montgomery’, Mobile University, Sheffield. September 2015.
Paradise Lost in time: A text in transmission’, In The City Festival, Sheffield. June 2014.


‘Terra Two: Writing for off-world survival’, co-presented with Drs Leisl King and Rob Edgar, York Festival of Ideas. June 2017.
‘Marvel comics of the Civil Rights era’, Black History Month, York St John University. November 2016.
‘James Montgomery: A life of activism’, Festival of the Mind, Sheffield. September 2016.
‘Print-houses of eighteenth-century York: A walking tour’, co-presented with Dr Kaley Kramer, York Festival of Ideas. June 2015.

Public Engagement: Resources

Smith & Waugh Talk About Satire. An ongoing podcast in which Dr Jo Waugh and I discuss satire with academics and practitioners involved with the study and production of satire.
Satire: Deaths, Births, Legacies. An ongoing interdisciplinary project exploring the form, function, history and future of satire, co-directed by Dr Jo Waugh.
The York Research Unit for the Study of Satire. A formal cluster of scholars intended to create opportunities for the academic community at York St John University to lead a national conversation about the form, function and future of satire.
‘Words with wagtails: York prison poetry.’ An expanding archive of poetry written in York Castle prison during the late eighteenth century, accompanied by responses from a wide range of twenty-first-century readers.
‘Sheffield:  Print, Protest and Poetry, 1790-1810.’ An online archive of radical poetry from Sheffield’s late eighteenth-century press, accompanied by blog posts, videos and a three-part podcast.
‘The view from the coffee house.’ Adam’s own blog, offering commentary on contemporary events from an eighteenth-century perspective.
‘Welcome to the coffee house: The literature of the eighteenth-century’, Online course, iTunesU.
‘The Coffee House.’ In 2014, I secured funding to work with film-maker and Gemma Thorpe to develop this short film, based on my doctoral research.

Public Engagement: Media (Publications)

Spitting Image: a warning from the 'golden age' of satire. Co-written with Dr Jo Waugh. Published in The Conversation on 7 October 2019.
Titania McGrath: Twitter parody of ‘wokeness’ owes a lot to satirists of the 18th century. Co-written with Dr Jo Waugh. Published in The Conversation on 15 March 2019.
Brexit Britian is easy fodder for satirists: but they should learn from 18th-century masters how to do it properly. Published in The Conversation on 8 October 2018.
Smith, Adam James, ‘Sheffield Editors who stood up for the city’, Sheffield Star, 9 April 2016.
Smith, Adam James, ‘Don’t scoff at the hipster coffee shops, they’ve been around for 300 years’, The Guardian, 30 June 2015.
Smith, Adam James, ‘The Dream of the Coffee House’, Now Then Magazine, August 2014.

Media (Radio)

Smith, Adam James, (Contributor), The Ant-Hill Podcast Episode 6: Into Darkness, October 2016.
Smith, Adam James, (Guest), Rony Robinson, BBC Radio Sheffield, September 2016 and March 2017.