Professor Michael Franklin

Professor Michael Franklin
English Literature & Creative Writing
Telephone: (01792) 604301

Michael Franklin was a medievalist in a former life by the muddy banks of the Ouse, but he now lingers by the perfumed Yamuna. Since editing Sir William Jones: Selected Poetical and Prose Works (1995) and writing the critical biography Sir William Jones (1995), he has been investigating colonial representations of India and their various interfaces with Romanticism, He has edited Representing India: Indian Culture and Imperial Control (2000), and The European Discovery of India: Key Indological Sources of Romanticism 6 vols (2001): and authored a series of articles on the Hastings circle which forms the current focus of his research. He also published the well-received Romantic Representations of British India, ed. Michael J. Franklin, (London: Routledge, 2006); and Phebe Gibbes, Hartly House, Calcutta, ed. Michael J. Franklin (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007).

At the invitation of Professor Malabika Sarkar he gave plenary lectures at the Annual International Conference on Romanticism at Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Following this and at the invitation of Professor Surya Pandey, he gave plenary lectures at a conference at the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi in February 2006.

He was accorded the honour of being invited by Professor Ashok Bhattacharyya to address The Asiatic Society in Calcutta on 2 February 2006 on the subject of Sir William Jones and pluralism. This paper has been published as ‘Pluralism Celebrated and Desecrated: A Mughal and British Imperial ‘Romantic’ Legacy’, The Journal of the Asiatic Society, 48: 2 (2006), 69-90.

He has written a variety of articles on subjects as diverse as the Celtic Revival, the Oriental Renaissance, ‘Indianism’, Phoenicianism, Piozzi, Gagnier, Gibbes, Britanus, Brutus and Iolo, the brahmachari and the missionary, hand-fasting, turdidae, and asses. He has been recently working on a major new critical biography of Sir William Jones, the foremost Orientalist of the eighteenth century and one of the greatest intellectual navigators of all time.

Areas of Expertise

  • Representations of India and Indo-Persian Culture
  • Sir William Jones
  • Bluestockings


  1. ‘Thrale’s Entire’: Hester Lynch Thrale and the Anchor Brewery, Southwark’, in Bluestockings Now! The Evolution of a Social Role, ed Deborah Heller. In Deborah Heller (Ed.), Farnham: Ashgate.
  2. “Harmonious” Jones and “Honest John” Shore: Contrasting Responses of Garden Reach Neighbors to the Experience of India. European Romantic Review 27(2), 119-142.
  3. Entry on George Forster (1752–1791),traveller, writer, and diplomatist [1940 words]. In Encyclopaedia Iranica. Columbia: Columbia University.
  4. '“Who is Kailyal, what is she?” Subcontinental and Metropolitan Reader Responses to The Curse of Kehama and its Heroine'. European Romantic Review 25(4), 443-462
  5. ‘Crewable’ Jones and the Sociable Pleasures of Riding and Rowing the Oxford and the ‘old Carmarthen’; or, How Circuiteers Invented Tourism'. Romanticism 19(2)-137.

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  • EN-114 Voices of Poetry

    'Voices of Poetry' is an engaging and exciting module which aims to introduce students to poetry and the various voices it articulates. Taught by well-known poets as well as scholars of poetry, this course will introduce students to a wide range of poetic forms and literary periods, ranging from the medieval lyric to postmodern poetry, from Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath. Particular attention will be paid to the interrelationship between meaning and form, and how rhetorical figures, metre, rhythm, tone, register and the speaker's voice create meaning. 'Voices of Poetry' will also foster an appreciation of how poetic forms are re-written in the socio-historical context in which they were produced.


    This course aims to explore the poetry of two of the most innovative and influential English poets of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The emphasis will be upon close reading of selected texts to investigate both poets' fascination with individuality and distinctiveness, with creativity and perception. Discussion will centre on their respective responses to emotional crises and the impact of division and desolation. We shall consider the critical, cultural, and political contexts of their poetry, focusing on issues of gender, genre, aesthetics, the nature of language, poetry and the imagination. Key questions of similarity and difference will be raised as we consider the extent to which their originality exploits tension between the traditional and the experimental.

  • EN-390 The Erotics and Exotics of Romantic Orientalism

    This module extends political and historical reading of Romanticism to embrace the cultural, institutional, and sexual politics of Empire. We shall examine the intertwined roots of Romanticism and Orientalism: the exotic, the erotic, and the despotic. The craze for sensual and sensational escapism ushered in by the Arabian Nights Entertainment had invlolved a voyeuristic invasion of the seraglio. Romantic writers were also absorbed by that fragrant and forbidden space, but was such Oriental escapism at odds with their social and political concerns? Exactly how did their works reflect contemporary cultural and imperial encounters with Asia and blur the margins of imaginative and actual power? Key issues to be explored will include cultural stereotypes such as contemptuous misogyny and the capricious cruelty of the Oriental despot; liberty and libertinism; the earthly paradise; and the longing for feminized dream of the East.

  • EN-M50 Women Writing India

    This module involves close study of the representations of India in three important yet entertaining Romantic-period-female-authored novels. The publication of the Phebe Gibbes' Hartly House, Calcutta initiated a series of female-authored novels about the subcontinent which includes Elizabeth Hamilton's Translations of the Letters of Hindoo Rajah (1796), and culminates in Sydney Owenson's The Missionary (1811). These texts represent key documents in the literary representation of India and the imperial debate. Beyond offering a radical feminization of India, they introduced an assimilable and sentimentalized version of the Indological scholarship which facilitated Romantic Orientalism in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and which is currently subject to revisionary analysis by students and critics of postcolonialism and gender studies. From the standpoints of both materialist feminist scholarship and postcolonial theory, these novels problematize the intricate relationships between mercantile capitalism, colonial trade, issues of race and class, national identity, and British constructions of gender within the colony and the metropolis.

  • EN-M70 Fin Amor and Marriage in the Medieval English Secular Lyric

    This module investigates some of the heterogeneous elements that contributed to the evolution of the Middle English secular lyric. Considering the likely Oriental and Mozarabic origins of fin amors (refined or ¿ love), we shall examine a range of lyric poetry written in Arabic, Provencal/Occitan, French, German, Anglo-Norman, Welsh and, for wider cross-cultural comparative purposes, Sanskrit, all of which we shall study in translation. We shall trace the poetic advance of this fashionable ¿cult across the Pyrenees and up through France to Anglo-Norman England, examining the key mediating role of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The Harley lyrics will examined within the wider context of medieval English lyric as prime examples of the eclecticism of insular vernacular lyric. We shall consider how the Harley poets present an exalted conception of love, but a love which has been ¿domesticated in significant respects. We shall see how these poems, written down in Ludlow in the 1340s, mark an important stage in the gradual reconciliation of the heightened sensibility of ¿amour courtois with the reciprocated mutuality of marriage.


  • Epistolary Culture and Literary Criticism in the Correspondence of Catherine Talbot,Elizabeth Carter and Elizabeth Montagu. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Caroline Franklin
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Franklin
  • Representations of Prostitution in Mary Wollstonecraft's The Wrongs of Woman or Maria, A Fragment (1798) Mary Hay's The Victim of Prejudices (1799) and Mary Robinson's The Natural Daughter (1799) (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Caroline Franklin
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Franklin
  • Sir William Jones and Oriental Mysticism. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Franklin
    Other supervisor: Prof Caroline Franklin