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Professor Richard.D Brown

Profile summary

Professional biography

I was educated at Gosforth High School, the University of Oxford, the University of Durham, and the University of York before joining the OU in 1998. Between 2004 and 2009, I was Director of Level 1 Teaching, and between 2009 and 2012, I was Associate Dean (Curriculum) and Programme Director for the Arts and Humanities. From October 2014 to July 2015, I was Dean and Director of Studies in the Faculty of Arts. I then became interim Executive Dean for the new combined Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, before returning to regular academic life in August 2016 to get back in touch with my teaching and research interests.

Research interests

Throughout my career, my main interest has been the poetry of Edmund Spenser - so my first book, The New Poet: Novelty and Tradition in Spenser's Complaints (Liverpool University Press, 1999) explored the complex poetics of Spenser's neglected Complaints volume (1591). Since 2014, I have been Book Reviews editor for The Spenser Review, see My latest monograph, The art of The Faerie Queene (Manchester University Press, 2019), is the first book centrally focused on the poetic techniques employed by Spenser in his epic, which provides close readings of his many formal innovations. Manchester also publish A Concordance to the Rhymes of The Faerie Queene with Two Studies of Spenser’s Rhymes, which I co-wrote and edited with J. B. Lethbridge (for a review see This is the first major study of Spenser's rhymes, as well as a comprehensive research tool which gives the reader access to the full range of rhymes Spenser used in his extraordinary epic. I was academic consultant an interviewee on a programme in The Secret Life of Books series on Spenser, broadcast by the BBC in 2015. Here are some additional materials from that programme:  

I have also worked extensively on the poetry and drama of Louis MacNeice. I welcome applications from research students interested in any aspect of sixteenth-century poetry, and those concerned with what my book on MacNeice calls 'the Poetry of the 1930s' - that is, the loose group of writers who shared social and literary connections with MacNeice, and who came to prominence at roughly the same time as him - most famously W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender, but also encompassing many less celebrated figures.

I’ve had some of my own poems published in several magazines. I was an editor of The English Review, a peer reviewed magazine aimed at sixth form students, in which I have published a wide range of articles.

Teaching interests

At the OU, I have taught on English and interdisciplinary modules, as well as making contributions to English Language modules. My major achievement was as Chair of AA100, The Arts Past and Present, an innovative module which reconceptualised the teaching of arts subjects for entry level students. As a consequence of the success of AA100, in 2010 I received an OU teaching award in recognition of my outstanding commitment to the teaching of the Arts and Humanities. I’ve made significant contributions to A230, Reading and Studying Literature;  AA306, Shakespeare; text and performance; A300, Twentieth-Century Literature; Texts and Debates;  and AA305, The Renaissance in Europe: A Cultural Enquiry. More recently, I have written two units (one on As You Like It, one on The Faerie Queene) for A334, English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen; I am the current Chair of A334. Recent work on modules in production includes units on reading poetry for A111, Discovering the Arts, the successor module to AA100. I am Deputy Chair of A233. Telling Stories: The Novel and Beyond, for which I have written materials on the medieval poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; this blog post gives a sense of the challenges and delights of working on this extraordinarily rich text:  I'm also working on units on Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream for A112, Turning Points in Culture.






Bad Spenser? A Dialogue (2024)
Brown, Richard Danson and Hadfield, Andrew
The Spenser Review ((In press))

Introduction to special number on Bad Poetry (2024)
Brown, Richard Danson; Hadfield, Andrew and Wadowski, Andrew
The Spenser Review ((In press))

The Spenser Review: Special Number on Bad Poetry (2024)
Brown, Richard Danson; Hadfield, Andrew and Wadowski, Andrew
The Spenser Review ((In press))

Anger, Complaint, and Poetic Form in the Tristram episode and The Faerie Queene, Book VI (2023)
Brown, Richard Danson
Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 (SEL), 63(1) ((In Press))

Spenser with Bruegel: Authority and Punishment in The Faerie Queene, Book V (2023)
Brown, Richard Danson
Spenser Studies, 38 ((In Press))

“Looke backe, who list”: Reassessing the 1611 Folio Text of Complaints (2023)
Brown, Richard Danson and Chaghafi, Elisabeth
Spenser Review, 53(2)

Why at all Complain? "Bad" Poetry and Denatured Form in Spenser's Daphnaida (2020-01)
Brown, Richard Danson
Spenser Studies, 34 (pp. 77-110)

Responses to Harry R. Berger, Resisting Allegory: interpretive delirium in Spenser's "Faerie Queene" (2020)
Miller, David Lee; Anderson, Judith H.; Brown, Richard Danson; Dolven, Jeff; Gross, Ken; Nohrnberg, James and Ramachandran, Ayesha
Spenser Review, 50, Article 50.2.2.(2)

A. D. Cousins and Daniel Derrin, eds., Shakespeare and the Soliloquy in Early Modern English Drama. (2020)
Brown, Richard Danson
Spenser Review, 50, Article 8(2)

Editorial Introduction: Creative Responses to Spenser; Spenserian Poetry (2019-10)
Brown, Richard Danson; Berry, Craig A.; Hadfield, Andrew and Grogan, Jane
Spenser Review, 49, Article 1(3)

Three Poems in Spenserian Poetry: 'Merlin's Mirror', 'Faerie Queene Palimpsest', 'Figures of Speech' (2019)
Brown, Richard Danson
Spenser Review, 49, Article 2(3)

[Book Review] Catherine Bates, ed., A Companion to Renaissance Poetry (2018-10-31)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Spenser Review, 48(3)

Trevor Joyce, Fastness: a Translation from the English of Edmund Spenser (2018-01-31)
Brown, Richard Danson
Spenser Review, 48, Article 14(1)

“And dearest loue”: Virgilian half-lines in Spenser’s Faerie Queene (2018)
Brown, Richard Danson
Proceedings of the Virgil Society, 29 (pp. 49-74)

Call you ’em stanzos? Stanza form and reading poetry (2013-04)
Brown, Richard Danson
The English Review, 23(4) (pp. 32-34)

Review of Richard A. McCabe, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser (2012-01)
Brown, Richard Danson
Modern Language Review, 107(1) (pp. 271-272)

Reading iambic pentameter (2011)
Brown, Richard Danson
English Review, 22(2) (pp. 34-37)

Book review: Edmund Spenser, Selected Letters and Other Papers, Christopher Burlinson and Andrew Zurcher (eds) (2010-07)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Modern Language Review, 105(3) (pp. 832-834)

Book Review: Gerald Dawe (ed) 'Earth Voices Whispering: An Anthology of Irish War Poetry 1914-1945' (2010-06)
Brown, Richard Danson
Wasafiri, 25(2) (pp. 85-87)

“Modern Bondage” or reading for rhyme (2010-04)
Brown, Richard Danson
The English Review, 20(4) (pp. 2-5)

C Day-Lewis: A Life (2010)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Modern Language Review, 105(4) (pp. 859-860)

Book review: Andrew Zurcher, Spenser's Legal Language: Law and Poetry in Early Modern England (2009-04)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Modern Language Review, 104(2) (pp. 546-548)

W.S. Graham: I Leave This At Your Ear (2008-11)
Brown, Richard Danson
The English Review, 19(2) (pp. 9-12)

Book review: Richard Chamberlain, 'Radical Spenser: Pastoral, Politics and the New Aestheticism' (2008)
Brown, Richard Danson
Yearbook of English Studies, 38(1 & 2) (pp. 268-269)

Andrew Hadfield, ‘Shakespeare and Renaissance Politics’, and ‘Shakespeare, Spenser and the Matter of Britain’ (2008)
Brown, Richard Danson
Yearbook of English Studies, 38(1 & 2) (pp. 269-271)

Book review: John Stubbs, 'Donne: The Reformed Soul' (2008)
Brown, Richard Danson
Yearbook of English Studies, 38(1 & 2) (pp. 272-274)

Book review: Louis MacNeice, ‘Collected Poems’, Peter McDonald (ed) (2008)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Modern Language Review, 103(1) (pp. 213-214)

Neutrality and Commitment: MacNeice, Yeats, Ireland and the Second World War (2005-04)
Brown, Richard Danson
Journal of Modern Literature, 28(3) (pp. 109-129)

'Your thoughts make shape like snow': Louis MacNeice on Stephen Spender (2002-09-22)
Brown, Richard Danson
Twentieth-Century Literature, 48(3) (pp. 292-323)

The art of The Faerie Queene (2019-01-15)
Brown, Richard Danson
The Manchester Spenser
ISBN : 9780719087325 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester

Concordance to the Rhymes of the Faerie Queene: with two studies of Spenser's Rhymes (2013-12-16)
Brown, Richard Danson and Lethbridge, Julian
The Manchester Spenser
Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester

Louis MacNeice and the Poetry of the 1930s (2009-12-23)
Brown, Richard Danson
Writers and their Work
ISBN : 074631180X | Publisher : Northcote House Publishers Ltd | Published : Tavistock, UK

Scorned little creatures?: insects and genre in Complaints (1591) (2024-02)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Stenner, Rachel and Shinn, Abigail eds. Edmund Spenser and Animal Life. Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature (pp. 139-158)
ISBN : 978-3-031-42640-7 | Publisher : Palgrave | Published : London

Literature and Form in the Renaissance (2022-02-24)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Rabinowitz, Paula and Hadfield, Andrew eds. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature.
Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford & New York

Caring to turn back: overhearing Spenser in Donne (2019-09)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Ryzhik, Yulia ed. Spenser and Donne: Thinking Poets. The Manchester Spenser (pp. 13-31)
ISBN : 9781526117359 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester

Wise wights in privy places: rhyme and stanza form in Spenser and Chaucer (2019-05-31)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Stenner, Rachel; Badcoe, Tamsin and Griffith, Gareth eds. Rereading Chaucer and Spenser: Dan Geffrey with the New Poete. The Manchester Spenser (pp. 113-136)
ISBN : 9781526136916 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester

'Can't we ever, my love, speak in the same language?': everyday language and creative tension in the poetry of Louis MacNeice (2011)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Swann, Joan; Pope, Rob and Carter, Ronald eds. Creativity in Language and Literature: The State of the Art (pp. 39-54)
ISBN : 9780230575608 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Houndmills

‘I would abate the sternenesse of my stile’: diction and poetic subversion in Two Cantos of Mutabilitie’ (2010)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Grogan, Jane ed. Celebrating Mutabilitie: Essays on Edmund Spenser’s Mutabilitie Cantos. Manchester Spenser (pp. 275-294)
ISBN : 9780719082245 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester

Everyman’s progresses: Louis MacNeice’s dialogues with Bunyan (2007)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Owens, W. R. and Sim, Stuart eds. Reception, Appropriation, Recollection: Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Religions and discourse (33) (pp. 147-163)
ISBN : 3039107208 | Publisher : Peter Lang | Published : Oxford, UK

MacNeice in Fairy Land (2006)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Lethbridge, J. B. ed. Edmund Spenser: New and Renewed Directions (pp. 352-369)
ISBN : 838640664 | Publisher : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press | Published : Madison, U.S.A.

His lights are not ours: W. B. Yeats and the wartime poems of Louis MacNeice (2005)
Brown, Richard Danson
In: Harte, Liam; Whelan, Yvonne and Crotty, Patrick eds. Ireland: space, text, time (pp. 113-123)
ISBN : 1904148832 | Publisher : Liffey Press | Published : Dublin, Ireland

‘Such ungodly terms’: style, taste, verse satire and epigram in The Dutch Courtesan (2013)
Brown, Richard Danson
Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York, York.