Judith Thompson


headshot jthompson

Email: judith.thompson@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-6945
Mailing Address: 
McCain 3195
Research Topics:
  • Textual studies
  • Romanticism
  • European studies
  • Literary theory
  • Digital humanities
  • History of the book


  • BA (Western)
  • MA, PhD (Toronto)

Personal Website

A Romanticist by profession and predilection, Judith Thompson hails from Ontario, where she received her BA from UWO in 1979. Six months wandering the moors and mountains of Britain and Europe, followed (and not completely undermined) by 7 years of grad school (at U of T), transformed her into a professor of British Romantic Literature, with a special interest in poetry and politics within the intersecting circles of the Romantic period. Her continuing and apparently permanent obsession is with the work of “Citizen John” Thelwall, the polymath poet, playwright, novelist, orator, radical political activist, pioneer speech therapist and maker of the English working class, a linchpin figure who “straddled the world of Wordsworth and Coleridge, and the world of the Spitalfields weavers.”

Professor Thompson is a world leader in the rapidly expanding field of Thelwall Studies, and a founding member and official archivist of the John Thelwall Society. She edited Thelwall’s eccentric quasi-novel The Peripatetic in 2001, discovered a huge hidden cache of his unpublished poetry while Indiana Jonesing in the UK in 2004, and facilitated a world-premiere performance and video publication of his spectacular fantasy The Fairy of the Lake.

in 2009. In 2012 she published her revolutionary exposé of Thelwall’s role in Romanticism, John Thelwall in the Wordsworth Circle: The Silenced Partner and in 2013 she co-edited Thelwall’s feminist-abolitionist-anti-imperialist novel The Daughter of Adoption. She has also written and published on genre and collaboration, and has a strong interest in women’s writing. She is currently editing John Thelwall’s Selected Poetry and Poetics; after that she seems fated to write the first modern biography of Thelwall and who knows, maybe even a screenplay (it's one of the best untold stories in English literary history!). In the meantime she keeps finding new stuff, generating more research ideas than she can ever follow up, and therefore seeking to pass the torch to younger hands.

Current Research

Dr. Thompson is editing Thelwall’s newly-discovered poetry in print and electronic format, and gathering archival materials towards her biography of Thelwall. She is or has recently written or presented on Transatlantic Thelwall, Romantic Oratory, Thelwall and Dickens, Adoption in Romantic-era novels, and Arthurian rivalries in the Romantic period; and is or has recently supervised theses on Romantic-era Medicine, Atheist Nationalism, and the Female Voice.

Thompson is looking for grad students eager to forge forward into unexplored territory in such diverse Thelwallian fields as romantic theatre, radical medicine, speech poetics, popular performance, working class culture, collaborative authorship, the history of adult education, and the relation between generations, genders and genres in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As official archivist of the John Thelwall Society, Dr. Thompson is particularly interested in supervising editorial projects. If you work with Professor Thompson, you will have the rare opportunity to do truly pioneering research, even at the MA level; this was the case with Tara-Lynn Fleming, a chapter of whose 2006 MA thesis on Thelwall in the lyceum tradition was published in the first collection of scholarly essays on Thelwall in 2006.