Dr Gregory Tate

Lecturer in English Literature

Qualifications: BA, University of Sheffield (2004), MSt, University of Oxford (2006), D.Phil, University of Oxford (2009)

Phone: Work: 01483 68 3122
Room no: 39 AC 05

Office hours

Tuesday 12-1

Thursday 9-10

Thursday 2-3

Further information


I joined the School in September 2010, having previously taught at St Anne's College, Oxford and Trinity College, Oxford. My book, The Poet's Mind: The Psychology of Victorian Poetry 1830-1870, is published by Oxford University Press. My current research project examines the connections between the physical sciences and the theory and practice of poetry in the long nineteenth century.

I am a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker; read my blog about the New Generation Thinkers here. My most recent broadcasts include a discussion on Radio 3's Free Thinking about the poet John Clare, and a documentary on Sunday Feature titled 'The Poetry of Science'.

View my academia.edu profile here.

I blog regularly. Some of my blog posts on Victorian poetry and contemporary culture include:

University of Surrey English blog: on Tennyson, James Bond, and Skyfall

LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog: on poetry and psychology in the nineteenth century

Oxford University Press blog: Tennyson in 2012

Oxford University Press blog: Robert Browning in 2012

Research Interests

  • Literature and science from 1800 to the present
  • Romantic and Victorian poetry
  • Literature and psychology
  • Theories and histories of creativity
  • British writing about European history
  • Gender and literary form in the nineteenth century

Research Supervision

I would welcome applications from research students planning to work on any of my research interests, including students wishing to pursue interdisciplinary work in literature and science or literature and psychology.

Research Collaborations

I am one of the investigators on the University of Surrey's Creativity Observatory project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's Bridging the Gaps scheme. The interdisciplinary Creativity Observatory interviews scientists, social scientists, humanities academics, and artists in order to examine how practitioners in different disciplines define creativity and understand the creative process. I am also a founding member of ILLUME, the University of Surrey's Research Centre for Creativity.


Journal articles

  • Tate GP. (2014) 'Review of Darwin, Tennyson and Their Readers: Explorations in Victorian Literature and Science, ed. Valerie Purton'. Tennyson Research Bulletin, 10 (3), pp. 299-301.
  • Tate GP. (2014) 'Review of Serena Trowbridge, Christina Rossetti's Gothic'. The Pre-Raphaelite Society Review, 22 (2), pp. 91-93.
  • Tate GP. (2014) 'Infinite Movement: Robert Browning and the Dramatic Travelogue'. Victorian Poetry, 52 (2), pp. 185-203.
  • Tate GP. (2013) 'Review of Daniel Brown, The Poetry of Victorian Scientists: Style, Science and Nonsense (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)'. The Review of English Studies,
  • Tate GP. (2012) 'Review of John Batchelor, Tennyson: To Strive, to Seek, to Find (London: Chatto and Windus, 2012)'. Times Literary Supplement, (5723)
  • Tate GP. (2012) 'The Last Lines of 'Ulysses''. Tennyson Research Bulletin, 10 (1), pp. 66-70.


    This short article examines the range of historical, cultural, and critical responses to the closing lines of Alfred Tennyson's dramatic monologue 'Ulysses', which were inscribed on a wall in the athletes' village at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

  • Tate GP, Dubois M. (2012) 'XIII The Nineteenth Century: The Victorian Period - Victorian Poetry'. The Year's Work in English Studies, 91 (1), pp. 770-788.


    In this section, Martin Dubois reviews publications on Arnold, Hopkins, the Rossettis, women poets, working-class poets, poetry from 1830 to 1880, and work by Gregory Tate. Gregory Tate reviews publications on the Brownings, Michael Field, Swinburne, and Tennyson, poetry from 1880-1900, and work by Martin Dubois. The chapter where this article was published has five sections. 1. Cultural Studies and Prose; 2. The Novel; 3. Poetry; 4. Drama; 5. Periodicals and Publishing History. Sections 1 and 2 are by William Baker; section 3 is by Gregory Tate and Martin Dubois; section 4 is by Alexis Easley; section 5 is by David Finkelstein.

  • Tate GP. (2011) 'Review of John Morton, Tennyson Among the Poets (London: Continuum, 2010)'. Tennyson Research Bulletin, 9 (5)
  • Tate GP. (2011) 'Arthur Hallam's Fragments of Being'. The Tennyson Research Bulletin, 9 (5), pp. 454-462.
  • Tate GP. (2011) 'Review of Sally Shuttleworth, The Mind of the Child: Child Development in Literature, Science, and Medicine, 1840-1900 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)'. Modern Language Review, 106 (4), pp. 1140-1142.
  • Tate GP, Dubois M. (2011) 'XIII The Nineteenth Century: The Victorian Period - Victorian Poetry'. Year's Work in English Studies, UK: 90, pp. 733-753.


    This chapter has five sections. 1. Cultural Studies and Prose; 2. The Novel; 3. Poetry; 4. Drama; 5. Periodicals and Publishing History. Sections 1 and 2 are by William Baker; section 3 is by Gregory Tate and Martin Dubois; section 4 is by Alexis Easley; section 5 is by David Finkelstein.

  • Tate GP. (2011) 'Review of Robert J.C. Young, 'The Idea of English Ethnicity' (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008)'. Notes and Queries, 58 (1), pp. 164-165.
  • Tate GP. (2009) 'Review of Kirstie Blair, 'Victorian Poetry and the Culture of the Heart' (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)'. Modern Language Review, 104 (1), pp. 182-183.
  • Tate GP. (2009) '“A fit person to be Poet Laureate”: Tennyson, In Memoriam, and the Laureateship.'. Tennyson Research Bulletin, 9 (3), pp. 233-247.
  • Tate GP. (2009) 'Tennyson and the Embodied Mind'. Victorian Poetry, 47 (1), pp. 61-80.


    This essay argues that Alfred Tennyson, in the poems that he wrote around the time of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam’s death in 1833, examines the competing claims of physical and metaphysical accounts of the human mind. While the psychological dialogue ‘The Two Voices’, and the dramatic monologues ‘St Simeon Stylites’, ‘Tithon’, and ‘Ulysses’, seek to affirm belief in an immortal spiritual element of personal identity, their focus is persistently drawn to the representation of a mutable and embodied mind that is shaped by physiology and physical experience. Drawing on Hallam’s own writings about the mind, and on the associationist philosophy of David Hartley, Tennyson’s poems present an account of embodied psychology that went on to influence physiological psychologists in the Victorian era.

  • Tate GP. (2008) 'Review of Matthew Bevis, 'The Art of Eloquence: Byron, Dickens, Tennyson, Joyce' (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)'. Modern Language Review, 103 (4), pp. 1117-1117.
  • Tate GP. (2008) 'George Eliot’s Poetry of the Soul.'. George Eliot Review, (39), pp. 18-25.


    An analysis of George Eliot's poetry with a psychological, emotive and spiritual approach.


  • Tate GP. (2012) The Poet's Mind: The Psychology of Victorian Poetry 1830-1870. First Edition. Oxford : Oxford University Press


    The Poet's Mind is a major study of how Victorian poets thought and wrote about the human mind. It argues that Victorian poets, inheriting from their Romantic forerunners the belief that subjective thoughts and feelings were the most important materials for poetry, used their writing both to give expression to mental processes and to scrutinise and analyse those processes. In this volume Gregory Tate considers why and how psychological analysis became an increasingly important element of poetic theory and practice in the mid-nineteenth century, a time when the discipline of psychology was emerging alongside the growing recognition that the workings of the mind might be understood using the analytical methods of science. The writings of Victorian poets often show an awareness of this psychology, but, at the same time, the language and tone of their psychological verse, and especially their ambivalent use of terms such as 'brain', 'mind', and 'soul', voice an unresolved tension, felt throughout Victorian culture, between scientific theories of psychology and metaphysical or religious accounts of selfhood. The Poet's Mind considers the poetry of Browning, Tennyson, Arnold, Clough, and George Eliot, offering detailed readings of several major Victorian poems, and presenting new evidence of their authors' interest in contemporary psychological theory. Ranging across lyric verse, epic poetry, and the dramatic monologue, the book explores the ways in which poetry simultaneously drew on, resisted, and contributed to the spread of scientific theories of mind in Victorian Britain.

Book chapters

  • Tate GP. (2016) 'Researching Science and Periodicals'. in Easley A, King, A , Morton J (eds.) Researching the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press: Case Studies Aldershot : Ashgate
  • Tate GP. (2015) 'Poetry and Science'. in Holmes J, Ruston S (eds.) The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Literature and Science Aldershot : Ashgate
  • Tate GP. (2014) 'Science'. in Herapath, J , Lafford, E , Mason, E (eds.) Nineteenth-Century Poetry: Criticism and Debates London : Routledge
  • Tate GP. (2010) ''My present Past': Memory and Identity in the Poetry of George Eliot'. in Barnett R, Trowbridge S (eds.) Acts of Memory: The Victorians and Beyond First Edition. Cambridge : Cambridge Scholars Publishing Article number Four , pp. 73-84.


    This essay studies George Eliot’s long poem The Spanish Gypsy, and her shorter verse works ‘The Legend of Jubal’ and ‘Brother and Sister’, in order to show that her poetic writing presents two divergent accounts of psychology, founded on two contrasting conceptions of memory. On the one hand, George Eliot’s verse resists the analytical stance of Victorian psychological theory and of her own novels, championing a metaphysical account of psychology in which memory, as an activity of the immortal soul, guarantees the permanence of personal identity by connecting the present self to that of the past. On the other hand, her poetry also articulates a concern that the act of remembering exposes the mutability of the mind by highlighting the unbridgeable gap between past and present. This latter conception of memory was shared by the Victorian psychologists, including Herbert Spencer and George Eliot’s partner G.H. Lewes, who defined the mind as a process rather than as a fixed entity. The representation of memory in George Eliot’s verse is informed by the theories of these psychologists in ways that are obscured but not effaced by the lyrical register and metaphysical terminology of her poems.

Theses and dissertations

  • Tate GP. (2009) The Poet's Mind: The Psychology of Victorian Poetry 1830-1870. University of Oxford


I am Programme Director for the BA in English Literature, the BAs in English Literature and Languages, and the BA English Literature major/minor degrees. I teach lectures and seminars and act as module convenor for the second-year module 'Science Fiction' and the final-year module 'Victorian Poetry: The Poet's Mind'. I also teach an MA module on 'Literature and Science'.

Conferences and Online Journals

Organiser of the 2014 conference of the British Society for Literature and Science at the University of Surrey (April 2014).

Co-organiser of 'Dickens and the Visual Imagination', a two-day conference held at the University of Surrey, Watts Gallery, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (July 2012).

Co-organiser of ‘Tennyson’s Futures’, a two-day conference held at the University of Oxford and sponsored by Oxford University Press and the British Association for Victorian Studies (March 2009).

Co-founder of Victorian Network, a peer-reviewed online journal which publishes postgraduate research in the field of Victorian studies and which was set up with a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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