John BarrellFBA, FEA (born 3 February 1943) is a British scholar of eighteenth and early nineteenth century studies. He took his first degree at Trinity College Cambridge, and his PhD at the University of Essex. He was a lecturer in the Department of Literature at Essex for four years from 1968. In 1972 he took up a lectureship in the Faculty of English at Cambridge and a fellowship at King's College Cambridge. He was appointed to a chair in English at the University of Sussex in 1985 and was Professor of English at the University of York from 1993 to 2012, where he was one of the founders of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. In January 2013 he became Professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London. He has held a British Academy Readership and a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, has been awarded honorary degrees by the University of Chicago (2008) and by the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (2010), and is an honorary fellow of King's College Cambridge. He is married to the literary scholar Professor Harriet Guest.
Barrell's main research is within the field of literature, history and art in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Britain. This focuses particularly on language, landscape, law, empire, theories of society and progress, and the theory of painting.