Janet Todd

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Janet Todd
Born Janet Margaret Todd
(1942-09-10) 10 September 1942 (age 74)
Occupation Scholar of women in literature
Children Julian Todd and Clara Todd
Academic background
Alma mater University of Florida
Thesis title In Adam's garden: a study of John Clare by Todd (1971)
Academic work
Institutions Rutgers University
Cambridge University
University of East Anglia
Glasgow University
University of Aberdeen

Janet Margaret Todd (born 10 September 1942) is a British academic and author. She was educated at Cambridge University and the University of Florida, where she undertook a doctorate on the poet John Clare.[1]


Academic career[edit]

She has worked in universities in Ghana (Cape Coast), Puerto Rico (Mayaguez), North America (New Brunswick), India (New Delhi), England (Norwich) and Scotland (Glasgow); she is an Emerita Professor of English Literature at the University of Aberdeen.[citation needed] From 2008-15 she was president of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge and is an Honorary Fellow of the College and of Newnham College. She is now a full-time novelist and researcher living in Cambridge.[citation needed]


Todd's writing concerns literature and culture of the Restoration and eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Over a long career she has published more than 35 critical and biographical books and collections of essays, mainly on women authors, women's writing, cultural history and the development of fiction. She has edited full scale editions of Mary Wollstonecraft (with Marilyn Butler) and Aphra Behn, as well as individual works of women such as Charlotte Smith, Helen Maria Williams, Mary Shelley, Mary Carleton and Eliza Fenwick.[citation needed]

She is the General Editor of the nine-volume The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen, editor of the volume Jane Austen in Context, and co-editing Persuasion and Later Manuscripts[2] and author of the Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen. In the US she started the first journal devoted to women writers and more recently in the UK she has been the co-founder with Marie Mulvey-Roberts of Women's Writing.

In 2016 her first novel, A Man of Genius, was published by Bitter Lemon Press.[citation needed]


In the 2013 New Year Honours, Todd was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) "for services to higher education and literary scholarship".[3][4]

Selected publications[edit]

Secret Life of Aphra Behn. André Deutsch. 1996. ISBN 0-8135-2455-5. 

This biography of Aphra Behn examines her position as the first woman to earn her living from writing, with discussion of the explicitly sexual nature of Behn's plays and poetry, and her involvement in Restoration literature, politics and intrigue.

Mary Wollstonecraft : A Revolutionary Life. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. 2000. ISBN 0-231-12184-9. 

This biography of Mary Wollstonecraft argues that her life and letters are her most lasting legacy. Her story was extraordinarily scandalous in conventional terms, yet in her own terms always principled and highly moral.

The Complete Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft. Columbia University Press. 2004. ISBN 0-7139-9600-5. 

This volume contains the collection of all known correspondence of Mary Wollstonecraft.

Daughters of Ireland. New York: Ballantine Books. 2004. ISBN 0-345-44763-8.  (published as Rebel Daughters: Ireland in Conflict in the USA)

This is a biography of Margaret King and Mary King daughters of Robert Lord Kingsborough, later Earl of Kingston, of Mitchelstown Castle during the time of Irish rebellion. The radical Mary Wollstonecraft was hired as their governess.

The Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2006. ISBN 978-0-521-67469-0. 

An introduction to Jane Austen, her works and literary influences, including a summary of the literary criticism to date for each of her six published novels

Death & the Maidens: Fanny Wollstonecraft and the Shelley Circle. London: Profile Books;Berkeley: Counterpoint. 2007. ISBN 978-1-58243-339-4. 

A biography of the Fanny Wollstonecraft, daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and half-sister of Mary Godwin Shelley, whose own infatuation with Percy Bysshe Shelley took a backseat when her sister eloped with the poet and who ended her life at the age of 22.

Later Manuscripts of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2009. ISBN 978-0-521-84348-5. 

Edited with Linda Bree. This volume collects together, for the first time, all the literary manuscripts from Jane Austen's adult years, together with letters discussing the art of fiction, and her record of responses to her novels.


  1. ^ Sutherland, John (21 March 2006). "Interview: Janet Todd". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60367. p. 14. 29 December 2012.
  4. ^ "New Year Honours List 2013 - General List" (PDF). Cabinet Office. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 

External links[edit]

  • Profile, lucy-cav.cam.ac.uk; accessed 30 May 2016.
  • Profile, abdn.ac.uk; accessed 30 May 2016.
  • Janet Todd interview, theGuardian.com, 21 March 2006; accessed 30 May 2016.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Dame Veronica Sutherland
President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Jackie Ashley