Rosemary Ashton

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Rosemary Doreen Ashton, OBE, FBA (née Thomson; born 11 April 1947) is a British literary scholar. From 2002 to 2012, she was the Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at University College London (UCL).[1][2][3] Her reviews appear in the London Review of Books.[4]

Education and Career[edit]

She was educated at the universities of Aberdeen, Heidelberg, and Cambridge, where her doctoral research was on the reception of German literature in British magazines in the early 1800s.[5]

After lecturing at the University of Birmingham, she started her long teaching and research association with UCL in 1974.

She is a fellow of the British Academy, of the Royal Society of Literature, and of the Royal Society of Arts, and has served on a number of editorial and literary boards, including the George Eliot Fellowship, the advisory board of Carlyle Studies Annual, the advisory board of the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations at Queen Mary, University of London, and the board of the Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies. She is a senior research fellow at the Institute of English Studies in the School of Advanced Studies, University of London.[5]

She was the creator of the UCL Bloomsbury Project, which was established to investigate 19th-century Bloomsbury’s development "from swampy rubbish-dump to centre of intellectual life", tracing the origins, Bloomsbury locations, and reforming significance of hundreds of progressive and innovative institutions.[6]


In the 1999 New Year Honours, Ashton was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) "for services to comparative literature".[7] In 2000, she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.[8]


  • Little Germany: exile and asylum in Victorian England, Oxford University Press, 1986, ISBN 9780192122391
  • G.H. Lewes: An Unconventional Victorian, Pimlico, 1991, ISBN 9780712666893
  • George Eliot: a life, Penguin Books, 1996, ISBN 9780140242911
  • 142 Strand: A Radical Address in Victorian London, Random House UK, 2006, ISBN 9780701173708
  • Victorian Bloomsbury, Yale University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780300154481[9][10]
  • One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858, Yale University Press, 2017, ISBN 9780300227260


  1. ^ "Rosemary Ashton". City Centre. University College London. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Rosemary Doreen Ashton". Debrett's. Debrett's. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  3. ^ "ASHTON, Prof. Rosemary Doreen". Who's Who 2017. Oxford University Press. November 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Rosemary Ashton In the LRB Archive". London Review of Books. LRB Limited. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Professor Rosemary Ashton, OBE, FRSL, FBA". University College London. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  6. ^ "What is the Bloomsbury Project?". Bloomsbury Project. University College London. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  7. ^ "No. 55354". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1998. p. 9.
  8. ^ "Professor Rosemary Ashton". British Academy. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  9. ^ Hughes, Kathryn (14 December 2012). "Victorian Bloomsbury by Rosemary Ashton – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 April 2013. In her absorbing book, researched from the ground up, Rosemary Ashton maps out a cultural history of Bloomsbury in the 19th century.
  10. ^ Flanders, Judith (19 September 2012). "Victorian Bloomsbury by Rosemary Ashton: review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 April 2013. That Ashton has managed to tame “Bloomsbury”, and present it in such a coherent, digestible fashion, is triumph indeed.