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Dr David O'Shaughnessy B.A. (Dublin), M.A. (N.U.I.), D.Phil (Oxon), F.T.C.D. Associate Professor; Director of Research

Research and Teaching Interests

I studied English and French at TCD before completing an MA in Culture and Colonialism at NUI, Galway. I wrote my DPhil thesis on the theatre of William Godwin at the University of Oxford in 2007 before being elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at Linacre College, Oxford. During my time at Linacre, I co-edited  the diary of William Godwin which was awarded the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Digital Prize for 2012. I also published William Godwin and the Theatre (2010) and a complementary edition of Godwin's plays from manuscripts held at the Huntington Library in California and the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the latter facilitated by a Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr Research Grant awarded by the Keats-Shelley Association of America.

After my work on Godwin, I developed an interest in Irish writing in eighteenth-century London, particularly theatre. I held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Warwick where I edited a special issue of the journal Eighteenth-Century Life titled Networks of Aspiration: the London Irish of the Eighteenth Century (2015). 

On moving to Dublin in 2012 I was awarded a Marie Curie Career Integration grant  (2013-17) for a project on 'The Censorship of British Theatre, 1737-1843.' This project is bringing together manuscripts held at the Huntington Library and the British Library in an online resource that will allow scholars map theatre censorship across the period. In 2019 I convened a conference on theatre censorship at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles which finds me now editing a volume of essays titled The Censorship of Eighteenth-Century Theatre: Playhouses and Prohibition, 1737-1843 for Cambridge University Press due to be published in 2020. A project which brought my interests in censorship and Irish writing together is just complete: Ireland, Enlightenment, and the English Stage, 1740-1820 (Cambridge University Press, 2019), an edited volume which assesses the contribution Irish theatrical practitioners made to the Georgian stage, particularly those theatres in London, and argues that we can consider it an important strand of Irish Enlightenment activity.

I am interested in the history play of the period as well and was fortunate enough to receive a Marie Curie Global Fellowship in 2017 which facilitated a sabbatical at the Huntington Library to work on this project. During my time in the US, I collaborated with Ian Newman on Irish actor and playwright Charles Macklin and we are now co-editing Charles Macklin and the Practice of Enlightenment for Liverpool University Press (forthcoming in 2020). I was also involved in two productions of Macklin’s great comedy Love à la Mode (1759) at Smock Alley in 2016 and 2017.

Recently, I have been working a lot on Oliver Goldsmith, one of Trinity’s notable alumni. I edited, with Michael Griffin, The Letters of Oliver Goldsmith for Cambridge University Press (2019) and we are now working on an edition of Goldsmith’s collected works (8 volumes) also for Cambridge.  I have written a number of book chapters and journal articles on eighteenth-century topics: a full list of my publications can be seen here.

I teach freshman and sophister courses related to eighteenth-century literary culture. I also teach seminars on the eighteenth century for the MPhil in Irish Writing. I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students in any of these areas: Irish and British theatre of the eighteenth-century; British radicalism of the 1790s; literature and the Enlightenment; the Jacobin novel; clubs and societies in the eighteenth century, and eighteenth-century Dissenting culture.


Room 5090
Dr David O'Shaughnessy
School of English
Arts Building
Trinity College Room
Dublin 2

Telephone: (+353 1 8964721)
Office Hours: Wednesday 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. or by appointment.

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