Dr Tim Parnell

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer in English
Email t.parnell (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7452
Dr Tim Parnell

Tim Parnell is Senior Lecturer in English. His publications include Constructing Christopher Marlowe (co-edited with J. A. Downie) and critical editions of Tristram Shandy and A Sentimental Journey. He has written widely on Laurence Sterne, Jonathan Swift, aspects of eighteenth-century culture and the broader traditions of the novel. He is a contributing editor of The Scriblerian and is currently completing Laurence Sterne: A Literary Life. His teaching focuses on the eighteenth century and the history of the novel from Rabelais and Cervantes to the present day.

He is Literary Director of the Goldsmiths Prize, which he conceived and set up in 2013.

Academic qualifications 

  • BA (Hons) English, Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, 1985
  • PhD, Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, 1996


Dr Tim Parnell served as a lecturer in English at the University of Central England in Birmingham from 1993-1994 before being appointed at Goldsmiths’ College in 1994. Tim is convenor of The Art of the Novel (BA) and Postmodernist Fiction (MA) and also teaches Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature.

Areas of supervision

  • Laurence Sterne
  • 18th-century literature, especially prose fiction, narrative satire and the culture of sensibility
  • Menippean satire and anti-encyclopedism from the Renaissance to the postmodern

Featured work

Book section

‘Laurence Sterne, Author of the Tale?’ in Reading Swift: Papers from The Sixth Münster Symposium on Jonathan Swift, (eds.) Kirsten Juhas, Hermann J. Real, and Sandra Simon (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2013), 581–593.

Keynote lecture

‘Sterne and mid-century fiction: the “vast empire of biographical freebooters” and the “crying volume,”’ The 1st International Laurence Sterne Foundation Conference Northumbria University and the Lit & Phil, 5-7 November 2015.

Media interview

Interviewing Goldsmiths Prize 2014 winner, Ali Smith:


Research Interests

Tim’s research focuses primarily on Laurence Sterne and the diverse relationships between his writing and mid-eighteenth-century print culture. Other research interests in the eighteenth century include Jonathan Swift, the ‘novel’ (especially in 1750s and 60s), satire in narrative and the place of Anglicanism in the culture of sensibility. More broadly, he is interested in the history of the novel as an international form and especially the traditions of ‘experimental’ fiction from Sterne to Knausgaard.



Parnell, Tim. 2020. Laurence Sterne: A Literary Life. Palgrave.

Parnell, Tim and Jack, I. 2003. A Sentimental Journey and other writings by Laurence Sterne. [Critical Edition] Oxford University Press [Oxford World's Classics]. ISBN 9780192839961

Parnell, Tim. 2000. Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne. London: [Critical Edition] Everyman Paperback, J. M. Dent.

Edited Book

Downie, Alan (J. A.) and Parnell, Tim, eds. 2006. Constructing Christopher Marlowe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521030519

Book Section

Parnell, Tim. 2016. Sterne’s Fiction and the Mid-Century Novel: The ‘Vast Empire of Biographical Freebooters’ and the ‘Crying Volume’. In: Alan Downie, ed. The Oxford Handbook of the Eighteenth-Century Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 264-281. ISBN 9780199566747

Parnell, Tim. 2013. 'Laurence Sterne, Author of the Tale?'. In: Kirsten Juhas; Hermann J. Real and Sandra Simon, eds. Reading Swift: Papers from the Sixth Munster Symposium on Jonathan Swift. Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, pp. 581-593. ISBN 9783770554300

Parnell, Tim. 2009. ‘The Sermons of Mr. Yorick: the commonplace and the rhetoric of the heart’. In: Thomas Keymer, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Laurence Sterne. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 64-78. ISBN ISBN 970521849722

Parnell, Tim. 1998. Swift and Lucian. In: Hermann J Real and Helgard Stöver-Leidig, eds. Reading Swift: Papers from the third Münster Symposium on Jonathan Swift. Wilhelm Fink. ISBN 978-3770532988

Parnell, Tim. 1996. 'Salman Rushdie: from Colonial Politics to Postmodern Poetics'. In: Bart J. Moore-Gilbert, ed. Writing India 1757-1990: The Literature of British India. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0719042669

Parnell, Tim. 1996. ‘Sterne and Kundera: The Novel of Variations and the “noisy foolishness of human certainty”’. In: David Pierce and Peter de Voogd, eds. Laurence Sterne in Modernism and Postmodernism. Brill | Rodopi, pp. 147-156. ISBN 978-9042000025


Parnell, Tim. 2008. ''Laurence Sterne and the Problem of Belief II'. The Shandean, 19,

Parnell, Tim. 2007. From Hack to Eccentric Genius: Tristram Shandy and A Tale of a Tub, Again. Swift Studies, 22(1), pp. 146-160. ISSN 09388036

Parnell, Tim. 2007. Sterne and Young's Conjectures on Original Composition. The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer, 21(2), pp. 12-17.

Parnell, Tim. 2006. Laurence Sterne and the Problem of Belief (1). The Shandean, 17, pp. 121-139. ISSN 09563083

Parnell, Tim. 1994. Swift, Sterne, and the Skeptical Tradition. Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, 23, pp. 221-242. ISSN 0360-2370

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