Dr Uttara Natarajan

Staff details

Dr Uttara Natarajan


Reader in English Literature


English and Creative Writing


u.natarajan (@gold.ac.uk)

Goldsmiths Research Centres/Groups

Romantic and Victorian literature, with a focus on non-fiction prose, especially the essay genre.

My research is in Romantic and Victorian literature, with a concentration on prose non-fiction. I have a particular expertise in the work of the early nineteenth-century essayist, William Hazlitt, and more broadly, in the essay genre. My current research project is a monograph on the impact of the Romantic essay on the development of realism in the early and mid-Victorian eras. I have published widely on Hazlitt and other major Romantic and Victorian writers, including Keats, Lamb, Shelley, Dickens, Ruskin, and Pater. A concern with the ethical standing of the English literature of the nineteenth century, for its contemporaries and for us today, underpins my research throughout. Outside of nineteenth-century literature, I also have an interest, sustained by my own personal and political history, in south Indian culture and caste politics.

Academic qualifications

  • DPhil, University of Oxford 1995
  • MPhil in English Romantic Studies, University of Oxford 1991
  • BA (Hons) in English, University of Cambridge 1988
  • BSc in Mathematics, University of Madras, India 1986

Research interests

My first monograph, Hazlitt and the Reach of Sense (OUP, 1998), was on the critic and essayist, William Hazlitt (1778-1830). Engaging the range of Hazlitt’s writings, including art and literary criticism, political journalism, and conversational essays, my monograph uncovered the shared philosophical basis of his aesthetics, politics, and ethics. Subsequent publications on Hazlitt have focused on his Shakespeare criticism, and on his influence on the younger generation of Romantic writers, such as Keats and Shelley. My survey of Romantic-era scholarship, The Romantic Poets (Blackwell, 2007), was published in the Blackwell Guides to Criticism series. In the last decade, my research has extended into the Victorian era. I have published extensively on the non-fiction prose of the era, by writers such as Ruskin, Pater, and Dickens, attending especially to the way in which its debts to, and divergences from, certain key Romantic forebears have shaped its characteristic ethical emphases. I am developing this research into a monograph that tracks the ‘familiar style’ of the Romantic essayists to the realist practice of their Victorian successors, showing as it does so the centrality of the Romantic essay to the evolution of nineteenth-century realism. Outside of the mainstream of my research, I have published a scholarly edition, Plain Speaking (Permanent Black, 2007), of the memoirs and lectures of A.N. Sattanathan (1905-1990), architect of India’s first affirmative action policy, towards the lower castes in the state of Tamil Nadu. Current doctoral supervision includes research on Charlotte Brontë’s fiction and two AHRC-funded projects, one on the poet Edward Fitzgerald, and the other on the impact of nineteenth-century English literary models on the development of Tamil prose in the early decades of the twentieth century. I welcome research supervision across the Romantic and Victorian eras.

Grants and awards

2021: AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award: Tamil Modernity and English Prose

Publications and research outputs


Natarajan, Uttara. 2015. The Connell Guide to Charles Dickens's Hard Times. London: Connell Guides Publishing. ISBN 9781907776281

Natarajan, Uttara. 1998. Hazlitt and the Reach of Sense. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0198184379

Edited Book

Natarajan, Uttara; Paulin, Tom and Wu, Duncan, eds. 2015. Metaphysical Hazlitt: Bicentenary Essays. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1138010253

Natarajan, Uttara, ed. 2007. The Romantic Poets: A Guide to Criticism. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0631229315

Natarajan, Uttara, ed. 2007. Plain Speaking: A Sudra’s Story. Delhi: Permanent Black. ISBN 978-8178241814

Book Section

Natarajan, Uttara. 2024. Styling the Other: Hazlitt's 'The Indian Jugglers'. In: Charlotte Grant and Alistair Robinson, eds. Cultures of London: Legacies of Migration. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781350242036

Natarajan, Uttara. 2010. William Hazlitt. In: Adrian Poole, ed. Great Shakespeareans, Volume IV: Lamb, Hazlitt, Keats. 4 London: Continuum, pp. 64-108. ISBN 9780826424365

Natarajan, Uttara. 2005. Circle of Sympathy: Shelley's Hazlitt. In: Uttara Natarajan; Tom Paulin and Duncan Wu, eds. Metaphysical Hazlitt: Bicentenary Essays. Oxon: Routledge, pp. 111-122. ISBN 9781138010253


Natarajan, Uttara. 2020. Charles Dickens’s Realism and the Romantic Essayists. SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 60(4), pp. 761-781. ISSN 0039-3657

Natarajan, Uttara. 2017. Ruskin on Imagination: A Via Negativa. Philological Quarterly, 96(3), pp. 373-394. ISSN 0031-7977

Natarajan, Uttara. 2012. The Spirit of His Age: Hazlitt and Pater on Lamb. Nineteenth-Century Literature, 66(4), pp. 449-64. ISSN 0891-9356

Professional projects

I am a member of the Founding Committee of the Hazlitt Society, which came into being in the aftermath of the restoration of Hazlitt’s memorial stone by public subscription in St. Anne’s Church, Soho. With Gregory Dart at UCL, I organize the annual lecture of the Society and the annual Hazlitt Day School. I am Editor-in Chief of The Hazlitt Review, currently the pre-eminent forum for the publication of new research on Hazlitt.

Media engagements