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Professor Simon Barker

Professor of English Literature | +44(0) 1243 816234

Simon Barker is Professor of English Literature. He has a BA (Hons) degree in English and History from the University of Stirling and a PhD and PGCE (FE) from the University of Wales (Cardiff University). 

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 

His teaching career began with the English and Education departments at Cardiff, the Workers’ Educational Association, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. 

Since then he has worked at several universities in Britain, including as Head of English at what is now the University of Winchester. 

Before coming to Chichester in 2013 he led the School of Humanities at the University of Lincoln. 

He has been a Visiting Professor at several universities in Italy and the USA.


His teaching has ranged across the curriculum to include core modules on genre, critical theory, and medieval and Renaissance literature, as well as British, American and European theatre (from the Greeks to the Moderns) and the twentieth- and twenty-first-century novel. 

In addition to leadership roles in several Departments of English and Humanities, Professor Barker has developed and co-ordinated an MA degree, ERASMUS exchange programmes at two universities, and an American exchange programme.

He has been an External Examiner at BA, MA, MPhil and PhD level at a number of universities, including Glasgow, Southampton, Birmingham (the Shakespeare Institute), Sheffield and Exeter.

Professor Barker has been the recipient of a number of research grants, ranging from a major AHRB award supporting a year’s research leave to payment in kind from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for travel to Canada.


Work published in the last five years, in press or forthcoming.

1. [Book Chapter] ‘Shakespeare, Stratford and the Second World War’ in Irena R. Makaryk and Marissa McHugh (eds), Wartime Shakespeare in a Global Context: Memory, Culture, Identity (Toronto, Buffalo and London: Toronto University Press, 2012), pp. 199 - 217.

2. [Book Chapter] Simon Barker, ‘“Lost Property”: John Galsworthy and the search for “that stuffed shirt” in Carrie Smith and Lisa Stead (eds), The Boundaries of the Literary Archive: Reclamation and Representation (Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 91-104.

3. [Book Chapter] Simon Barker, ‘“Undoing Kyd”: the Texts of the Spanish Tragedy’, in Nicoleta Cinpoes (ed), Doing Kyd (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016), pp. 75 – 87.

4. [Pamphlet and Blog] Simon Barker, commentary on image: ‘Our House at Bayeux Sept 21 1818’. ACQUISITION BRAY 4/1 ‘Drawings by Anna Eliza Bray, also drawings by her when she was Anna Eliza Stothard, the husband of Charles Alfred Stothard, made at various times from nature’ in West Sussex Record Office: 70th Anniversary, 1946 – 2016, West Sussex County Council 2016), p. 8.

5. [Book Chapter] Simon Barker, ‘“Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows”: Conflict and Desire in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Songs of Leonard Cohen’ in Peter Billingham (ed), Leonard Cohen: Spirituality and Desire in Leonard Cohen’s Songs and Poem: Visions from the Tower of Song (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars, 2017), pp. 11 – 26.

6. [Journal article] Simon Barker and Eva Ritter, ‘“The Minions of their Race”: Macbeth, Golgotha, and the Equine Carnivores’ for the American journal The Crow. [Article for a long-standing American Shakespeare journal. This is an experimental collaboration with Dr Eva Ritter, an environmental scientist working at Aalborg University in Denmark. It explores ecological approaches to the natural disorders in Shakespeare’s play in relation to early-modern volcanic activity in Iceland and recorded ‘fall-out’ and pollution in Scotland.] (Publication 2017).

7. [Book Chapter] Simon Barker, ‘Farce and Force: Shakespearean Comedy, Militarism, and Violence’ in Heather A. Hirschfeld (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press for 2017).

8. [Magazine Article] ‘Shakespeare and the Flying Scotsman in the London Magazine (Publication in 2017). [Article concerning the United States tour by the Flying Scotsman locomotive which pulled an exhibition train featuring the Royal Shakespeare Company. The article concerns Shakespeare, national identity, Scotland, theatre and commerce]. (Publication in 2017).

9. [Book Chapter] Simon Barker, ‘Shakespeare 300 and his Just War’ in Franziska Quabeck (ed), Just War Theory (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) [Chapter analysing the celebrations and publications which took place around the anniversary of the death of Shakespeare in 1916 during the First World War]. (Publication 2017/18).

10. [Book] Monograph on the work and reputation of John Galsworthy, playwright, novelist, campaigner and ‘forgotten’ Nobel Laureate. [Original study of the work and reputation of John Galsworthy. The book also examines the television, film and radio adaptations of The Forsyte Saga with particular attention being paid to the 1967 26-part BBC serialisation]. (Publication 2017/18).

Published Books (selected)

1. Simon Barker (ed), 'Tis Pity She's a Whore Routledge English Texts Series (London and New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. x + 156. ISBN 0 415 04947 4 (paperback).

[Republished as] Simon Barker (ed), ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore Routledge English Texts Series (London and New York: Taylor & Francis, 2001), pp. 176. Master eBook ISBN 0-203-13494-X. [e-book].

2. Simon Barker and Hilary Hinds (eds), The Routledge Anthology of Renaissance Drama (London and New York: Routledge, 2003), pp. 457. ISBN 0 415 18733 8 (hardback), ISBN 0 415 18734 6 (paperback). Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy, Arden of Faversham (anon.), Christopher Marlowe, Edward II, Thomas Heywood, A Woman Killed with Kindness, Elizabeth Cary, The Tragedy of Mariam, Ben Jonson, The Masque of Blackness, Francis Beaumont, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Ben Jonson, Epicoene, Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker, The Roaring Girl, Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, The Changeling, and John Ford, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore. Reprinted seven times.

3. Simon Barker (ed), Shakespeare’s Problem Plays (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 237. ISBN-13: 978 0 333 65427 ISBN-10 0 333 65427 (hardback), ISBN-13 978 0 333 65428 6, ISBN-10 0 333 65428 5 (paperback).

4. Simon Barker, The Gentle Craft (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. xxxvii + 367. ISBN 0 7546 3894 4 (hardback).

5. Simon Barker, War and Nation in the Theatre of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), pp. viii + 272. ISBN 978 0 7486 2765 3 (hardback).

6. Simon Barker and Jo Gill (eds), Literature as History: Essays in Honour of Peter Widdowson. Essays by Catherine Belsey, Helen Carr, Simon Dentith, Tim Dolin, Terry Eagleton, John Lucas, Philip W. Martin, Martin Randall, R.C. Richardson, Shelley Saguaro, Judy Simons, Stan Smith (London and New York: Continuum Press, 2010), pp. xv + 189. ISBN 978 0 8264 3385 5 (hardback) + ISBN 978 1 4411 7431 4 (paperback).

Edited Conference Proceedings

1. Simon Barker and Colin Haydon (eds), Winchester: History and Literature (York: KAC, 1992), pp. viii + 107. ISBN 0 907245 04 8. The proceedings of a Conference in Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Founding of King Alfred’s College held on 16th March 1991.

Published Chapters in Books (selected)

1. ‘Images of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’ in Confronting the Crisis: Proceedings of the Essex Sociology of Literature Conference, July 1983 (Colchester: University of Essex Press, 1984).

[Republished with an introduction as] ‘Images of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries as a History of the Present’ in Literature, Politics & Theory, New Accents Series (London and New York: Methuen, 1986).

[Republished in Chinese with an introduction as] ‘Images of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries as a History of the Present’ in Literature, Politics & Theory (Chinese Translation) (Camel Publishing Co. by arrangement with Routledge in association with Bardon-Chinese Media Agency, 1996).

[Republished with an introduction as] ‘Images of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries as a History of the Present’ in Terence Hawkes (ed), Literature, Politics & Theory, New Accents Series Library Edition, Volume F, Literature and Society (London and New York: Routledge, 2003).

2.  ‘“The Double-armed Man” - Images of the Medieval in Early Modern Military Idealism’ in John Simons (ed), From Medieval to Medievalism (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992)

3. ‘“But you must learn to know such slanders of the age...” - Literary Theory in the Study of Shakespeare’ in J.M.Q. Davies (ed), Bridging the Gap: Literary Theory in the Classroom (Connecticut: Locust Hill, 1994).

4. ‘“A Matter of Mere contemplation...” The Politics of “Ease” and “Pleasure” in the Plays of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries’ in Mirella Billi, Lidia Curti, Elio Di Piazza and Daniela Corona (eds), Le Apertura Del Testo (Palermo: Università di Palermo 1995).

5. ‘“Between their titles and low name”: Shakespeare, Nation and the Contemporary Roi Fainéant” in Tracey Hill and William Hughes (eds), Contemporary Writing and National Identity (Bath: Sulis Press, 1995).

6. ‘Re-loading the Canon - Shakespeare and the Study Guides’ in John J. Joughin (ed), Shakespeare and National Culture (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997).

7. ‘Dressing Up for War: Militarism in Early Modern Culture’ in Aránzazu Usandizaga and Andrew Monnickendam (eds) Dressing Up for War: Transformations of Gender and Genre in the Discourse and Literature of War (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2001).

8. ‘“Allarme to England!”; Gender and Militarism in Early Modern England’ in Penny Richards and Jessica Munns (eds) Gender, Power, and Privilege in Early Modern Europe, Women and Men in History Series (Harlow and London: Longman, 2003).

9. ‘“It’s An Actor, Boss, Unarmed”: the Rhetoric of Julius Caesar’ in Horst Zander (ed), Julius Caesar: New Critical Essays (London and New York: Routledge, 2005).

10. “Faking It”: Provenance, Persuasion, and the Renaissance Military Subject’ in Ros King and Paul Franssen (eds), Shakespeare and War in Europe (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

Published Articles in Journals (Selected)

1. ‘Coriolanus: Texts and Histories’ in Peggy Knapp (ed), Assays: Critical Approaches to Medieval and Renaissance Texts (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press), Vol IV, 1986.

2. ‘Shakespeare, War and the National Landscape’ in Arena (Victoria, Australia), Vol. 83, Winter 1988.

3. ‘The Armada Year: Literature, Popular Histories and the Question of Heritage’ in Daniela Corona (ed), Comunicazione Sociale e Testo Letterario, Annali della Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia dell’Università di Palermo (Palermo: Università di Palermo, 1990).

4. ‘“Period” Detective Drama and the Limits of Contemporary Nostalgia: Inspector Morse and the Strange Case of a Lost England’ in Critical Survey (Oxford: Oxford University Press) Vol. 6. No 2, 1994.

5. ‘Bard or Bored? Shakespeare’s Place in the Curriculum and the Academy’ in Speech and Drama, Vol. 43:1, Spring 1994.

6. ‘The Mary Rose Revisited: Tudor Myth, Popular History and “The tears that England owes”’ in the Journal of Popular Culture (Bowling Green, Ohio), Vol.29.3, Winter 1995.

7. Simon Barker and Venetia Hill, ‘A Month in Shakespeare Country: Shakespeare, Theory and Historicism’ in Literature and History (Manchester: Manchester University Press) Third Series, Vol 5:1, Spring 1996.

8. ‘Marx and Spenser: Some Timely New Lines’ in Irish Studies Review, Vol.6, No.3, 1998.

9. ‘“The drugs don’t work”: Theatre, Theory ... and After’ in Literature and History (Manchester: Manchester University Press) Third Series, Vol 10, No. 2, Autumn 2001.

10. ‘“We gather honey from the weed”: Shakespearean Manoeuvres in the Deserts of Iraq’ in La Torre di Babele: Revista di Letteratura e Linguistica (Parma: Monte Università Parma) No. 6, 2010.


1. Member of the founding committee of the Literature Teaching Politics group and the Editorial Board of the first LTP journal (University of Wales, Cardiff, 1982) also contributing an article, '”A Proper Grown Up Novel”' – the Politics of Watership Down’.

2. Reviews Editor for Speech and Drama, the Journal of the Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama, from Vol. 37, No. 2, Autumn 1988 to Vol. 44, No. 2, Autumn 1996.

3. Guest Editor for Wartime Refractions, a Special Issue of Literature and History (Manchester: Manchester University Press), Third Series, Vol. 11, No. 2, Autumn 2002.

Published Lectures

1. Simon Barker, Mahler’s Goethe: the Literary Contexts of the Eighth Symphony, Three Choirs Pre-Festival Series (Cheltenham and Gloucester: The Cyder Press, 2007), pp. 20. Public Lecture.

2. Simon Barker, Like a Soldier to the Stage: Field Commander Hamlet and the Ends of Tragedy (University of Gloucestershire: The Cyder Press, 2009), pp. 28. ISBN 978 86174 197 4. Inaugural Lecture.

Programme Notes

1. Simon Barker, Programme Notes for ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore, Inaugural Production at Lincoln School of Performing Arts (directed by Michael Earley, produced by Nicola Wood), Thursday 23 – Sunday 6 November 2006 (University of Lincoln: Faculty of Media and Humanities, 2006).

2. Simon Barker, Programme Notes for John Galsworthy’s Strife, directed by Bertie Carvel at the Chichester Festival Theatre 12 August – 10 September 2016: ‘Galsworthy: Playwright, Novelist, Campaigner’.


Over 30 book reviews in academic journals including: The British American (UK/ USA); Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Research (USA); Speech and Drama (UK); Literature and History (UK)

Papers, Lectures, etc. since 2000 (Selected)

[Over forty earlier conference papers, academic and public lectures, school visits and other kinds of presentation in the UK, other European countries and the USA]

1. ‘Confronting the Crisis: Twenty Years On’: lecture given at the Department of Literature, University of Essex, 2 May 2002.

2. ‘“Faking It”: Provenance, Persuasion, and the Renaissance Military Subject’: paper for the London Shakespeare Seminar organised by King’s College, London under the auspices of the Institute for English Studies at the Senate House, 10 November 2003.

3. ‘Shakespeare’s “Unarmed” Rhetoric of War’: paper for the Shakespeare and War Seminar at the Shakespeare and European Politics Conference, Utrecht, Netherlands, 4 - 7 December 2003.

4. ‘“Faking It”: Provenance, Persuasion, and the Renaissance Military Subject’: lecture given in the Open Lectures Series at the University of Gloucestershire, 19 February, 2004.

5. ‘“Faking It”: Provenance, Persuasion, and the Renaissance Military Subject’. Lecture given at Manchester Metropolitan University, 24 March, 2004.

6. ‘Christopher Marlowe: Official records state Christopher Marlowe’s death was the result of a drunken fight – but was it more serious? Louise Welsh, Simon Barker and Rodney Bolt combine fact with fiction to discuss a most colourful life and an even more intriguing death’: event at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature 8 - 17 October, 2004: 13 October, chaired by Peter Guttridge.

7. Lecture on Thomas Deloney’s The Gentle Craft and its relation to Thomas Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday given at Bath Spa University College, 11 March 2005.

8. ‘Commitment and Refusal: State Terrorism and the Early Modern Subject’: paper given at the Early Modern Terrorism: Atrocity and Political Violence 1500-1700 conference held at the Imperial War Museum North 5 - 6 November 2005.

9. ‘“Look back into your mighty ancestors”: Re-membering Henry V for the Workplace’: paper given at the History and Memory conference at the Jagiellonian University, organised by SHINE/ Shakespeare in Europe, the Institute of English Philology, the Jagiellonian University Polish Shakespeare Society, the Institute of Modern Languages, the Pedagogical University in Kraków, and in cooperation with the British Council in Europe, Kraków, Poland, 17-20 November 2005.

10. ‘“The Egyptian Woman at Black-wall”: Narratives of Inclusion in Thomas Deloney’s The Gentle Craft’: paper given at the London in Text and History, 1400-1700 conference, Jesus College, Oxford, 13-15 September 2007.

11. ‘The Life and Work of John Galsworthy’: lecture given in the Village Hall in Bury, Sussex in May 2009.

12. ‘Shakespeare, Stratford and the Second World War’: paper given at the Wartime Shakespeare in a Global Context/ Shakespeare au temps de la guerre conference, University of Ottawa, Canada, 18 - 20 September 2009.

13. ‘John Galsworthy and The Forsyte Saga’: lecture for Atworth (Somerset) Women’s Institute, 21 January 2010, given in the Village Hall, Atworth.

14. ‘”We gather honey from the weed’: Shakespearean Manoeuvres in the Deserts of Iraq”: paper given at the International Shakespeare Conference at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon (University of Birmingham), 8 – 13 August 2010.

15. 'Lost Property': John Galsworthy, Dartmoor, and the search for "that stuffed shirt": paper given at the Reclamations and Representations: the Boundaries of the Literary Archive, University of Exeter 2 - 3 October 2010.

16. 'Shakespeare at "HK"': paper given at the Shakespeare: Puzzles, Mysteries, Investigations conference. University of Chichester, 29 October 2010.

17. ‘I have an Idea!’. Simon Barker, Victoria Glendinning and Marjorie Ann Watts meet to discuss the origins of PEN in 1921 and the role of its creator Amy Scott Dawson, and first President, John Galsworthy. Event held at the Free Word Centre, 15 February 2011, chaired by Jonathan Heawood, the Director of English Pen.

18. 'Lost Property: John Galsworthy and the search for "that stuffed shirt"': Research Paper for the School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies, University of Portsmouth, 2012. 

19.  ‘Shakespeare, War & Nation. Shakespeare knew as much about war as he did about love. The England and Europe that he knew were the products of war, and conflict was never far from the mind of the average Elizabethan theatregoer. Simon Barker explores the historical background to Shakespeare's preoccupation with warfare and also considers the way that his plays have been addressed in more recent times for what they to say about how militarism affects us today’: Public Lecture under the auspices of the University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Central Library, 6 May 2014.

20. ‘The Many Faces of John Galsworthy’, lecture for Chichester Literary Society, February 2015.

21. ‘A Map of Sussex Literary Figures’: public lecture given for the South Downs National Park Authority at the South Downs Centre, Midhurst, 7 December 2015.

22. ‘Shakespeare – the man, the myth, the legend’, lecture for Chichester Literary Society, April 2016.

23. ‘Shakespeare and War: The Comedies’: public lecture at Shakespeare 400: New Perspectives, an anniversary conference organised by the Chichester Festival Theatre in partnership with the University of Chichester’s Department of English & Creative Writing and the British Shakespeare Association, 24 April 2016.

24. ‘Play Power’, A political theme runs through some of the Festival 2016 plays. Join a panel of academics and students from the University of Chichester as they take An Enemy of the People as a starting point to discuss the trajectory and significance of overtly political theatre from the late nineteenth century to the present. Chichester Festival theatre, 14 May 2016.

25. "‘The Minions of their Race’: Macbeth, Golgotha, and the Equine Carnivores": The project explores ecological approaches to the natural disorders in Macbeth in relation to evidence of early-modern volcanic activity in Iceland and its effects in Scotland, recorded by scientific data/observation and in the cultural legacy of the two countries and beyond. Paper given at the University of Chichester Research Conference, 8 July 2016.

26.  ‘A Timely Revival: The Life and Work of John Galsworthy’, lecture at Chichester Festival Theatre, 7 September 2016.


Professor Barker has published as a cultural historian and critic in the area of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, medieval and Renaissance poetry and prose, and on subjects as diverse as the work of the composer and conductor Gustav Mahler, the poet and recording artist Leonard Cohen, the Inspector Morse television series, and the marine archaeology of Henry VIII’s warship, the Mary Rose.

He has also written on the relations between theatre and warfare, critical theory and practice, and literature and historiography. He has directed plays and worked as a dramaturg on a number of productions.

His books include: an edition of John Ford’s seventeenth-century play ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Routledge); The Gentle Craft (Ashgate); Shakespeare’s Problem Plays (Palgrave Macmillan); The Routledge Anthology of Renaissance Drama (with Hilary Hinds); War and Nation in the Theatre of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries (Edinburgh University Press); and Literature as History: Essays in Honour of Peter Widdowson (with Jo Gill) (Continuum).

He guest-edited the interdisciplinary journal Literature and History with an issue entitled Wartime Refractions for Manchester University Press. He is currently working on a new biography of the playwright and novelist John Galsworthy due out in 2017. This will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the writer’s birth and the 50th anniversary of the BBC’s television production of The Forsyte Saga.

He has also been writing chapters and articles for The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy (Oxford University Press), a book on just war theory (for Palgrave Macmillan), and on ecological approaches to Macbeth for an American Shakespeare journal.

PHD Supervision

Professor Barker has successfully supervised many PhD students to completion, mostly in the fields of Shakespeare and early modern literature and drama, theatre history and criticism. 

He invites interest from new doctoral students interested in his areas of expertise.

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