James Vigus

English Literature, Queen Mary University of London

Dr James Vigus is Senior Lecturer in English at Queen Mary University of London (2012-present). He was previously a research fellow at the Department of English and American Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Between completing his PhD in English at Cambridge in 2006 and joining the LMU, he held Leverhulme Trust and DAAD-funded postdocs at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

James Vigus specializes in the literature and philosophy of the period of European Romanticism. His research focuses especially on Anglo-German cultural transfer in this period. In the long term, he is working on a critical edition of the autobiographical Reminiscences of Henry Crabb Robinson, lawyer, diarist, journalist and an important traveller to Germany in the early nineteenth century. This follows up the critical edition of Robinson’s Essays on Kant, Schelling, and German Aesthetics (2010). Vigus has also worked extensively on Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his circle. His thematic interests include the writing of religious nonconformists, and Romantic-period travel writing.

The project ‘Romantic Hamburg’ will study the accounts of British (literary) travellers to Hamburg from 1789 to 1806, from the French Revolution to the Franzosenzeit. This project will for the first time treat their accounts comparatively, as a group. The primary sources include Mary Wollstonecraft’s Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (1796); letters by William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Henry Crabb Robinson, and the radical novelist Thomas Holcroft; a portion of the Life and Letters of Thomas Campbell (1849); and the travel diary of the political economist Thomas Malthus. The project will compare the British writers’ critiques of commerce with those of German contemporaries. An over-arching question will be: how important is Hamburg in the process of identity formation characteristic of ‘Romantic’ travel? A second part of the study will address movement in the other direction. This section of the research will focus on a key portion of the extraordinary life of Wilhelm Benecke (1776-1837), merchant, marine insurance specialist, theologian, and emigrant from Hamburg to England.

James Vigus‘ collaboration partner is Ute Berns, professor for British Studies at Universität Hamburg.

His HIAS Fellowship is provided by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the federal and state funds acquired by Universität Hamburg in the framework of its Excellence Strategy.


James Vigus


Universität Hamburg 


Prof. Dr. Ute Berns, Professor for English Studies, British Literature and Culture at Universität Hamburg

Förderung durch das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) sowie der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg im Rahmen der Exzellenzstrategie von Bund und Ländern der Universität Hamburg


Maps, Hamburg 1790, Varendorf