Robert Clark

Robert Clark was Reader in English at the University of East Anglia until his retirement from teaching in 2012. He was brought up in England, Ireland and Germany and received his intellectual formation at Dulwich College. He broke off studying medicine in May 1968 and for several years worked as Assistant Director of the Great Georges experimental community arts centre in Liverpool, directing "happenings" by Robert Rauschenberg and organising poetry readings by such poets as Adrian Henri and Roger McGough. He also worked as a free-lance photographer, made two documentary films, and learned the arts of bricklaying whilst rebuilding furnaces in Britain's car factories. This was, after all, the late 1960s when "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive"! After these Wanderjahre he studied European and American Literature at the University of Essex where he was inspired by the sociology of literature and Goethe's concept of Weltliteratur. He went from there to the University of East Anglia where he taught English, American and French literature, history and social thought from the 1680s to the present.

In 1989, in response to the "Bruges speech" in which Mrs Thatcher spoke about an England that was not part of Europe, he decided to reaffirm Britain's European identity by founding the European Society for the Study of English (ESSE) with the support of his colleagues in the nascent Council of University English in the UK. He served as the Founding Secretary of ESSE until 1996, founding the European Journal for English Studies and The European English Messenger. ESSE now has over 8000 members and organizes valuable biennial conferences which do much to provide trans-European perspectives in English Studies.

In 1989 Robert also began to appreciate the potential of information technology and subsequently developed several database systems and provided consultancy to major publishers about digital publication. His first digital publication was The Annotated Bibliography for English Studies (ABES) for which he designed the systems, recruited the contributors, and edited over 40,000 entries. ABES was judged by the MLA one of the "outstanding publications of 1999" and was published first by Swets and Zeitlinger, then by Routledge until 2012. From 1996 he also worked closely with the Macmillan Press on his proposal to build The Literary Web, but in 1998 Macmillan decided not to continue because they "could not see how such a publication would be profitable". As Kurt Vonnegut loved to say, "so it goes". This rejection led Robert to found The Literary Encyclopedia, funding it for many years at his own expense, supported by his wife, Marianne Majerus.

Robert Clark's publications include:

  • 2020 [forthcoming] "Jane Austen’s Emma, Adam Smith’s ‘impartial spectator’, market capitalism and free-indirect discourse."  La Revue XVII-XVII. “La force du commerce” 77.
  • 2020. "Robinsonades and Brexit: Free Trade, Empire and the whole World” in 300 years of Robinsonades, ed. Emmanuelle Peraldo.  Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • 2019. “The Ambiguities of ‘Captain Singleton’, Defoe’s Piratical Novel.La Revue XVII-XVII. “Crimes et Criminels” 76, 1-15.
  • 2019. “Robinson Crusoe’s Implausible Palisades: Colonialism, Myth, Realism, and the South-Sea Bubble”. Études Anglaises, 72-2, 167-181.
  • 2018. “Oasis in the City: Le Jardin Secret de Marrakech.” Morning Calm. March.
  • 2018. "'Slight and Fugitive Indications': Some Locations in Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice", and "'If You Could Discover Whether Northamptonshire is a Country of Hedgerows': The Location of Mansfield Park" in Jane Austen’s Geographies. Ed. Robert Clark.  New York and London: Routledge. pp. 123-153 and 217-233.. 
  • 2017. “Tudor Transformed: The Gardens of the Manor House, Eyot St Lawrence.” Morning Calm. January. 
  • 2017. “The Genius of the Place: the Bloedel Reserve, Washington State. Morning Calm. March.
  • 2017. “Scandalous Contracts in Defoe’s Roxana” in Daniel Defoe: Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress, ed. Emmanuelle Peraldo. Paris: Ellipses, pp. 51-86.
  • 2016. “The Filoli Gardens, California.” Morning Calm. March.
  • 2016. “Taming the Wilderness - St Paul’s Walden Bury”. The English Garden. November. pp. 26-32.
  • 2016. “Brexit – Personal Reflections on the Referendum Campaign and its Aftermath”. The ESSE Messenger 25-2 (Winter) 91-107.
  • 2016. “Facts to Consider in the European Referendum”, Welsh Arts Review. March.
  • “Wilderness and Shrubbery in Austen’s Works”. Persuasions Online.
  • 2015. “Our Daily Bread: John Letts’ landrace wheats”, Country Life. November 18th, p. 84.
  • 2015. “Is this the real Mansfield Park?” Country Life, September 2nd, 51-55.
  • 2015. “In the Garden: How not to fall in love with lavender”,  Country Life, September 23, p. 43.
  • 2014. “Mansfield Park and the Moral Empire”. Persuasions 26, 136-150.
  • 2008. ”Looking back at Mr Spectator, given Srebenica: a tail-piece” in Robert Clark., ed. Media History. Special Issue: Looking Back at Mr. Spectator. 14:3 (December), pp. 373-388.
  • 2008. Media History. Special Issue: Looking Back at Mr. Spectator. Editor. 14:3 (December)
  • 2007. “Surprise, Surprise” George Carter’s garden of surprises at Burghley House. Country Life, 7 June, 140-144.
  • 2005. “Agriculture”, in Jane Austen in Context, edited Janet Todd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; pp 185-193.
  • 2004. “Jane Austen and the Enclosures” in England's Green and Pleasant Land, edited by W M Verhoeven and Amanda Gilroy. Leuven, NL: Peeters, pp. 105-24.
  • 2003. “The Condition of the Subject and the War in Iraq”, The European English Messenger, 12:2 (Autumn); 46-9.
  • 2003. “Internet Logic”, Essenses 10.1 (April); 4-20.
  • 2002. “Knotting Desire in The English Patient”, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 37:2, (August), 59-70.
  • 2000 - Continuing. The Literary Encyclopedia at Designer and Founding Editor, with Janet Todd (University of Cambridge) and Emory Elliott (University of California, Riverside). London: Literary Dictionary Company Limited.
  • 2000. “Literacy, the Book and the Internet: Retrospects and Prospects”, The European English Messenger, 9:2 (Autumn); 57-61.
  • 1998. Daniel Defoe, Roxana, or The Fortunate Mistress, a new text edited from the first edition of 1724, with introduction, chronology of life, chronology of times, text notes, bibliography and selection of critical materials. London: Everyman, pp. xlvii, 334.
  • 1998. “Electronic Dictionaries”, The European English Messenger 7:1 April; 57-60.
  • 1997. The Arnold Anthology of British and Irish Literature in English, edited with Thomas Healy London: Arnold, i-xxi, 1578pp.
  • 1997. Annotated bibliography of critical work on Jane Austen in the Romanticism volume of ABES, edited by David Punter and Nelson Hilton.
  • 1997. Annotated bibliography of critical work on Daniel Defoe in the Neo-Classicism to Sensibility, ABES, edited by Brean Hammond and Melvyn New.
  • 1997. Annotated Bibliography for English Studies (ABES). At Designer and Founding Editor 1995-2005. An annotated and selected database of critical work in English literary, cultural and language studies. Published by Swets & Zeitlinger Publishers (Netherlands), then by Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 1997-2005.
  • 1997. “Reading The Piano Psychoanalytically,” with Constanza del Rio and Juan Suárez, in Union in Partition:Essays in Honour of Jeanne Delbaere ed. Gilbert Debusscher and Marc Maufort. Bruxelles. pp. 111-123.
  • 1996. With Janice Allan, “Literary Studies in Britain”, in Les études littéraires en Europe ed. Christian Wentzlaff-Eggebert. Köln Universität, pp. 87-100. [Rpt. Literary Studies in Europe ed. Christian Wentzlaff-Eggebert. Bonn: Raabe. pp. 225-244.]
  • 1995. Jane Austen, Emma, ed. London: Everyman.
  • 1995. Bibliography of European Journals for English Studies. (Norwich, 1994). Designer and Editor, with Balz Engler (Basel). (Second edition, July 1995)
  • 1995. “The New Globe Rises,” The European English Messenger, 4.1 (Spring), 12-13.
  • 1995. “ESSE's Primavera”, The European English Messenger 4.1 (Spring), 4-6.
  • 1995. “ESSE's Past and ESSE's Future”, Anglistik: Meitteilungen des Verbandes Deutscher Anglisten 6.1, (March), 96-100.
  • 1995. “A tongue-tied time warp”, Times Higher Education Supplement 13 October, p. 21
  • New Casebook on “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice”, edited. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
  • 1994. “Who killed Jane Austen? A Reply to Anthony Easthope,” Literature Matters British Council Newsletter. (Spring), pp. 3-4.
  • 1994. “Fielding, Neo-Classicism and the Lower Orders,” Logomachia: Forms of Opposition in English Language/Literature, ed. E. Douka Kabitoglou (Thessaloniki), pp. 245-62.
  • 1994. “Closing (with) Jane Austen,” Actas do XIII Encontro d”APEAA. Oporto: APEAA, pp. 185-202.
  • 1993. Transitions: European Studies in English Literature and Culture, edited. with Piero Boitani. London: Routledge, pp. 341.
  • 1993. Ed. James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers. London: Everyman, pp. i-xxix, pp. 438.
  • 1993. Ed. James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer. London: Everyman, pp. i-xxiv, pp. 512.
  • 1993. “Some thorts on speling, The Times Higher Education Supplement, 16 July, p. 16
  • 1993. “Literary Aesthetics, Literary Politics,” English: the Journal of the English Association, 42:174 (Autumn), 253-66.
  • 1993. “Canon to the Right, Europe to the Left”, lead contribution to a special perspective on the future of English studies, The Times Higher Education Supplement, June 1, pp 18-19.
  • 1992. With Frits Beukema (Leiden), English Studies in Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia: European Commission Tempus Office, 34pp.
  • 1992. “What does 'English' do? Thoughts on Rewriting,” in Literary Pedagogics After Deconstruction: Scenarios and Perspectives in the Teaching of English Literature, The Dolphin 22 (Aarhus, Denmark), 93-105.
  • 1992. “English Studies,” in English Studies in Denmark - Present Trends, Future Options ed. Tim Caudery (Aarhus, Denmark: University of Aarhus Press) pp. 17-26.
  • 1992. “Don's Diary,” The Times Higher Education Supplement, June 12, p. 14.
  • 1991. With Piero Boitani (Rome) and Helmut Bonheim (Köln), English Studies in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland: European Commission Tempus Office, 37pp.
  • 1991. “The Current Context” in English Literature and the University Curriculum ed. Wolfgang Zach. Frankfurt, Bern, New York, Paris: Peter Lang. pp. 107-11
  • 1990. “American Romance,” in Literature and Criticism: A New Century Guide ed. Martin Coyle et al. London: Routledge. pp. 565-588.
  • 1990.  “A European Society for the Study of English”, The Cambridge Review, 3 (October), pp.104‑7.
  • 1990. “The Absent Landscape of America's Eighteenth Century,” in Michael Gidley and Robert Lawson-Peebles (eds.), Views of American Landscape. Cambridge University Press, pp.81-99.
  • 1989. “A Place for American Dreams: ‑ the effect of Government policy on university admissions”; The Guardian, 4 April, p.29.
  • 1987. “Angela Carter's Desire Machine,” Women's Studies: 14, 147‑161.
  • 1985. James Fenimore Cooper: New Critical Essays, edited. London and New York: Vision Press and Barnes and Noble, 1985, pp. 208.
  • 1985. “More than Good Friends ... American Studies in Britain,” Times Higher Education Supplement, 14 June, p.15.
  • 1985 “Rewriting Revolution: Cooper's War of Independence,” in Clark ed. James Fenimore Cooper: New Critical Essays, pp.187-202.
  • 1984. History, Ideology and Myth in American Fiction, 1823‑1852. London: Macmillan Press, pp. 186.
  • 1984 “Riddling the Family Firm: The Sexual Economy in Dombey and Son,” English Literary History, 51 (1984), 69‑84. [Rpt. in Michael Hollington, ed., Charles Dickens: Critical Assessments. Robertsbridge and New York: Helm Information and Routledge, 1995, 4 vols. Vol 3. 69‑84.]
  • “The Transatlantic Romance of Henry James,” in Richard Gray ed. American Fiction: New Readings. London and New York: Vision Press and Barnes and Noble, pp. 100-114.
  • 1982. With David Aers et al., “Strategies for Representing Revolution,” in The Sociology of Literature: 1789, ed. Francis Barker et al. Colchester: University of Essex.
  • 1982. “The Last of the Iroquois: Myth and History in The Last of the Mohicans,” Poetics Today, 3, 115‑34.

Robert also writes occasional magazine articles about gardens and garden history. He has wide interests in the history of literature and of ideas, especially political theory and psychoanalysis, and has contributed numerous essays to The Literary Encyclopedia. For many decades he has lectured widely in Europe and North America about Defoe and about Jane Austen and her times.

In 1996 Robert Clark was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1996 and a in 2001 he was elected a Foundation Fellow of the English Association. From 2000 to 2005 he served as Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the UK Humanities Hub, and twice served on the Executive of the Council for College and University English in the UK.

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