Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Eighteenth-century literature, Romantic period literature, The literature of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Emotions of War, The literature and culture of sensibility

  • 7 Citations
  • 1 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Ildiko Csengei joined the University of Huddersfield in 2013 as a Senior Lecturer in English Literature. After completing her doctorate at the University of Cambridge, she held a teaching fellowship at the University of Southampton. This was followed by an R. A. Butler Research Fellowship at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Before taking up her current post, she was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Faculty of English at Cambridge and Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Newnham College. She was also the co-ordinator of the postdoctoral research forum at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and the Humanities, where she organised and designed career development events for other early-career researchers. Ildiko came to the UK from Hungary in order to take up a full PhD scholarship jointly awarded by Corpus Christi College, the Faculty of English and the Cambridge Overseas Trust. Ildiko learnt English as a second language at school. Her university dissertation essay won a first prize at the Hungarian National Student Conference and was subsequently published. Ildiko is a British citizen and has two young children.

Research Expertise and Interests

My current research on War and Feeling in British Romanticism explores the representation of emotions in the literature of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Using a range of sources produced between 1793 and 1850, my work aims to look beyond conceptualisations of war that are often centred on heroism and the sublime and investigates feelings and emotional experiences that are seldom expressed in mainstream art and literature. I bring into dialogue works by major Romantic authors with political pamphlets, newspapers, medical and scientific writings, visual representations of military and naval technology, as well as archival sources, including letters, eyewitness accounts, diaries and memoirs written by soldiers, doctors and civilians during and after the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. My publications explore the ways in which emotional experiences and injuries were formulated in this period, before the development of the disciplines and relevant terminologies of psychology and psychiatry.  

Previously I worked on the culture of sensibility in the eighteenth century. My monograph, Sympathy, Sensibility and the Literature of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century asks what makes it possible for self-interest, cruelty and violence to become part of sensibility – a cultural trend of compassion, benevolence and humanitarianism in the eighteenth-century. The book undertakes to investigate the darker side of sensibility by exploring forms of emotional response, including sympathy, tears, swooning and melancholia through a range of eighteenth-century and Romantic contexts. The monograph also finds connections between eighteenth-century and Romantic forms of feeling and more recent sciences of the psyche. It explores the legacies of sympathy in therapeutic methods and practices from the late eighteenth-century to the present, tracing the conceptualisation of interpersonal affective relations from mesmerism to psychology, psychoanalysis, philosophy and the neurosciences. I have also published on the Bildungsroman and Charlotte Brontë’s  Jane Eyre, and have a forthcoming article that explores the impact of the Seven Years' War on the works of Laurence Sterne and his contemporaries.

I have organised a number of international conferences and conference panels, including "Sympathies and Antipathies" conference (funded by the Wellcome Trust and CRASSH, Cambridge), "National Anxieties and International Threats" panel (BARS, Glasgow); "War and Recovery" panel (ECASECS, Pittsburgh); "Representatios of War and Violence" panel (BARS, Roehampton); "Romantic Feelings" panel (NASSR, Toronto), "Eighteenth Century Now: Recent and Future Directions" conference (BSECS-CECS, York); "Sensibility Revisited: The Ethics of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century and Today" conference (MLA convention, Washington, DC); "Sensing Affect: The Physiology and Philosophy of Feeling 1660-1840" conference (Cambridge). I am currently co-organiser of the "Affect, Theory and the Emotions" series of panels for the forthcoming European Society for the Study of English conference in Lyon. I have given public lectures on the literature and history of war, including at the National Army Museum, Tolson Museum and the University of Hull. I co-organised and ran the "Charity Advertising and Images of Suffering Children" panel at the Festival of Ideas, Cambridge. Recently I was keynote panellist for “Attitudes to Conflict at the Start of the Nineteenth Century”, Wellington Congress, Southampton.

I am on the editorial board of the open access journal Romance, Revolution and Reform. I peer review for a number of leading journals in my field, including Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, European Romantic Review, Women's Writing, and The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation.

Research Degree Supervision

I supervise research students on the literature of the long eighteenth century, the Romantic period, the literature of the American Civil War, Romanticism and the enviroment, as well as creativity in Romantic women writers. Three of my students have won competitive scholarships in recent years. I'd be happy to consider Master's and PhD applications on eighteenth-century and Romantic topics, as well as the literature and history of war in the 18th-19th centuries and beyond. Please email me for any support you need developing your research proposal.

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Research Output

  • 7 Citations
  • 1 h-Index
  • 9 Article
  • 2 Book/Film/Dance Article review
  • 1 Book

Writing War in the Age of Sterne: The Seven Years' War and A Sentimental Journey

Csengei, I., 10 Aug 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : The Shandean. 31

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Book Review: Neil Ramsey, 'The Military Memoir and Romantic Literary Culture, 1780-1835'

    Csengei, I., 1 Apr 2018, In : Romanticism. 24, 1, p. 110-112

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Dance Article review

    'The Fever of Vain Longing': Emotions of War in Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto III

    Csengei, I., 1 Apr 2018, In : Romanticism. 24, 1, p. 86-98 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • The Literature of Fear in Britain: Coleridge’s ‘Fears in Solitude’ and the French Invasion at Fishguard in 1797

    Csengei, I., Dec 2018, In : English Literature. 5, December 2018, p. 183-206 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Book Review: Matthew Green, 'Aftershock: The Untold Story of Surviving Peace'

    Csengei, I., 2017, In : British Journal for Military History. 3, 3, p. 153-154 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Dance Article review

    Open Access