Mary Newbold

Dr Mary Newbould

BA, MPhil, PhD

Mary is a committed teacher with a lively research career specialising in eighteenth-century English literature and visual culture.

Mary Newbold

Mary is a Senior Research Associate at the Faculty of English in her role as Co-Investigator on a major AHRC-funded project, run in collaboration with Northumbria University, to produce a Digital Library of the works of Laurence Sterne and of items of Sterneana held at Cambridge University Library. She is also currently a Tutor to Wolfson’s undergraduate and postgraduate students and a College Lecturer in English.

Mary studied at Girton and Pembroke Colleges for her BA, MPhil and PhD degrees. She has supervised and directed studies in English at various Cambridge colleges over many years, including Wolfson. She specialises in teaching literature of the long eighteenth century, and she also lectures on Shakespeare, Austen, Gothic fiction and Romanticism at the Faculty of Education. For several years Mary ran international summer school courses on eighteenth-century British culture and on Jane Austen. She has repeatedly been invited to guest-lecture at l’Université de Strasbourg, and she holds the competitive Qualification as a Maître de Conférences qualified to teach at universities in France. Mary is a member of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and of the International Laurence Sterne Foundation.

Research Interests

Mary’s main area of research expertise lies in eighteenth-century literature and visual culture. She specialises in the work and reception of Laurence Sterne (1713-1768), whose ground-breaking comic fiction changed the future course of novel-writing. Mary is an expert in the numerous adaptations Sterne’s work inspired in text, image, and performance, an area she covered in Adaptations of Laurence Sterne’s Fiction: Sterneana, 1760-1840 (2013). She continues to play an energetic role in the international Sterne community: she is an Editor of long-running journal The Shandean, and she is closely involved in a series of events and publications marking a major Sternean anniversary in 2018. She hosted an international conference at Jesus College to mark this occasion, and she is currently co-editing a collection of essays on Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.  She has been invited to speak about Sterne on BBC Radio 3 and for ‘In Our Time’ on Radio 4, and she has collaborated on several outreach projects promoting his work, in conjunction with Cambridge University and the University Library. The AHRC-funded Digital Library project for which she is Co-Investigator will bring rare items of the Library’s Sterne-related holdings to a wide audience through digitisation and a host of impact initiatives.

Mary continues to publish and give papers on Sterne, but she is wildly enthusiastic about other aspects of eighteenth-century literature and culture too. Current work includes exploring comic travel narratives, which humorously rework contemporary ‘Grand Tours’, sentimental journeys, and domestic travel accounts, and in which convivial drinking often fuels lively sociability. William Combe’s riveting Dr Syntax poems explore these tropes in engaging ways, and enjoy the sort of lively conversation with Thomas Rowlandson’s illustrations that are central to Mary’s interest in the wider discourse of the Sister Arts in this period.