Clive Probyn

Emeritus Prof


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Professor of English at Monash from 1982 to 2009, and now Emeritus Professor, is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including four on Jonathan Swift, and others on English Fiction of the Eighteenth Century, English Poetry: A Handbook, a biography of James Harris (The Sociable Humanist . . . Provincial and Metropolitan Culture in Eighteenth-Century England), and with Martin Battestin an edition of the letters of Henry and Sarah Fielding.

With Bruce Steele, he edited three volumes of letters by Henry Handel Richardson and critical editions of her six novels (Maurice Guest, The Getting of Wisdom, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony, The Young Cosima). He is the Founding President of the Johnson Society of Australia and is currently President (and literary executor) of the Henry Handel Richardson Society of Australia.  He wrote the new entries for Swift, among others, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and is an Advisory Board member of the Ehrenpreis Center, Münster, Germany.

He was educated at Nottingham University and at the University of Virginia, as a Fulbright Scholar, and later taught at Lancaster University. He established an English and a French department at Sokoto University (later Usman dan Fodio University), Nigeria, where he was founding Dean of Arts and Islamic Studies.  He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and was awarded the Centennial Medal for service to English and Australian Literature.

He is interested in ways of re-reading the English eighteenth century, as in ’Paradise and Cotton-mill: Rereading Eighteenth Century Romance’ in the Blackwell Companion to Romance (2004) and  ‘Blindness and Insight: The World, the Text (of Jonathan Swift), and the Criticism of Edward Said’ Eighteenth-Century Life (2008).

He is currently working on the relationships between cartography, travel-writing, diary writing, and spatial history in the early Enlightenment.

He now lives in New South Wales, but may be reached through his Monash address.