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Peter D McDonald

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Peter D McDonald
Academic Position:
Professor of English and Related Literature and Tutorial Fellow
St. Hugh's
Research Interests:
19th/20th/ 21st Century; the socio-political space of literary production (c. 1880-present)

Peter D. McDonald is Professor of English and Related Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Hugh’s College. He writes on literature, the modern state and the freedom of expression; the history of writing systems, cultural institutions and publishing; multilingualism, translation and interculturality; and on the promise of creative criticism. His principal publications include British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice, 1880-1914 (Cambridge, 1997), Making Meaning: ‘Printers of the Mind’ and Other Essays by D F McKenzie, co-edited with Michael Suarez (University of Massachusetts Press, 2002), The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences (Oxford, 2009, see also, and Artefacts of Writing: Ideas of the State and Communities of Letters from Matthew Arnold to Xu Bing (Oxford, 2017; see also

Recent Publications

  • ‘On Strong Opinions: celebrity authors in the contemporary agora’, Celebrity Studies, 8:1 (2017).
  • ‘Coetzee’s Critique of Language’, Beyond the Ancient Quarrel: Literature, Philosophy, and J. M. Coetzee, eds. Patrick Hayes and Jan Wilm (Oxford, 2018).
  • ‘Seeing through the Concept of World Literature’, Journal of World Literature, 4.1 (2019).
  • ‘Beyond Professionalism: The Pasts and Futures of Creative Criticism’, The Critic as Amateur, eds. Saikat Majumdar and Aarthi Vadde, (Bloomsbury, 2019).
  • ‘L’Engagement de PEN en faveur des droits linguistiques’, interview with Carles Torner, Bibliodiversity, eds. Nathalie Carré and Raphaël Thierry (January 2020).
  • ‘What about criticism?: Blanchot’s Giant-Windmill’, Literary Activism: A Symposium, ed. Amit Chaudhuri (Norwich: Boiler House Press, 2017), and OUP India, 2018.
# Essay Title Description Contributor
1 Sarah Howe - Artefacts of Writing

In her exquisite first collection,...

Peter D McDonald
2 Kirsty Gunn - Artefacts of Writing


At the end of the street where I lived, a...

Peter D McDonald
3 Tracy K. Smith - Artefacts of Writing

We hold these truths to be...

Peter D McDonald