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Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr Williams's Library, University of Stirling

Tom Charlton is part of a team of academics responding to 'Historians for Britain' in 'History Today':

Currently working at Dr Williams's Library, Tom is producing an edition of the Reliquiae Baxterianae - the autobiography of the 17th century Presbyterian, Richard Baxter. Tom's principal responsibilities are to establish a reliable and accessible text for the Reliquiae, identifying discrepancies between the manuscript and printed versions of the text, and writing up the textual introduction.

His personal research interests concentrate on the literature of the early modern period, with a particular emphasis on texts engaged in the religious and political disputes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He has published on topics ranging from Elizabethan republicanism to Restoration responses to the concept of treason, and has contributed to a number of scholarly enterprises exploring the relationship between literature and politics in the Renaissance.

Having undertaken research and teaching at a number of universities, including Liverpool, Cambridge and Sheffield, Tom is presently completing work on two connected book-length projects, one on the pamphlet literature of Restoration radicalism and another which studies competing notions of obedience from the Reformation to the Restoration, incorporating many key areas of interest, including polemic, censorship, history of the book, reader response, and narratology.

He is an AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker 2014, and has presented material on libraries, marginalia and censorship on BBC Arts and BBC Radio Three's 'Free Thinking'.

Scribbles in the Margins
Dr Tom Charlton of Dr Williams's Centre for Dissenting Studies deciphers marginalia – annotations in the margins of books – and wonders what it tells us about readers and writers. A short film for BBC Arts Release date: 26 Mar 2015

What is a ‘Proper’ Library?
Tom Charlton wonders what is meant by a 'proper' library. Tom Charlton of the University of Stirling is one of 2014 New Generation Thinkers. Release date: 11 Jun 2014

Scold the Front Page
Free Thinking, 2014 Festival, The Free Thinking Essay
Who censors what, how, and why? Is this a job for the government, or for journalists themselves? As debates over media regulation continue to rage, Tom Charlton argues that both sides misunderstand and misrepresent the history of press freedoms in England. He argues that the execution of the printer John Twyn, in 1664, says much about the way censorship works.
Recorded in front of an audience at BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival of Ideas at Sage, Gateshead
Producer: Harry Parker.


  • –present
    Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr Williams's Library
  • –present
    New Generation Thinker 2014, BBC/AHRC