Tara Lee received her DPhil in English from the University of Oxford in 2022. Her research is focused primarily on intersections between poetry, science, and technology in the long eighteenth century. She is currently working on a book project tentatively titled Selfish Matter: William Blake And Evolutionary Thought, while also preparing a second project on epic and machinery in British Romantic writing.
Her PhD thesis, examining Blake's interest in the human potential for physical and spiritual regeneration, challenges current assumptions about Blake's engagements with eighteenth-century theories of embryogenesis (i.e., epigenesis and preformation). The monograph
expands upon Blake's complicated relationship with varieties of eighteenth-century organicism and proto-evolutionary thought, presenting Blake’s conception of regeneration as a potential alternative to vital materialist conceptions of life current in contemporary philosophy (e.g. the works of Jane Bennet and Catherine Malabou).
Shifting her focus from organicism to mechanism, she is now preparing a second research project on how real and epic machines afforded visionary thinking about revolution, progress, and individual agency in experimental long verse works in the period between 1760 and 1830. She examines how poets such as Darwin, Southey, Shelley, and Blake consistently turned to images of machinery to interrogate the limits to human freedom in an increasingly complex, dynamic world.
Having picked up technical skills while working in a software implementation role at a company specialising in conversational AI, Tara also plans to develop as a digital humanities scholar during her time at HKU. Part of a multi-media artists' collective, she also looks forward to creating public engagement projects that make use of generative, interactive, and data-driven art.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
‘Against Self-Organization: Redefining Vitality with William Blake in Jerusalem and The Four Zoas', Studies in Romanticism (Forthcoming, Fall 2022).
‘Vital Heat and the Organised Body: Burke, Blake, The French Revolution and The [First] Book of Urizen’, European Romantic Review (Forthcoming).
‘Fibres, Globules, Cells: William Blake and the Biological Individual’, Romanticism on the Net 76 (Spring 2021), https://ronjournal.org/articles/n76/fibres-globules-cells-william-blake-and-the-biological-individual/.
‘Philosophic Numbers Smooth’: The Ambivalence of Song in Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale”’, Keats-Shelley Review 33.1 (2019), 114-121.