Dr Anna Nickerson

BA, MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)

Special Supervisor

College Roles

  • Special Supervisor in English

University Roles

  • Katherine Jex-Blake Research Fellow in English and College Lecturer at Girton College


Email: ajm280@cam.ac.uk


Dr Anna J Nickerson is a literature scholar focusing on poetics and epistemology – the study of knowledge.

Dr Anna Nickerson is Katherine Jex-Blake Research Fellow and College Lecturer in English at Girton. She was born in the D. R. Congo and educated at various state schools in London. IShe studied for my BA at Selwyn and – after a short stint working in the charity sector – returned for an MPhil and PhD at Girton.

Anna teaches for Part I, Papers 6 (1660-1870), 7A (1830-1945), and 7B (1870-present), and Part II, Papers 10 (Special Period, 1847-1872) and 17 (Lyric). She also supervises Practical Criticism and Critical Practice across all three years and supervise dissertations on nineteenth and twentieth-century literature.

She is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research Interests

Dr Anna Nickerson works at the intersection of poetry and philosophy. Her work takes its cue from Coleridge’s insight that poetry has ‘a logic of its own’ that throws it into competition with philosophy as a means of coming to know the world. She is especially interested in the ways in which poetry might enable us to apprehend those things that lie beyond the usual sphere of knowledge and experience. As such, her work often has a theological as well as a philosophical edge. Put simply, her work tries to answer the question, ‘What do we know when we read poetry?’

Anna is currently writing a book about the English poet and Jesuit, Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., entitled Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Intellectual Life: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Manifoldness of Knowledge. The book is a study of how Hopkins thought ‘thinking’ happened and why it seemed to happen best when his attention was divided. The book traces the philosophical, theological, aesthetic, and linguistic origins of Hopkins’ epistemology, and demonstrates how this commitment to the ‘manifoldness of knowledge’ underpinned every aspect of his highly idiosyncratic poetics.

With Angela Leighton and Yui Kajita, Anna is co-editor of a forthcoming collection of essays on the life, work, and literary friendships of Walter de la Mare, Walter de la Mare: Critical Appraisals (Liverpool University Press).

She also has long-standing interests in the work of Alfred Tennyson, T. S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and Kathleen Raine.