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About Dr Daniel Swift

Dr Daniel Swift is Associate Professor in English. He has a BA from Oxford University and a PhD from Columbia University in New York. He has written books about William Shakespeare, Ezra Pound, and the poetry of the Second World War, and edited the poems of John Berryman.



PhD in English & Comparative Literature, Columbia University (2009)

BA in English Literature, Oxford University (1999)


Professional Affiliations

Shakespeare Association of America member (2017 – present)



Dr Daniel Swift's Research

Dr Swift’s research interests include Shakespeare and late 16th century theatre; American and British poetry of the mid-twentieth century; and literary biography. His most recent book, The Bughouse: The Poetry, Politics, and Madness of Ezra Pound (Harvill Secker, 2017), tells the story of the dozen years Ezra Pound spent as a patient at St Elizabeths hospital for the insane in Washington, DC.  Dr Swift also contributes reviews and articles to magazines in the US and the UK, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Spectator, and the New Statesman.



The Bughouse: The Poetry, Politics, and Madness of Ezra Pound (Harvill Secker, 2017).

The Heart Is Strange: The New Selected Poems of John Berryman, edited by Daniel Swift (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014).

Shakespeare’s Common Prayers: The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizabethan Age (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Bomber County: The Lost Airmen of World War Two (Hamish Hamilton, 2010).


Selected articles

“Has Shakespeare become the mascot of Brexit Britain?”: essay-review in The Spectator, 27 April 2019.

“We Are All King Lear’s Children”: on Preti Taneja’s We That Are Young, Public Books, 8 October 2018.

“Donald Trump: a Shakespearean tyrant to a T”: review of Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power by Stephen Greenblatt, The Spectator, 9 June 2018.

“The Sinking of the Most Powerful Warship in History”: review of Battleship Yamato: Of War, Beauty, and Irony by Jan Morris, New York Times, 11 May 2018.

“Memory Palaces: On Nursery Rhymes”: essay in FSG Work in Progress blog, 27 April 2018.

“The Drama of the Liturgy”: a chapter on Shakespeare and the liturgy for the Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

“Learing This Sad Time: On Edward St. Aubyn’s ‘Dunbar’”: essay in Los Angeles Review of Books, 23 December 2017.

“Caliban Blues”: review of Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood, Public Books, 7 April 2017.

“Fierce Indignation”: review of Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel by John Stubbs, The Spectator, 29 October 2016.

“William Shakespeare: all things to all men”: review of recent Shakespeare studies, The Spectator, 23 April 2016.

“Was Norman Mailer the last tough guy?”: review of Norman Mailer: a Double Life by J. Michael Lennon, The New Statesman, 14 November 2013.

“The first skinhead”: review of The Pike: Gabriele D’Annunzio – Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War by Lucy Hughes-Hallet, The New Statesman, 14 February 2013.

Dr Daniel Swift's Teaching

Dr Swift’s teaching focuses upon the literature of the 16th and 17th centuries, and the twentieth century. He teaches the courses on Literature 1550-1700 and Literary Kinds; he also leads and co-teaches the first year course on Criticism. In addition, he lectures on twentieth century poetry for the Literature 1900-present course and in the Applied Ethic college-wide lecture series.

Dr Swift has previously taught at Skidmore College, Barnard College, NYU, Columbia University, and the Cooper Union, all in the US.


Professional Activity

Second reader for Oxford University Press

Talks at the Hay Festival (2010 and 2012), the Edinburgh Festival (2010 and 2017), the Sydney Writers Festival (2011), the Ledbury Poetry Festival (2017), and Ways With Words festival (2017)

Radio and television appearances including the Leonard Lopate show on NPR (US), BBC London, BBC Ireland, BBC Radio 4, and BBC “Songs of Praise.”