Dr McGhee is a Junior Research Fellow at St Catharine’s with broad interests in poetry, aesthetics, and the intellectual life of the nineteenth century. His current research explores how and why Victorian poets were drawn to tantalisingly uncertain, elusive, or incomplete kinds of knowledge (about themselves, other people, God, the natural world, and works of art). This thematic interest turns out to be deeply implicated in questions about poetry’s own peculiar and much contested relationship to knowledge: its talent for evading, as well as kindling, the desire to know.
Fergus holds undergraduate degrees in Theology (from Cambridge) and English (from Oxford) and an MPhil in modern literature from Cambridge, where he won the Members’ English Prize. He completed his doctorate on Victorian poetry at Oxford, which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and All Souls College. Fergus was awarded the Review of English Studies Essay Prize in 2019 for his work on Arthur Hugh Clough and the Richard D. Gooder Prize in 2021 for an essay on Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He has also written more widely about literature, art, and the history of ideas for the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, and The Art Newspaper.
• Victorian Re-Encounters, special issue of Victorian Poetry, ed. Dominique Gracia and Fergus McGhee [forthcoming 2023].
• ‘Pater’s Montaigne’, in Walter Pater and the Beginnings of English Studies, ed. Charles Martindale, Lene Østermark-Johansen, and Elizabeth Prettejohn (Cambridge University Press) [forthcoming].
• ‘Rossetti’s Giorgione and the Victorian “Cult of Vagueness”’, Cambridge Quarterly, vol. 50, no. 3 (2021), pp. 279-95.
• ‘Clough, Emerson, and Knowingness’, Review of English Studies, vol. 71, no. 300 (2020), pp. 413-32.
• ‘Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Déjà Vu’, Victorian Studies, vol. 62, no. 1 (2019), pp. 61-84.