Bachelor of Arts. 1992. University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English. 1993. University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Master of Arts by Research (English). 1997. University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
PhD (English). 2004. Keele University, Staffordshire.
Prior to taking up my post as Professor of Gothic Literature at Manchester Metropolitan in September 2016, I was lecutrer, then senior lecturer, in Gothic and Romantic Literature at the University of Stirling, Scotland (2003–2016).
I have supervised numerous PhD students on a wide variety of Gothic and Gothic-related topics, including the pre-history, life and afterlife of Gaston Le Roux’s The Phantom of the Opera; appropriations of Shakespeare in eighteenth-century Gothic writing (AHRC-funded); Ghostly Modernisms; Metatextuality in Modern and Contemporary Gothic; Gothic, Trauma and Representations of Chernobyl; South African Gothic; the Rise of the Sentient Zombie; and Post-9/11 American fiction, Trauma and the Gothic.
At present, I am supervising Doctoral projects on theology and eighteenth-century Gothic; Gothic Tourism; Edgar Allan Poe; English and French Gothic in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; madness, mental health and the Gothic; and a cultural history of the ruined Gothic abbey.
I have examined PhD theses at the Universities of Sheffield, Lancaster and York, and am currently external examiner for the undergraduate programme in English at the University of Southampton.
My research interests lie in all aspects of Gothic writing (romance; drama; chapbooks; poetry) of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Within this broad field, I have worked on a range of topics, including the Gothic in eighteenth-century children's literature; Gothic appropriations of Shakespeare; Ann Radcliffe; Horace Walpole; William Beckford; Gothic topography; and the relationship between Gothic and Romantic aesthetics. I am currently putting the finishing touches to two books on the relationship between architecture and literature in the period 1700–1850, the first a collaborative and interdisciplinary collection of essays entitled Writing Britain's Ruins (co-edited with Michael Carter and Peter Lindfield) and the second, an academic monograph entitled Gothic Antiquity: History, Romance and the Architectural Imagination, 1760–1840. These are two of the many academic outputs of my AHRC Leadership Fellowship, Writing Britain's Ruins, 1700–1850: The Architectural Imagination (2015–2017). I also have strong research interests in critical theory, particularly in the work of Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault and Emmanuel Levinas; within this more theoretical mode, I am currently working on the ethics of Gothic fiction, from the eighteenth century to the present. With Angela Wright (University of Sheffield) and Catherine Spooner (University of Lancaster), I am editing The Cambridge History of the Gothic, a major, three-volume collection of essays to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2020. I currently have in press articles and chapters on such topics as ethics, hospitality and the Gothic; William Beckford's architectural imagination; and Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill.
M. Carter, D. Townshend (2017). Writing Britain's Ruins.
A. Wright (2015). Romantic Gothic An Edinburgh Companion.
D. Townshend, BL. Staff (2014). Terror and Wonder The Gothic Imagination.
D. Townshend, A. Wright (2014). Ann Radcliffe, Romanticism and the Gothic. Cambridge University Press.
G. Byron, D. Townshend (2013). The Gothic World. Routledge.
(2013). Macbeth: A Critical Reader. A&C Black.
J. Drakakis, D. Townshend (2008). Gothic Shakespeares. Routledge.
D. Townshend (2007). The Orders of Gothic Foucault, Lacan, and the Subject of Gothic Writing, 1764-1820. Ams PressInc.
F. Botting, D. Townshend (2004). Gothic critical concepts in literary and cultural studies.
PN. Lindfield, D. Townshend (2018). Reading Vathek and Fonthill Abbey: William Beckford’s architectural imagination. In: Fonthill Recovered: A Cultural History. UCL Press,
December 2007: Invited Staff Seminar, School of Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University.
February 2008: Invited Staff Seminar, Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, University of St Andrews.
March 2008: Invited Plenary Lecture, Gothic Literature Congress, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City.
February 2009: Invited Staff Seminar, Department of English and Creative Writing, Lancaster University.
December 2009: Invited Plenary Lecture, ‘Renaissance Gothic’ Conference, University of Cologne.
April 2010: Invited Plenary Lecture, Conference on ‘Language, Literature, Change’, Faculty of Philosophy, University Nis, Serbia.
May 2011: Invited participant on a panel entitled ‘Gothic, History and Romance’ at the ‘Gothic: Exploring Critical Issues’ conference, Warsaw, Poland.
December 2012: Invited paper in Departmental Seminar Series in the Department of English, Queen’s University, Belfast.
March 2013: Invited paper at Glasgow University’s ‘Romanticism’ seminar.
June 2013: Invited paper on the ethics of hospitality in the Gothic at the International Association of Philosophy and Literature conference, University of Singapore.
August 2013: Invited paper on a panel on ‘The Poetry of Netley Abbey’ at British Association of Romantic Studies conference in Southampton.
December 2013: Plenary address at an inaugural Gothic conference in Costa Rica, ‘Gothic Latitudes’,
July 2014: Invited paper on a panel on Ann Radcliffe at the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR), Washington DC.
October 2014: Invited paper at Gothic Spaces / Gothic Places conference, Manchester Metropolitan University.
November 2014: Invited paper in Departmental Seminar Series, Edinburgh University.
April 2015: Invited paper in Departmental Seminar Series, University of Lincoln.
June 2014: Invited Masterclass on Jacques Derrida, Hospitality and the Gothic at the Justus-Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.
August 2015: Invited Plenary Address, International Gothic Association Conference, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.
February 2016: Invited paper at University of Cardiff, Wales.
March 2016: Invited paper at University of Sunderland
June 2016: Invited Public Lecture at the National Library of Scotland on ‘Unquiet Dreams: Ghost Stories at the Villa Diodati’,
October 2016. • Invited Public Lecture at the Bath Architectural Museum and William Beckford Society: Annual William Backford Birthday Lecture
May 2017: Invited Plenary Lecture: ‘Gothic Spaces’, at the University of Sheffield Gothic Study Day.
Oxtober 2017: Invited Public Lecture at the Netley Literary Festival.