Peter Whiteford

Professor of English Literature
School of English, Film, Theatre, Media Studies, and Art History



BA(Hons) Victoria University of Wellington
MLitt Oxford

Current research projects

Hopkins’s sense of duty

I am working on the notion of duty as it appears in the poetry and prose of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Although in some ways he inherited the Victorian pre-occupation with duty, Hopkins had a rather unusual understanding of what the concept involved, and for him it was a liberating principle of action. I hope to complete a journal article on this shortly, which may in turn develop into a short monograph.

Other projects

John Mulgan’s novel, Man Alone, has the rare distinction of having been almost continuously in print since it was re-released in 1949 and has long had classic status in New Zealand literature. However, the text that was released in 1949, after Mulgan’s death, made a number of changes from that which he published in his lifetime. I am working on a new edition of the novel based on the 1939 original.

I have a number of other shorter projects underway, including articles on New Zealand poets Ursula Bethell and Eileen Duggan, further work on Hopkins, and some pieces on medieval literature.

Areas of supervision

  • New Zealand literature, especially poetry, or literature of the 30s.
  • Medieval literature.
  • Religious poetry, either looking at particular poets, or exploring the connections between religious and poetic expression.

I am especially interested in working with students who wish to undertake research in the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Recent publications

Scholarly editions

  • Journey to Oxford. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2011. Pp. xxiii + 68.
  • A Good Mail. Letters of John Mulgan. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2011. Pp. xxv + 320.
  • Report on Experience. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2010; London: Frontline Books, 2010; Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2010. Pp. 204.

Edited collection

  • Still Shines When You Think of It: A Festschrift for Vincent O’Sullivan, edited by Bill Manhire and Peter Whiteford. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2007. Pp. 380.

Essays and journal articles

Professional links and responsibilities

Peter Whiteford was Head of School from 2007–2011, and has been Deputy Dean of the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences since 2011. He is also currently Acting Dean of the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research.

View all publications by Peter Whiteford