Associate Professor Lisa O'Connell

Honorary Associate Professor

School of Communication and Arts
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


Lisa specializes in British Literature of the eighteenth-century. She trained at Melbourne and Brown universities and has held fellowships at various international English departments including Johns Hopkins University and the Free University Berlin.

Her research interests include the history of the novel, marriage plots, sentimental fiction, gothic fiction, theories of enlightenment and secularization and early global literatures.

Lisa has published on topics including the English marriage plot, libertinism, popular anthropology, travel narrative, settler fiction and courtesan memoirs. Her Australian Research Council-funded Discovery Projects include 'Secularisation and British Literature, 1600-1800' and 'The Cultural Impact of Irregular Marriage in the Age of British Colonialism'.

Her most recent book, The Origins of the English Marriage Plot: Literature, Politics and Religion in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge UP, 2019), offers a new account of why and how marriage became central to the English novel.

She is currently Associate Professor of English Literature in the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, Australian Catholic University. Her most recent work is on the history and theory of the novel and its relation to early global literatures.

Research Interests

  • 18th-Century British literature
  • The History of the Novel
  • Theories of Enlightenment & Secularisation
  • Global Fiction
  • Women’s writing (18th & 19th century)
  • Colonialism and Postcolonial Studies
    settler colonial writing (Australia & New Zealand); British travel writing 1700-1820; 18th-century popular ethnography; early global literatures.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Brown University
  • Masters (Coursework), University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Arts, University of Melbourne


View all Publications


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • O’Connell, Lisa (2021). Sensible distances: the colonial projections of Therese Huber and E. G. Wakefield. Matters of engagement: emotions, identity, and cultural contact in the premodern world. (pp. 216-230) edited by Daniela Hacke, Claudia Jarzebowski and Hannes Ziegler. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780429488689-14

  • O'Connell, Lisa (2017). Nationalism. Samuel Richardson in context. (pp. 319-326) edited by Peter Sabor and Betty A. Schellenberg. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781316576755.039

  • O'Connell, Lisa (2014). The libertine, the rake, and the dandy: personae, styles, and affects. The Cambridge History of Gay and Lesbian Literature. (pp. 218-238) edited by E. L. McCallum and Mikko Tuhkanen. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CHO9781139547376.015

  • O'Connell, Lisa (2008). Settler colonialism, utility, romance: E. G. Wakefield’s letter from Sydney. Burden or benefit? The legacies of benevolence. (pp. 49-60) edited by H. Gilbert and C. Tiffin. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

  • O'Connell, Lisa M. (2006). Gretna Green Novels. Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. (pp. 477-481) edited by David Scott Kastan. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

  • O'Connell, Lisa (2004). Authorship and libertine celebrity: Harriette Wilson’s regency memoirs. Libertine enlightenment: Sex, liberty and licence in the eighteenth century. (pp. 161-181) edited by P. Cryle. London: Palgrave. doi: 10.1057/9780230522817

  • O'Connell, Lisa M. (2004). Gender, Sexuality and the Family: Women's Writing, Language and Readership in The Lady's Magazine, 1770-1832. Defining gender, 1450-1910 : five centuries of advice literature online. (pp. Online-Online) edited by Sara Mendelson, Claire Walsh, Jeremy Black and Erika Rappaport. Online: Adam Matthew Publications.

  • O'Connell, Lisa (2003). Matrimonial Ceremonies Displayed: Popular Ethnography and Enlightened Imperialism. Exoticism and the Culture of Exploration. (pp. 98-116) edited by Robert Maccubbin and Christa Knellwolf. Durham: Duke University Press.

  • Cryle, P. M. and O'Connell, L. M. (2003). Sex, liberty and licence in the eighteenth century. Libertine Enlightenment: Sex, Liberty and Licence in the Eighteenth Century. (pp. 1-14) edited by Peter Cryle and Lisa O'Connell. Basingstoke, England ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/9780230522817

  • O'Connell, L. M. (2002). Scotland 1800: A Tourist's Matrimonial Guide. In Transit: Travel, Text, Empire. (pp. 21-44) edited by H Gilbert and A Johnston. New York: Peter Lang.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • O'Connell, Lisa (2010). Ethnographical humanism and the English marriage plot. Thinking the Human in the Era of Enlightenment, Canberra, Australia, 7-9 July 2010. Canberra, Australia: Australian National University.

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision