Charles Moseley (writer)

Dr Charles W. R. D. Moseley

Dr Charles Moseley in 2008
Born (1941-04-24) April 24, 1941
Lancashire, England
Nationality English
Alma mater Queens' College, Cambridge
University of East Anglia
Occupation Writer
Spouse(s) Jennifer Mary Williamson (m. 1962-2009; her death)

Charles Moseley (born 24 April 1941), who also publishes as C. W. R. D. Moseley, is an English writer, scholar, and teacher, and a former fellow of Wolfson College and Life Fellow of Hughes Hall in Cambridge,[1] as well as a fellow of the English Association, the Society of Antiquaries of London, and the Royal Society of Arts.


Moseley was born in Lancashire and educated at Beach Road County Primary School, Cleveleys, Arnold School, Blackpool (1952-9), Queens' College, Cambridge (BA, 1962), and completed his PhD at the University of East Anglia in 1971 entitled "Mandeville's travels: a study of the book and its importance in England, 1356-1750".[2]


From 1962-73, while completing his PhD, Moseley worked in publishing, for Cambridge University Press as a management trainee, and subsequently for the University Tutorial Press as a commissioning editor. He taught English and Classics at The Leys School, Cambridge, full-time from 1973–80 and part-time from 1980-96, while also a lecturer at Magdalene College from 1980–86 and Director of Studies in English at Wolfson College from 1988-2000. In 2000 he became a Director of Studies at Hughes Hall, serving in that capacity until 2014, and as Senior Tutor 2000-03 and Tutor 2003-08. He is an Affiliated Lecturer of the Cambridge Faculty of English, and from 1992-2005 was Programme Director in English Literature, and from 1994-2005 founding Programme Director in Shakespeare, for the Cambridge International Summer Schools.

He was elected to fellowships of the Royal Society of Arts in 1994, of the Society of Antiquaries in 1999,[3] and the English Association in 2001.[4] He is also a member of the Society for Nautical Research, the Classical Association, and the Arctic Club, and was a co-founder of the annual Responsibility of Wealth programme run for the Society of International Business Fellows.

Scholarship and Teaching

Moseley's principal interests are in the mediaeval and early modern periods, particularly Chaucer, Sir John Mandeville, Shakespeare, Milton, and the European emblem.

His Shakespearean work has centred on the history plays: between 1966 and 1974 he edited five Shakespeare plays for the University Tutorial Press -- The Winter's Tale, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Richard III, & Othello—and later wrote two studies for Penguin Books, Shakespeare's History Plays, Richard II to Henry V: The Making of a King (1988; digitally reissued, 2010) & Shakespeare: Richard III: A Critical Study (1989). More recently, he has written five digitally published guides for students: Reading Shakespeare's History Plays (2001), A Very Brief Introduction to Theatre and Theatres of Shakespeare's Time (2007), Shakespeare's Richard III: A Discussion (2007), Shakespeare's The Tempest (2007), & Shakespeare's King Henry IV (2007).

Moseley's Penguin Classics edition of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (1983, revised and extended 2005) remains the standard edition for British and US universities,[5] and his translation is noted for "convey[ing] the elegant style of the original".[6] It was followed by two Penguin guides to Chaucer, Chaucer: The Knight's Tale: A Critical Study (1986) and Chaucer: The Pardoner's Tale: A Critical Study (1987). A Century of Emblems: An Introduction to the Renaissance Emblem (1989) is a rare and valuable guide to its subject,[7] and The Poetic Birth: Milton's Poems of 1645 (1991) was subsequently issued by Penguin, without the Latin poems, as Milton: The English Poems of 1645 (1992). Moseley has published more than 50 scholarly articles, the majority concerning Chaucer, Mandeville, and Shakespeare, and is a frequent reviewer for Modern Language Review and the Yearbook of English Studies. He also wrote the British Council Writers and their Work guide to J. R. R. Tolkien (1997).

A second strand of Moseley's work concerns personal and local history, particularly the effects of modernity on village life. A long-standing resident of Reach, he has published two studies, Reach: A Brief History of a Fenland Village (1988) and A Field Full of Folk: A Village Elegy (1995; as Out of Reach, 2010). The latter includes a more personal memoir, and has an autobiographical prequel, Between the Tides: A Lancashire Youth (2014). A further memoir, North Latitude (2015), concerns Moseley's interest in polar history, biology, and experience. He also wrote A Brief Architectural Guide to the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Swaffham Prior (1980), and with the poet Clive Wilmer edited Cambridge Observed: An Anthology (1998).

Moseley's influence as a teacher and lecturer is shown in his long association with the Cambridge International Summer Schools, where his Programme Directorship in English Literature saw the numbers of courses and registrants expand considerably, and the foundation of a distinct Shakespeare Summer School subsequently directed by Catherine Alexander and Fred Parker.[8] He is a founding partner of and Literature Editor for Humanities-ebooks, a digital academic publisher committed to lower prices for readers and higher royalty payments for authors. He has three times been an Evelyn Wrench Speaker for the English Speaking Union of the United States (1993, 1995, 2000), is a frequent lecturer on study cruises for Saga, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, and Voyages of Adventure, and has been a plenary speaker at conferences in Lisbon, Bucharest, and Szeged.[9]

Moseley's former pupils include Stephanie Merritt, F. C. Malby (novelist), Emily Maitlis, Professor Dr S. I. Sobecki (University of Groningen), Professor Russell Hillier (Providence College), Professor Katherine Steele Brokaw (University of California, Merced), Gavin Tranter (barrister), Mark Bishop (judge and Anglican priest), and Nicholas J. Hoffman (financier).

Personal life

Moseley's memoirs include several unusual experiences for an academic, including a stint as a deckhand on deep-sea trawlers,[10] and extensive travels in Antarctica, Greenland, Spitsbergen, and Iceland. In 1976 he was Deputy Leader of an expedition that sledged across the Spitsbergen icecap.[11] He also maintained a smallholding in Reach for more than 20 years.[12]

In 1962 Moseley married Jennifer Mary Williamson (19 June 1940 - 22 October 2009). They had two children.



Chapters and Articles


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2014-10-04.
  2. "Mandeville's travels: a study of the book and its importance in England, 1356-1750". British Library EThOS. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  5. It is currently a set text at the universities of London Archived October 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., Warwick, East Anglia, Southampton, California-Berkeley, Missouri-St Louis, and Hong Kong, among others.
  6. Mariano Akerman, A review of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville at
  7. Peter M. Daly, 'A review of C. W. R. D. Moseley, A Century of Emblems, in Emblematica: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Emblem Studies 5.1 (Summer 1991)
  8. University of Cambridge International Summer Schools: 90th Anniversary, 1923-2013 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education, 2013), pp. 13, 16.
  10. Between the Tides (Burscough: Beaten Track Publishing, 2014), pp. 213-41.
  11. North Latitude (London: IndieBooks, 2015), ch. 4 'A Cold Coast'.
  12. A Field Full of Folk: A Village Elegy (London: Aurum Press, 1985; 2/e, as Out of Reach, Cambridge: G. David, 2010), passim.

External links

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