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Jonathan Padley


Affiliated Lecturer


  • BA English Language and Literature (University of Oxford)
  • BA Theology and Religious Studies (University of Cambridge)
  • MA English (University of Wales)
  • PhD English (University of Wales)
  • PGCE Post-Compulsory Education and Training (University of Wales)
  • LMusTCL Musical Theory, Criticism, and Literature (Trinity College London)

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Editorial Board member of Children’s Literature in Education
  • Member of Children’s Literature Association
  • Member of International Research Society for Children’s Literature

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Jonathan Padley is a researcher in English children’s literature from the eighteenth century to the present day. His work explores margins; in particular, the marginalisation of authors, characters, and texts. His PhD argued that the child protagonists of children’s literature can be understood, etymologically and theoretically, as monsters. He serves on the Editorial Board of Children’s Literature in Education and regularly peer-reviews for journals in the field.

In addition to children’s literature, Jonathan is interested in interdisciplinary dialogues between literature, media, music, science, and theology. He has published broadly, including on transgressive creation in Shelley’s Frankenstein, bibliographical anomaly in Tennyson’s English Idyls, and Christological imaging in Tolkien’s Middle-earth mythos.

Jonathan has been an Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Education since 2020, where he supervises undergraduates in children’s literature. He is a Fellow, Admissions Tutor, and Tutor at Churchill College, and Director of Studies in Education at Lucy Cavendish, Newnham, and St Edmund’s Colleges. He is also an Honorary Member of the Faculty of English. Previously, Jonathan has been an Honorary Research Associate of the Department of English Language and Literature at Swansea University, and a Lecturer and Tutor at Gorseinon College and Coleg Sir Gâr.

Alongside academic work, Jonathan is committed to widening participation in higher education, especially amongst students from his native Wales. From 2013 to 2015, he was seconded to Welsh Government to co-lead the research and policy implementation which gave rise to Wales’ Seren Network, to which he still regularly contributes.

Academic Area/Links

  • Children’s literature
  • Widening participation in Higher Education

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Research Topics

  • Children's literature
  • English literature post-1750
  • Education
  • Music
  • Theology

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  • Undergraduate
    • Undergraduate supervision in children’s literature

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Principal and Recent Publications

Murphy, P, S Gallagher, and J Padley. 2014. “Final Report of the Oxbridge Ambassador for Wales.” Cardiff: DfES.

Gallagher, S, and J Padley. 2014. “Analysis of the Attainment of Welsh Applicants to Oxford and Cambridge Universities.” Cardiff: DfES.

Gallagher, S, and J Padley. 2014. “Comparing Welsh Attainment and Admission to Oxford and Cambridge with the North-East of England.” Cardiff: DfES.

Gallagher, S, and J Padley. 2014. “Welsh Attainment and Admission to Oxford and Cambridge: the Evidence Base.” Cardiff: DfES.

Murphy, P, S Gallagher, and J Padley. 2013. “Interim Report of the Oxbridge Ambassador for Wales.” Cardiff: DfES.

Padley, J. 2012. “Peter Pan: Indefinition Defined.” The Lion and the Unicorn 36.3: 274-287,

Padley, J. 2011. “‘Declare the interpretation’: Redacting Daniel in Early Bibles for English Children.” Biblical Interpretation 19.3: 311-336,

Padley, J, and K Padley. 2010. “‘From mirrored truth the likeness of the True’: JRR Tolkien and Reflections of Jesus Christ in Middle-earth.” English 59.224: 70-92,

Padley, J. 2009. “Marginal(ized) Demarcator: (Mis)Reading The Water-Babies.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 34.1: 51-64, Republished in Vol. 167 of Children’s Literature Review, edited by J Krstović, 146-154. Detroit: Gale.

Padley, J. 2007. “No Idyl(l) Matter: The Orthographic and Titular History of Alfred Tennyson’s English Idyls.” The Tennyson Research Bulletin 9.1: 97-110.

Padley, J, and K Padley. 2006. “‘A Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven’: His Dark Materials, Inverted Theology, and the End of Philip Pullman’s Authority.” Children’s Literature in Education 37.4: 325-334,

Padley, J. 2003. “Frankenstein and (Sublime) Creation.” Romanticism 9.2: 196-212,