Background and activities

Yuri Cowan holds a doctorate from the University of Toronto, Canada, and came to NTNU in 2012 from a post-doctoral fellowship in the Research Project on Authorship as Performance (RAP) at Ghent University in Belgium, where he was again a visiting scholar in 2017-18. His current research works to describe diverse Victorian historiographies of everyday life. In the field of book history, he is interested in the material book, constructions of authorship, the history of collecting, and textual histories, especially with regard to the circumstances of the form, publication, and reception of nineteenth-century editions of medieval texts, such as William Morris's translation of The Ordination of Knighthood, which he edited for the Morris Archive. He has published various articles on Morris, the Aesthetic Movement, ballad literature, Victorian sporting periodical literature, and the reprinting of Victorian fantasy in the 1970s; he is currently completing a book-length manuscript entitled William Morris and Medieval Material Culture, and is beginning to write about the portrayal of book technologies in speculative fiction, as well as on SF's regional variations in Cascadia and California. He guest-edited a special issue of Mémoires du livre / Studies in Book Culture in 2013 on the subject of "Textual Histories," and is a founding editor (and was Managing Editor from 2011-2014) of the online peer-reviewed open-access journal Authorship. He is a member of the research project Norwegian Broadside Ballads 1550-1950: Recovering a Cultural Heritage, headed by Siv Gøril Brandtzæg, and was also a member of the Enlightenment News project (2013-17), headed by Paul Goring.

From 2019, he is co-editor (with Greg Barnhisel and Beth Le Roux) of Book History, the journal of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP). He is also a member of the advisory boards of the journals Authorship and English Studies.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

Displaying a selection of activities. See all publications in the database


  • Cowan, Yuri. (2022) Eden Phillpotts: Pan and the Twins. The Unknown 1922 . Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; Munich. 2022-03-17 - 2022-03-18.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2022) Inscriptive Technologies in Speculative Fiction. NARMESH lecture series ; Gent. 2022-06-16 - 2022-06-16.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2022) Round Table: "1922: Beyond Modernism". European Society for the Study of English Conference 2022 ; Mainz. 2022-08-29 - 2022-09-02.


  • Cowan, Yuri. (2021) 1924: Eileen Power and Madame Eglentyne. Dates with Gender and Diversity: Huldeboek voor Marysa Demoor.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2021) «En samler av guds nåde»: Thorvald Boeck og skillingsvisene på 1800-tallet. Skillingsvisene i Norge 1550-1950: Studier i en forsømt kulturarv.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2021) The Texts and Editors of the Kelmscott Press. The Kelmscott Press and its Legacies symposium . St. Bride Foundation; London. 2021-11-06 - 2021-11-06.


  • Cowan, Yuri. (2020) Is Anything Truly Lowbrow? A Book History Perspective. Lenge Leve Lavkulturen! - Litterær Salong . Linjeforeningen Gengangere; Trondheim. 2020-02-28 - 2020-02-28.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2020) William Morris's Book Collecting. Routledge Companion to William Morris.




  • Cowan, Yuri. (2017) 'A Great Instance of our Frugality of Words': Reporting the Local and Global Eighteenth Century in 140 Characters. The Rise of the Newspaper in Europe and America, 1600-1900 . Huntington Library; Pasadena. 2017-10-13 - 2017-10-14.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2017) Material Culture and Society in the Late Romances of William Morris. The Victorian Novel lecture series . Justus Liebig University Giessen; Giessen. 2017-05-23 - 2017-05-23.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2017) Tree-Huggers and Terraformers: Science Fiction on the West Coast. Starmus in the City ; Litteraturhuset i Trondheim. 2017-06-20 - 2017-06-20.


  • Cowan, Yuri. (2016) Playing at History: Anachronism and Crusader Kings 2. ESSE 2016 . European Society for the Study of English; Galway. 2016-08-22 - 2016-08-26.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2016) Review of The English Boccaccio: A History in Books (Guyda Armstrong, University of Toronto Press). SHARP News. vol. 25 (1).
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2016) Review of the UCSB English Broadside Ballad Archive. SHARP News. vol. 25 (2).
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2016) Sporting Periodicals. The Routledge Handbook to Nineteenth-Century British Periodicals and Newspapers.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2016) The Small Press Movement, Book Design, and the Origins of Modernism. Ugress 2016 . Litterært Kollektiv; Trondheim. 2016-09-14 - 2016-09-18.
  • Cowan, Yuri; Schelstraete, Jasper. (2016) De kranten van Asimov: Een geschiedenis van de toekomst van het boek. nY: tijdschrift voor literatuur, kritiek & amusement.


  • Cowan, Yuri. (2015) 'A Detail of Curious Traditionary Facts': The Justified Sinner and the Scots Mummy In and Out of the Pages of Blackwood's. James Hogg Society 2015 conference ; Toronto. 2015-04-09 - 2015-04-11.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2015) Atavism, Beauty, and Power: The Body of the Deep Past in the Atlantis Romances of J. Allan Dunn and Arthur Conan Doyle. RISS : magasin for studentar og tilsette ved Institutt for nordistikk og litteraturvitskap, Universitetet i Trondheim.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2015) 'The Handiest of Men and Skilled in Everything': Morris and the Domestic Idiom of the Saga. Modern Language Association of America annual conference ; Vancouver. 2015-01-08 - 2015-01-11.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2015) Translation, Collaboration, and Reception: Editing Caxton for the Kelmscott Press. To Build a Shadowy Isle of Bliss: William Morris's Radicalism and the Embodiment of Dreams.


  • Cowan, Yuri. (2014) Charting a Popular Readership for Medieval Literature in the Nineteenth Century. NTNUs Middelalderseminar ; Suhmhuset, Trondheim. 2014-05-29.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2014) Pater, Decadent Historicism, and the Poetics of the Fragment: Gaston de Latour and "Denys l'Auxerrois". The Journal of pre-Raphaelite studies (1992). vol. 23 (Spring).
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2014) Worlds Die, Books Survive: Post-Apocalyptic Knowledge and Technology. Torucon 2014 ; Trondheim. 2014-08-10.


  • Cowan, Yuri. (2013) Introduction: Textual Histories. Mémoires du livre. vol. 4 (2).
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2013) Review of Inward of Poetry: George Johnston & Wm Blissett in Letters (Sean Kane, editor, Porcupine’s Quill, 432). University of Toronto quarterly. vol. 82 (3).
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2013) "The Rationale of Victorian Hypertext: Nineteenth-Century Networks of Textual Recovery and Editing". Digital Humanities and Early Modern Studies ; 2013-11-15 - 2013-11-15.



  • Cowan, Yuri. (2011) Review of Field & Tuer, the Leadenhall Press: a Checklist. By Matthew McLennan Young. SHARP News. vol. 20 (4).
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2011) Review of Masking the Text: Essays on Literature & Mediation in the 1890s. By Nicholas Frankel. SHARP News. vol. 20 (2).



  • Cowan, Yuri. (2008) William Morris and Medieval Material Culture. 2008.


  • Cowan, Yuri. (2007) 'Paradyse Erthly': John Ball and the Medieval Dream-Vision. Writing on the Image: Reading William Morris.