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Dr Dawn Hollis

Leverhulme Postdoctoral Research Fellow
On leave 2019 - 2020

Research profile

Research Interests

My research is largely focused upon the human experience of mountains and mountainous landscapes in a variety of past contexts and periods. However, this has enabled me to indulge my interests in a number of different issues, including the construction of mountaineering as a modern sport and the impact of Scriptural and classical associations upon early modern understandings of the mountain landscape. I am also particularly interested in the current-day historiographical discourses surrounding the question of premodern mountain engagement, and in investigating their origins, nuances, and problematic impact upon our scholarly understanding of past landscape experience.

I am also interested in the late-nineteenth century and early twentieth-century literature of modern mountaineering, the early Everest expeditions of 1921-1924, and the life and work of the early Anglo-Saxonist Elizabeth Elstob (1683-1756).

Current Research

I am working with Professor Jason König on the Leverhulme-funded project 'Mountains in ancient literature and culture and their postclassical reception', with a focus on the writings of seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century travellers to the classical world and considering the numerous influences upon their reactions to mountain sites of ancient and contemporary significance.


[Book chapter]. ‘The Contours of the North? British Mountains and Northern Peoples, 1600-1750’, Visions of the North in Premodernity, eds. Dolly Jørgensen and Virginia Langum (Brepols, in production, 2017).

[Book chapter]. ‘Lefebvre in the Landscape’, Spatial History and its Sources, eds. Riccardo Bavaj, Konrad Lawson and Bernhard Struck (Routledge, forthcoming).

[Magazine article]. ‘Rethinking Mountain Gloom’, Alpinist 57 (Spring 2017), 105-108.

[Article – edition]. ‘On the Margins of Scholarship: The Letters of Elizabeth Elstob to George Ballard, 1735-1753’, Lias 42:2 (2015), 167-268.

[Review]. The Summits of Modern Man: Mountaineering After the Englightenment, Peter H. Hansen (Harvard, 2013), for Reviews in History, January 2014, review no. 1530.

[Review]. Paper Memory: A Sixteenth-Century Townsman Writes His World, Matthew Lundin (Harvard, 2012), for Reviews in History, April 2013, review no. 1403.

Academic Career

I completed my BA in History at the University of Oxford in 2012, and an MPhil in Early Modern History at the University of Cambridge in 2013, before moving to Scotland to undertake a PhD in History at the University of St Andrews (successfully defending my thesis on 'Re-thinking Mountains: Ascents, Aesthetics, and Environment in Early Modern Europe' in the winter of 2016). In the summer of 2017 I moved across disciplines - and some hundred metres down the road - to join the School of Classics at St Andrews as a postdoctoral research fellow.

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