Dr James Methven teaches the modern end of the English syllabus from somewhere within the Romantics period paper until today. He grew up in Greenock (in Scotland) and Gloucester. He read Classics and English at Brasenose College, Oxford. He was an English teacher, rugby coach, and house master at Fyling Hall School in Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire, between his undergraduate and graduate work. (For good measure he also taught classes in French, Latin, History, and Music to the junior years.) He took the M. Phil. in the Victorian period, taking special options in aestheticism and Dickens, and working on vivisection literature for his thesis. From this subject, his D. Phil developed into a study of representations of medical practitioners in Victorian literature from 1858 onwards.
As well as a keen interest in the scientific crossover in Victorian literature, he has particular research interests in Victorian Gothic, and in modern theatre, on both of which subjects he regularly lectures at the Faculty. He has directed many theatre productions covering a wide range of theatre styles, from classic texts from Greek drama and Shakespeare, to revivals of works from the twentieth-century, musicals, and new writing and improvised shows. He is always keen to see new writing from students. Outside Oriel, he is Senior Member for TAFF, which is the University-level club for all backstage and technical crew involved in student theatre. He has reviewed for the Ivor Gurney Journal.
His collection 'Precious Asses' won the inaugural Purple Moose/Poetry Wales prize in 2009.