Professor Simon Burrows

Professor Simon Burrows

Professor in History,
Arts (SoHCA)


Simon Burrows is a historian of the European enlightenment, the eighteenth-century public sphere and the French revolution. He is known for his innovative studies of the press and French exile writers in Britain and above all as the instigator and principal investigator of the AHRC-funded 'French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe' (FBTEE) database project which has won wide acclaim among historians, literary scholars, bibliographers and digital humanists, and was awarded the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Digital Resource Prize (2017). The database is now being developed further using seedcorn funding from Western Sydney University (2013-2017) and the Australian Research Council (2016-2017). Simon teaches in the History and Political Thought programme and is Leader of the Digital Humanities Research Group. He is a graduate of Oxford University, who began his academic career at the University of Waikato, NZ, (1993-2000) before moving to the University of Leeds, UK There he was successively Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professor of Modern European History from 2000-2012 and the founding Director of the Centre for the Comparative History of Print (Centre CHoP). The author or editor of six books and more than 30 major chapters and articles, Simon is now working on a book arising from the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe project. He is also a highly experienced and enthusiastic teacher, and has supervised around 130 Honours and Taught Masters theses, and 20 research higher degree students, as well as teaching and developing Honours / Postgraduate Methodologies teaching at Western, Leeds and Waikato. He welcomes Research Students in any of his areas of interest, including those with a generic interest in print culture or the history of the printed news media, or those who would like to participate in the development of the FBTEE project or similar initiatives.  

This information has been contributed by Professor Burrows.


  • PGDip (Ed) University of Leeds (UK)
  • PhD University of Oxford (UK)
  • BA University of Oxford (UK)

Professional Memberships

  • Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (2015 - 2015)
  • Australian and New Zealand Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (2015)
  • Australian Association for Digital Humanities (2015)


  • British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Digital Resource Prize 2017-01-05


  • Comparative and Transnational History
  • Cultural Transfers
  • Digital humanities
  • French Literary History
  • French, British and European History, 1700-1850
  • History of Print Culture / Book History
  • The Enlightenment
  • The Press and Public Sphere

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Arts (SoHCA)


  • Digital Humanities Research Group
  • History and Political Thought Major Area



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  • Burrows, S. (2018), 'The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe II: Enlightenment Bestsellers', : Bloomsbury Academic 9781441126016.
  • Burrows, S. (2010), 'A King's Ransom: the Life of Charles Theveneau de Morande, Blackmailer, Scandalmonger and Master-Spy', : Continuum 9780826419897.
  • Burrows, S. (2006), 'Blackmail, Scandal, and Revolution : London's French Libellistes, 1758-92', : Manchester University Press 9780719065262.

Chapters in Books

  • Burrows, S. (2020), 'The character assassination of Marie-Antoinette : defamation in the age of the French Revolution', Routledge Handbook of Character Assassination and Reputation Management, Routledge 9781138556584.
  • Burrows, S. (2019), 'Postface : reflections on the past, present and future of emigre studies', French Emigrants in Revolutionised Europe: Connected Histories and Memories, Palgrave Macmillan 9783030274344.
  • Burrows, S. and Ensor, J. (2018), 'Afterword : the future of FBTEE : towards a digital history of the book', The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe II: Enlightenment Bestsellers, Bloomsbury 9781441126016.
  • Burrows, S. (2016), 'Les journaux des emigres et la communaute francaise des exiles, 1792-1814', Arraches et Deplaces: Refugies Politiques, Prisonniers de Guerre, Deportes, 1789-1918, Presses Universitaires Blaise Pascal 9782845167377.
  • Burrows, S. (2015), 'Books, philosophy, enlightenment', The Oxford Handbook of the French Revolution, Oxford University Press 9780199639748.
  • Burrows, S. (2015), 'Censorship and press liberty in the Sister Republics : some reflections', The Political Culture of the Sister Republics, 1794-1806: France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy, Amsterdam University Press 9789089646064.
  • Burrows, S. (2015), 'French censorship on the eve of the Revolution', Censorship and the Limits of the Literary: A Global View, Bloomsbury Academic 9781628920093.
  • Burrows, S. (2013), 'French banned books in international perspective, 1770-1789', Experiencing the French Revolution, Voltaire Foundation 9780729410663.
  • Burrows, S. (2011), 'Les traductions : editions anglaises des Vies privees francaises (1718-1838)', Dictionnaire des vies privees (1722-1842), Voltaire Foundation 9780729410090.
  • Burrows, S. (2010), 'The Courier de l'Europe as an agent of cultural transfer (1776-1791)', Cultural Transfers: France and Britain in the Long Eighteenth Century, Voltaire Foundation 9780729409933.
  • Burrows, S., Conlin, J., Goulbourne, R. and Mainz, V. (2010), 'Introduction', The Chevalier d'Eon and his Worlds: Gender, Espionage and Politics in the Eighteenth Century, Continuum 9780826422781.
  • Burrows, S. (2010), 'The Chevalier d'Eon, media manipulation and the making of an eighteenth-century celebrity', The Chevalier d'Eon and his Worlds: Gender, Espionage and Politics in the Eighteenth Century, Continuum 9780826422781.
  • Thomson, A. and Burrows, S. (2010), 'Introduction', Cultural Transfers: France and Britain in the Long Eighteenth Century, Voltaire Foundation 9780729409933.
  • Burrows, S. (2008), 'Grub Street revolutionaries : marginal writers at the Enlightenment's periphery?', Peripheries of the Enlightenment, Voltaire Foundation 9780729409261.
  • Burrows, S. (2007), 'The emigres and conspiracy in the French Revolution, 1789-1799', Conspiracy in the French Revolution, Manchester University Press 9780719074028.
  • Burrows, S. (2006), 'Police and political pamphleteering in late ancien regime France : the testimony of J.-P. Lenoir, Lieutenant-General of Police of Paris', Print and Power in France and England, 1500-1800, Ashgate 9780754655916.
  • Burrows, S. (2006), 'The war of words : French and British propaganda in the Napoleonic Era', Trafalgar in History: a Battle and its Afterlife, Palgrave 9780230009004.
  • Burrows, S. (2006), 'Press and newspapers', Europe 1789 to 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire. Vol. 4, Charles Scribner's Sons 9780684313597.
  • Burrows, S. (2006), 'Britain and the Black legend : the genesis of the anti-Napoleonic myth', Resisting Napoleon: the British Response to the Threat of Invasion, 1797-1815, Ashgate 9780754653134.
  • Burrows, S. (2006), 'The Black Legend of Napoleon', Resisting Napoleon: the British Response to the Threat of Invasion, 1798-1815, Ashgate 9780754655916.

Journal Articles

  • Burrows, S. (2017), 'Omissions and revisions in enlightenment book history : a rejoinder to Robert Darnton', French History and Civilization, vol 7 , pp 209 - 217.
  • Burrows, S. (2017), 'Forgotten best-sellers of pre-revolutionary France', French History and Civilization, vol 7 , pp 51 - 65.
  • Burrows, S., Ensor, J., Henningsgaard, P. and Hiribarren, V. (2016), 'Mapping print, connecting cultures', Library and Information History, vol 32, no 4 , pp 259 - 271.
  • Burrows, S. (2015), 'Locating the minister's looted books : from provenance and library history to the digital reconstruction of print culture', Library and Information History, vol 31, no 1 , pp 1 - 17.
  • Burrows, S. (2015), 'Charmet and the book police : clandestinity, illegality and popular reading in late Ancien Regime France', French History and Civilization: Papers from the George Rude Seminar, vol 6 , pp 34 - 55.
  • Burrows, S. (2015), 'Bibliometrics, popular reading, and the literary field of an enlightenment publisher', Annuaire d'Etudes Francaises, vol 2015 , pp 15 - 43.
  • Burrows, S. (2013), 'In search of enlightenment : from mapping books to cultural history', Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, vol 13, no 4 , pp 3 - 28.
  • Burrows, S. and Curran, M. (2012), 'The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe Project and the STN Database', Journal of Digital Humanities, vol 1, no 3 .
  • Burrows, S. (2012), 'The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe, 1769-1794 : author's response', Reviews in History, .
  • Burrows, S. and Curran, M. (2012), 'How Swiss was the Societe Typographique de Neuchatel? : a digital case study of French book trade networks', Journal of Digital Humanities, vol 1, no 3 .

Other Publications

  • 2012, 'Societe Typographique de Neuchatel Online Database Archive v.1.1', Recorded Work

I currently head the team developing the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe (FBTEE) database project, with the assistance of generous seedcorn funding from Western Sydney University. The database is now hosted by UWS and can be consulted at The project was originally funded with a grant of over 355,000 pounds from the British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) which ran from 2007 to 2011 and the database was published in 2012 to wide acclaim. One reviewer went so far as to suggest it played an important role in bringing the historical profession into the age of digitial technologies and GIS. The original database contains data on the trade of a single Swiss publishing house (the STN) with the whole of Europe, and contains data on about 450,000 copies of 4,000 titles.

Since my arrival at Western, we have began adding new data to the database concerning the production or circulation of around 4,500,000 further works. In all this industrial scale 'big data' survey will contain data on around 20% of the books printed and circulated in France and Europe in the 20 years before the French revolution of 1789. Many forms of historical and literary research are possible through the database, and to date it has been visited by over 11,000 people who have made over 70,000 searches to date (as of May 2015). There are many more datasets that I hope to add to the database and many possible projects for research students to work with me and the Digital Humanities Research Group on this ambitious, innovative and globally leading digital project. We are also beginning to explore British and Australian projects and welcome inquiries about these projects too.

In October 2015 the FBTEE team were awarded further funding of $459,000 from the ARC to expand the database and link it to other major resources. Collaborators on this project, which commences June 2016 and runs for two years, include emeritus professor Angus Martin at the University of Sydney and Professor Dan Edelstein of Stanford University as well as my Western Sydney colleagues Dr Jason Ensor and Dr Rachel Hendery. The new project website is at 

In 2016 a further book trade project, ARCHivER, headed by Jason Ensor and on which I am a Chief Investigator, won $160,000 cash and $30,000 in-kind funding from the Australian National Data Service. This project runs til 2017.

As a member of the FBTEE / ARCHivER team, I am heavily involved in knowledge exhange and collaborative research initiatives with major projects overseas, including the MEDIATE project at Radboud University (NL); the Stanford University (US) 'Mapping the Republic of Letters' project; the University of Liverpool (UK) based 'Community Libraries' project. Other collaborative partnerships in development include the University of Amsterdam (NL); MIT (US); the Electronic Enlightenment (Oxford); and (in my capacity as Leader of the Digital Humanities Research Group) the Canadian 'Implementing New Knowledge Environments' partnership.

This information has been contributed by Professor Burrows.

Current Projects

Title: Libraries, Reading Communities and Cultural Formation in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic
  • Arts & Humanities Research Council
Western Researchers: Simon Burrows and Rachel Hendery
Years: 2019-07-01 - 2022-07-01
ID: P00025671
Title: The Canadian-Australian Partnership for Open Scholarship - No funds to WSU
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Western Researchers: Simon Burrows
Years: 2019-04-01 - 2022-03-31
ID: P00025667
Title: Beyond Enlightenment: The Popular Intellectual Culture of Western Europe, 1660-1790 -No funds to WSU
  • Radboud University Nijmegen
Western Researchers: Simon Burrows
Years: 2020-06-15 - 2021-05-16
ID: P00025871
Title: Mapping Print, Charting Enlightenment
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: Simon Burrows, Jason Ensor, Rachel Hendery and Tomas Trescak
Years: 2016-06-13 - 2021-06-12
ID: P00022619

Previous Projects

Title: Angus and Robertson Collection for Humanities and Education Research (ARCHivER) [via Monash Uni]
  • Department of Education and Training (non ACRG)
Western Researchers: Jason Ensor and Simon Burrows
Years: 2016-05-16 - 2018-12-31
ID: P00023456
Title: Contemporary European Citizenship Politics Conference
  • Embassy of France
Western Researchers: Simon Burrows and Margarite Poulos
Years: 2016-07-01 - 2016-07-31
ID: P00023537

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