Professor Peter D. McDonald is a Fellow of St Hugh's College and a Lecturer at the University of Oxford. He has written extensively on the history of 'literature' as a category from the nineteenth century to the present day, on publishing history, and on the relationship between literary institutions and the modern state.
For most of his professional life he has been thinking about the idea of culture as it has been shaped and reshaped over the past two hundred years, and about the processes and perils of literary guardianship, especially in the complex, mobile, and interconnected world that emerged in the course of the long twentieth century. This guiding interest has informed his work on censorship, the rise of mass culture, media history and questions of the book, the public value of literature, critical theory, and interculturalism. It has also led him to write on an eclectic range of authors, including Arnold, Beckett, Bennett, Blanchot, Bourdieu, Brink, Breytenbach, Coetzee, Conan Doyle, Conrad, Derrida, Gordimer, Jensma, Lawrence, Matthews, Mphahlele, Ndebele, Pound, Serote, Woolf, and Yeats. His main publications include 'British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice' (1997) and 'The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences' (2009).