Simon Cooke holds B.A. and M.A. degrees (Birmingham), a doctorate from Exeter, and teaching qualifications from the Open University and the University of Leicester.

From 1986 until 2001 he was a tutor in adult education for the School of Continuing Studies, University of Birmingham, spending a good part of that time as the Director of Studies for the Certificate and Diploma programmes in Modern Art. Simon Cooke has also worked as a lecturer and researcher for Coventry University and the University of Exeter, and as a vocational adviser. He is currently employed as a teacher specializing in sixth form studies in English language and literature.

Simon Cooke is the author of Illustrated Periodicals of the 1860s: Contexts and Collaborations (2010); and co-editor, with Professor Paul Goldman, of Reading Victorian Illustration, 1855 –1875 (2012), to which he also contributed an introduction and chapter.

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He has published a wide variety of articles on Victorian literature, art and illustration. His essays have appeared in a range of British and American journals, including the Dickens Studies Annual, Dickens Quarterly, Victorian Periodicals Review, Brontë Studies, The Private Library, VIJ, the Thomas Hardy Journal, The Wilkie Collins Journal, Le Fanu Studies, The Journal of Illustration, Studies in Illustration, and a number of others. He has also contributed book-chapters and introductions to studies and critical editions of Le Fanu, the Pre-Raphaelites, Ruskin, and Victorian illustrators. He is currently working, again with Paul Goldman, on a collection of critical essays on George du Maurier.

Cooke is a great collector of Victorian illustrated texts, and has a large library of firsts by Dickens and Thackeray, gift books, children's books, picture books, and periodicals of the 1860s. His collection of illustrated books of the 1860s is probably one of the finest in private ownership.

His other interests include writing poetry; visiting ancient monuments (an interest that extends from Neolithic circles and tombs to castles and the great cathedrals); raising money for charity; and good food. He also has a developed knowledge of film; the son of the proprietor of an independent cinema, he grew up in ‘the culture of the moving image’, and was able to view the master movies from the projectionist’s side of the projector. He is also proud to be a Welsh borderer. Of mixed Welsh and English ancestry, his lineage is further enriched by the gene of a Spanish sailor who was captured and abducted by Admiral Rodney following the Battle of Cadiz and imprisoned in mid-Wales, where he settled and intermarried with the local Cymry, taking the name of Cadwallader.

Simon Cooke most enjoys his time in the Marches to the west of Hereford, especially when he finds time to browse the second-hand and antiquarian bookshops of Hay-on-Wye.

Last modified 20 May 2013