Professor Martyn Lyons

Emeritus Professor of History & European Studies
BA DPhil Oxford FAHA
School of Humanities & Languages


Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: Historical Studies, Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History), European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)
Tags: Understanding Australia's Past, Understanding Europe's Past, Understanding Past Societies


I was born in London, took my D.Phil. at Oxford University and have been at UNSW since 1977. I am a former head of the history school, and was the Faculty’s Associate Dean for Research and Postgraduate Affairs from 2002-7. I am currently Professor of History and European Studies in the School of Humanities. My main research interests are in two distinct fields: French revolutionary and Napoleonic history and the history of books, reading and writing in Europe and Australia. I have produced sixteen books, including 'A History of Reading and Writing in the Western World' (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010), and more recently 'The Writing Culture of ordinary people in Europe, c. 1860-1920' (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

I am currently working on an ARC-funded project to investigate the writing practices of uneducated and semi-literate peasants in France, Spain and Italy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I have held visiting positions at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, the University of Alcalá de Henares and the Universidade Federal Fluminense in Niteroi, Brazil. In 1997, I was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy for the Humanities. In 2003, I was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to the Humanities in the study of History. In 2008-20, I was President of the Australian Historical Association. In 2008, I was Campagnia di San Paolo- Bogliasco Foundation Fellow at the Liguria Study Centre in Genoa, and in 2010 I was a Camargo Foundation Fellow in Cassis, France.



Research Students supervised successfully to completion, either as main or joint supervisor:

S.J.Blair PhD, Newspapers and their Readers in early Eastern Australia (1990)

N.Doumanis PhD, Italian Fascist Occupation of the Dodecanese Islands: an oral history (1994)

M.Voykovic PhD, The Culture of Thriller Fiction in Britain, 1898-1945 : authors, publishers and the 1st World War (1996)

G.Daly PhD, Napoleonic Rouen: Society, the State & the Prefectoral Administration in the Seine-Inférieure, 1800-1815 (1998)

F.Alafaci MA, Catholic Antisemitism in France during the 3rd Republic (2000)

D.Luscombe PhD, Inscribing the Social Role of the Architect: Frontispieces to 16th-century Italian Architectural Treatises, 1485-1585 (2004)

J.Burgess PhD, The Origins of the Banlieue Rouge: Politics, Local Government and Communal Identity in Arcueil and Cachan, 1919-1958 (2005)

M.Zarimis PhD, The Influence of Darwinism in Modern Greek Literature: the case of Grigoris Xenopoulos (2007)

M.Stephens PhD, The History of the Australian Museum Library (2013)

A.Lander PhD, The History of Zionist Youth Movements in Australia (2013)


Research Students currently supervised either as main or joint supervisor:

E.Meadows PhD, Horrors and Magnificence: British Travellers to Calabria, 19thc-20thc


Honours and prizes

Fayolle Prize (Academie des Jeux Floraux, Toulouse), 1980

FASS Dean's Award for Best Monograph, 2013

Professional contribution

I have held research fellowships and visiting positions in Cambridge (UK), Paris, Niteroi (Brazil), Bogliasco (Italy), Alcala de Henares (Spain) and Cassis (France).


Affiliations and membership

Immediate Past President, Australian Historical Association;
Fellow. Australian Academy of the Humanities

Board of Directors, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing

Other information

I am a fellow of the Australian Academy for the Humanities, and in 2003 I was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to the humanities in the field of history. I was President of the Australian Historical Association from 2008-2010. I serve on the editorial boards of several history and social science journals, namely Genèses (France), Book History (USA), History Australia, European Legacy (Israel) and Memoires du livre (Canada).