Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Noel Heather

Lecturer in Humanities Computing

Humanities Computing Section, Faculty of Arts & Music, and Dept. of History

Degrees etc

BA (French with subsid. Latin), DPhil (French Renaissance Literature), PG Dip. Comp. Sci., PG Dip. Ling.


Noel Heather's first career was in Renaissance French which he taught in the University of Wales (he also taught English for several years at the Universities of Picardie and Paris-X, Nanterre). After retraining in computing science and also linguistics, he was before coming to Royal Holloway a senior analyst advisor in the Humanities Computing section of the Computing Centre at King's College London. He was a lecturer in the English Dept. at Royal Holloway from 1993-2001.


Research interests are in literary and linguistic computing, especially as related to discourse analysis, and theology; late Medieval philosophy and Neo-Platonism in relation to Renaissance French literature (especially re Du Bartas and links with Milton's Paradise Lost); contemporary religious language within a postliberal framework; and humour in Renaissance literature and also contemporary language. He is author of books on humour and ambivalence in Du Bartas (1998), and contemporary religious discourse, focusing on the interface between theology and Critical Discourse Analysis (2000). Other publications range from analysis of the use of language in Internet-based Multi-user Virtual Reality (MUVR), to the application of models from artificial intelligence in the analysis of discourse. In addition to the book in 2000, he has published a wide variety of articles on religious discourse, mainly in theology journals, and this research has led to the development of a new avenue for theology, Critical Postliberalism ('CP'), accounts of which appear in Theology, March/April, 2002, and also (forthcoming) in the Scottish Journal of Theology: 'Critical Postliberalism: Lindbeck's Cultural-Linguistic System and the Socially Extrasystemic'. He also gave an account of CP as part of the seminar series of the Research Institute in Systematic Theology ( An account of recent developments in the Critical Postliberalism model is forthcoming (October 2005) in Critical Discourse Studies: 'Critical Postliberalism: Critical Discourse Analysis as the Basis for New Theology: Helping to Understand the Discourse of Hundreds of Millions Worldwide'.


In the History Dept. he has jointly taught the first-year Introduction to Historical Computing, and Statistics for Historians courses. In the Faculty of Arts he has been responsible for the Arts Computing pathway of the College Certificate in Computer Applications on which he has taught the degree course half-units Computing Applications for the Arts and Social Sciences, Computing and Literary Studies, and Computing, Language and Discourse. In addition to these undergraduate courses, he also teaches the postgraduate degree course option Computing and Medieval Studies, and, until recently, taught Cyberculture on the MA Postmodernism, Literature and Contemporary Culture. In addition he provides advice to undergraduate and postgraduate students on computing and also literary and linguistic matters (eg to postgraduates on discourse analysis in the Management Centre, and on literary statistics and authorship attribution in French literature (also, formerly, legal discourse in the English Dept.)). He has also jointly taught Theology and Literature, an option of the Certificate in Theological Studies.

Noel Heather's e-mail address is

Page revised August 2005