Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century culture, especially fiction and drama; oriental fiction; women's writing and feminist theory; ideas of cognition and character in literary and theatrical representation. Currently working on a book about the theatre and the novel in eighteenth-century England.
Major publications are Seductive Forms: Women's Amatory Fiction 1640-1740 (1992); Women's Worlds: Ideology, Femininity and the Woman's Magazine (1991); editor of Penguin Classics, Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility (1996); Fabulous Orients: Fictions of the East in England 1662-1785 (2005 - winner of the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize from the British Academy) and an accompanying anthology Fables of the East (2005); The History of British Women's Writing, 1690 - 1750: Volume Four (History of British Women's Writing) ed. Ros Ballaster (2010).
“Thoroughly to unfold the labyrinths of the human mind”: Distributed Cognition and Women (Novelist)’s Representation of Theatre in Eighteenth-Century England’, Ballaster, R, 2019, Distributed Cognition in Enlightenment and Romantic Culture, eds. Anderson, M, Roussesau, G, Wheeler, M, 30 September 2019, Edinburgh History of Distribution , Edinburgh, pp.170 - 186.
'Dramatic satire', Ballaster, R, 2019, The Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth-Century Satire, ed. Bullard, P. Oxford University Press, USA.
Sensible Readers: Experiments in Feeling in Early Prose Fiction by Women, Ballaster, R, 2019, in The Sentimental Novel in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Rivero, A, Cambridge University Press.