Professor Francis O'Gorman

Professor of Victorian Literature

+44(0) 113 343 4798 (email preferred). House 5 Rm 3 first floor.

Summary: 19thc literature and culture; John Ruskin; A.C. Swinburne; conceptions of literary 'life'; Modernism; Venice; mental health and writing/reading; textual editing; poetry of all periods.

Location: 5 Cavendish Road

Professor Francis O'Gorman MA, DPhil (Oxford), FRHistS

Research and Writing Interests

My principal research and writing interests are in English literature including John Ruskin and Algernon Charles Swinburne; Edward Thomas and Samuel Taylor Coleridge; nineteenth and twentieth-century poetry; conceptions of literary 'life'; Venice; textual editing; biography; manuscripts; poetry of all periods. I am also developing a career as a writer of creative non-fiction.

Recent books are:

1. My edited collection of essays, The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Culturewas published in 2010.

2. Anthony Trollope's novel The Duke's Children, co-edited with Katherine Mullin for Oxford University Press,  published in August 2011.  

3. My edition of John Ruskin's Praeterita for Oxford University Press, published in May 2012 and described by the Times Literary Supplement as 'exemplary'.

4. My edition of Margaret Oliphant's The Makers of Venice for Pickering & Chatto, published in June 2012.

5. My edition of Elizabeth Gaskell's Sylvia's Lovers (Oxford University Press, 2014). The surviving manuscript of this novel is in Special Collections, Brotherton Library.

6. Anthony Trollope's Framley Parsonage co-edited for Oxford University Press, published in November 2014.

My other books are listed below.

My current and recently completed projects are:

1. A substantial new edition of the selected plays, prose, poetry, and fiction of Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), for Oxford University Press (now with the Press), General Editor: Seamus Perry;

2. The Cambridge Companion to John Ruskin, edited by Francis O'Gorman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016);

3. Volume 5 of the Oxford University Press Selected Prose of Edward Thomas (General Editors Guy Cuthbertson and Lucy Newlyn), which includes his literary critical studies Algernon Charles Swinburne: A Critical Study (1912) and Walter Pater: A Critical Study (1913). This is due for delivery in 2016.

4. A new edition of Trollope's The Way We Live Now for Oxford University Press, to be published in 2017.

5. I have just completed the period as PI on an AHRC-funded research network entitled Victorian Lives and Letters Consortium, which is leading the development of digital curation and editing in 19thc literary and historical studies. The Co-I was Dr Marion Thain, New York University. This grant culminated in an international colloquium on digital curation in June 2014. The current activity of the VLLC ,which is wider than this single grant--is currently centred on the the diary journals of John Ruskin, and those of Michael Field, together with the political and private correspondence of W.E. Gladstone. The VLLC more broadly defined involves colleagues from St Joseph's University Philadelphia, Western Carolina University, Center for Digital Humanities University of South Carolina, the British Library, the Ruskin Library University of Lancaster, as well as other major international collaborators.

Creative non-fiction

6Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015)--this work of creative non-fiction is now with my publisher and scheduled for publication on 2 July 2015. This book is represented in the United States by my agent, Stacey Glick of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, One Union Square West, New York.

7. I have just completed a second volume, entitled Forgetfulness: Remembered Histories. 'Interweaving personal with cultural histories, Francis O’Gorman’s new study of the troubled mind is an inventive account of a little-discussed but enormous problem: the problem of forgetting. In an innovative and unexpected way, O’Gorman assembles a sequence of narratives and reflections that, taken together, comprise a rich excursion into what can’t be remembered. Exploring the narratives of reconstructed lives, of shattered memories and destroyed cities, Forgetfulness assembles a sequence of variations on a theme that reveals, directly or obliquely, elements of the author’s own surprising history. The book thinks about the meaning of an ongoing struggle with a poor memory but also with the opposite problem of not being able to forget.

    O’Gorman writes about vanishing memories through the testimony of restored buildings and the precariousness of anything that has clung on through time. Musing on a forgetful reader’s strange relationship with books that don’t stay in the mind, Forgetfulness contemplates what it is we think we remember when actually we do not. O’Gorman ponders a history of damnation and the nature of Purgatory where memories are wiped clean; he ruminates on painful personal scenes and secrets that need to be obliterated or which require the past to be recalled and rewritten. He retells the medical histories of those whose minds have been damaged; and he returns over and again to J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations as a work of remembering and of hearing afresh what has been more or less forgotten. A book of leitmotifs and recurrence, Forgetfulness imaginatively places the author’s own persistent and sometimes panicked forgetfulness among strands of the histories of loss, the history of reading, and the histories of Hamburg and of Venice. Considering a bracing view of modern life as a culture of amnesia, where forgetting is peculiarly installed in the ways we live and die, Forgetfulness is part cultural and literary history, part travel narrative, part private revelation, and partly a salute to the precious things that stay in the mind despite dissolution.'

8. Venice and the Meaning of Somewhere--in preparation.

Other recent information includes:

In the summer of 2013 I was an elected Visiting Scholar of St John's College Oxford, working on my Swinburne edition.

I am currently (2013-15) an external examiner for the University of Cambridge (English BA, Tripos Part II). I have recently served as external examiner for the University of Oxford (BA) and the University of York (MA) as well, prior to that, at the Universities of Hull (BA) and Lancaster (MA).

Recently, I have externally examined doctoral theses in the Universities of Oxford, Birmingham, St Andrews, Lancaster, Cambridge, Queen Mary London, King's College London, Reading, and Edith Cowan University Western Australia.

I have written widely on the defence of the arts and humanities in the modern English university and am a regular lecturer, reviewer, and plenary speaker on both nineteenth-century literature and the condition of the modern university. 

I was an advisory editor (for Victorian poetry) for The Oxford Companion to English Literature, edited by Dinah Birch (2009) and am a Companion of the Guild of St George (the organization that Ruskin set up in the mid-1870s and which still exists for educational purposes).  I am a Visiting Professor at the Ruskin Centre of the University of Lancaster and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  I currently serve on the editorial boards of the Journal of Victorian Culture Worldviews, Carlyle Studies Annual, and the Ruskin Review and Bulletin and read proposals and mss for a wide variety of presses and periodicals in Europe and US. 

Teaching 2014-15

I am on academic research leave during this period.


I was Tutor for Undergraduate Admissions in the School of English, 2000-2; Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of English, 2003-5; Director of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, 2006-7; Head of the School of English, 1 June 2007-31 July 2011.

Postgraduate Research

I have supervised and externally examined widely. Recent PhD students working with me at Leeds have written or are writing on topics including the novels of Mary Webb; bio-fiction about the Brontës between the two world wars; Ernest Jones and Chartist Poetry; Jerome K. Jerome and the work of parody; 'mysticism' in Victorian poetry; Emily Brontë; ancient Egypt in the late nineteenth century.

PUBLICATIONS (a complete list may be supplied on request)


1. John Ruskin (Stroud: Sutton 1999), ISBN 0750921420, pp.xiii, 114

2. Late Ruskin: New Contexts, The Nineteenth-Century Series ( Aldershot and Burlington VT : Ashgate, 2001) ISBN 184014629X, pp.xii, 180

3. Ruskin and Gender edited with an introduction by Dinah Birch and Francis O'Gorman (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002) with essays by Dinah Birch, Joseph Bristow, J. B. Bullen, Emily Eells, Francis O'Gorman, Linda Peterson, Catherine Robson, Lindsay Smith, and Sharon Aronofsky Weltman. ISBN 0333968972, pp.xiii, 211

4. Blackwell's Critical Guide to the Victorian Novel ( Oxford : Blackwell, 2002, reprinted 2003) ISBN 0631227032/0631227040 (hbk/pbk), pp. xix, 344 (including 80,000 words of my own text)

5. The Victorians and the Eighteenth Century: Reassessing the Tradition, edited with an introduction by Francis O'Gorman and Katherine Turner (Aldershot and Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2004) with essays by David Amigoni, Dinah Birch , Simon Dentith, Hilary Fraser, Nick Groom, Elisabeth Jay, Lynda Mugglestone, Francis O'Gorman, Helen Small , Katherine Turner, Carolyn Williams, and with a preface by David Fairer. Pp. xvi, 268; 6 illus. ISBN: 0754607186

6. Victorian Poetry: An Annotated Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), lix, 739pp, 12 illus. ISBN: 0631234357

7. Concise Companion to the Victorian Novel, ed. Francis O'Gorman (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004 ['2005' on title page], reprinted 2005, published as an e-book February 2007) in the Contexts of Literature and Theory series with essays by Kate Flint, James Eli Adams, Angelique Richardson , Cannon Schmitt, Nicholas Dames, Francis O'Gorman, Clare Pettitt, Richard Salmon , John Rignall, Michael Wheeler, Carolyn Dever, and Mark Turner ISBN: 1405103205

8. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles with 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band', ed. Francis O'Gorman ( Ontario : Broadview, 2006), 300 pp, illus, ISBN 1551117223.

9. Victorian Literature and Finance, ed. with an Introduction by Francis O'Gorman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN-10: 0-19-928192-0/ISBN-13: 978-0-19-928192-3)-essays by Gordon Bigelow, Alison Chapman, Josephine Guy, Nancy Henry, Tara McGann, Jane Moody, Francis O'Gorman, Catherine Seville, and Nicholas Shrimpton. 

10. The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Culture, ed. Francis O'Gorman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010) with essays by Elizabeth Prettejohn, Ruth A. Solie, Katherine Newey, Matthew Rubery, Nicola Humble, Anna Maria Jones, Nicholas Daly, Bernard V. Lightman, Timothy Alborn, Edward S. Spiers, Dennis Denisoff, John Strachan, Francis O'Gorman, and Samantha Matthews with an introduction by Francis O'Gorman-ISBN 978-0-521-88699-4/978-0-521-71506-5; xv, 1-309pp, illus.

11. Anthony Trollope, The Duke's Children, edited with an Introduction and Notes by Katherine Mullin and Francis O'Gorman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)-part of a new complete edition of the Palliser novels.  Our 'Biographical Preface' and 'Chronology' is used in all the new Pallisers.

12.  John Ruskin, Praeteritaedited with an Introduction and Notes by Francis O'Gorman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

13. Margaret Oliphant's The Makers of VeniceDoges, Conquerors and Men of Letters (1887) complete text for volume 8, set 2, of The Selected Works of Margaret Oliphant, General Editors Elisabeth Jay and Joanne Shattock (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2012)

14. Elizabeth Gaskell, Sylvia's Lovers, edited with an Introduction and Notes by Francis O'Gorman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

15. Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage, edited with an Introduction and Notes by Katherine Mullin and Francis O'Gorman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)-part of a new complete edition of the Barchester novels.  Our 'Biographical Preface' and 'Chronology' is used in all the new texts.

16. Oxford Twenty-first Century Authors: Algernon Charles Swinburneedited with an Introduction and Notes by Francis O'Gorman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015)

17. The Cambridge Companion to John Ruskin, edited by Francis O'Gorman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)

18. Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015)


‘Later Victorian Voices 2: Davidson, Kipling, Michael Field, Kendall, Lee-Hamilton, Webster’ in Michael O’Neill, ed., The Cambridge History of English Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 706-24.

‘Financial Markets and the Banking System’ in Dickens in Context, ed. by Sally Ledger† and Holly Furneaux (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 276-83.

‘The Rural Scene: Victorian Literature and the Natural World’ in Kate Flint, ed., The New Cambridge History of English Literature: The Victorian Period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 532-49.

‘Romance and Realism’ in Robert L. Caserio and Clement Hawes, eds., The Cambridge History of the English Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 485-99.

‘Did Ruskin Support the Pre-Raphaelites?’ in Keith Hanley and Brian Maidment, eds., Persistent Ruskin: Studies in Influence, Assimilation and Effect (Burlington VT and Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013), 81-92.

‘Hardy and Realism’ in Philip Mallett, ed., Thomas Hardy in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 113-21.

‘On Not Hearing: Victorian Poetry and Music’ in Matthew Bevis, ed., The Oxford Handbook to Victorian Poetry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 745-61.

‘Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son, Modernism, and a History of Nerves’ in Maria DiBattista and Emily Wittman, eds, Modernism and Autobiography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 3-17.


‘Ruskin, Science, and the Miracles of Life’, Review of English Studies, 61 (2010): 276-88.

‘What is Haunting Tennyson’s Maud (1855)?’, Victorian Poetry, 48 (2010): 293-311.

Review essay: ‘Robert Hewison, Ruskin on Venice: The Paradise of Cities (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009)’, Carlyle Studies Annual, 26 (2010): 187-97 (contains original material discussing Ruskin and Venice).

‘Coleridge, Keats, and the Science of Breathing’, Essays in Criticism, 61 (2011): 365-81.

‘Margaret Oliphant and The Cornhill in 1889’, Notes & Queries, 58 (2011): 567-8.

‘Walter Pater and Oscar Browning: The “Last” Meeting’, The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, 20 (2011): 72-6.

‘What is Haunting Dubliners?’, The James Joyce Quarterly, 48.3 (2011): 445-56 (published Nov. 2012)

‘Larkin Hearing’, Literary Imagination, 14 (2012): 35-45.

‘Remembering Edward Thomas’, Agenda, 2012 (supplementary essays of greater length than those in hard copy)

‘Matthew Arnold and Rereading’, The Cambridge Quarterly, 41 (2012): 245-61.

‘Gaskell’s Sylvia’s Lovers and the Scandal in Trollope’s The Warden’, Notes & Queries, 59 (2012): 336-9.

‘Swinburne and Ireland’, Review of English Studies, 64 (2013):  654-74. ‘Editor’s Choice 2013’

‘Modernism, T.S. Eliot, and the “Age of Worry”’, Textual Practice, 26 (2012): 1001-19.

‘Hopkins’ Yonder’, Literature and Theology, 27 (2013): 81-97.

‘Swinburne and Mary Gordon’, Notes & Queries, 60 (2013):  263-5.

‘The Touching Distances of Joyce’s Pomes Penyeach, Agenda, 47 (2013): 122-9.

‘“Influence” in the Contemporary Study of the Humanities: The Problem of Ruskin’, Carlyle Studies Annual, 28 (2013): 5-29.

‘Swinburne and the “unutterable sadness” of Philip Bourke Marston’, Literary Imagination, 15 (2013): 165-80.

‘Thomas Hardy and the Bishop of Wakefield’, N&Q, 61(2014): 86-9.

‘John Ruskin and Contemporary Economics’, Ruskin Review and Bulletin, 10 (2014): 4-10

‘Swinburne and Tennyson’s Peerage’ forthcoming in English Studies, end of 2014/beginning of 2015.