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Summary: Nineteenth-Century literature and culture; the Victorian novel; authorship and the literary profession; literature and modernity; Henry James; William Makepeace Thackeray
My main research interests lie within the field of Nineteenth-Century British and American literature and culture. I have particular interests in the Victorian novel; authorship and the literary profession; celebrity culture; Victorian periodicals and print culture; literature and modernity; Henry James; and W.M. Thackeray
My work on the development of professional authorship in the early Victorian period culminated in the publication of The Formation of the Victorian Literary Profession (Cambridge University Press, 2013). This book examines the figure of the author in narrative and iconographic texts of the mid-nineteenth century alongside the emergence of professional literary organizations. It discusses the work of a number of major Victorian writers, including Thomas Carlyle, William Thackeray, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Harriet Martineau, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Charles Kingsley. I am currently planning a sequel to this volume, which will examine the influence of Walter Besants Incorporated Society of Authors on late-Victorian literary culture and technologies of writing.
Stemming from doctoral research at the University of London, my longstanding interest in Henry James has focused on the response of his writing to forms of mass culture and modern publicity emerging in the late nineteenth century. This is a topic which I explored in my first monograph, Henry James and the Culture of Publicity (1997), and to which I have recently returned for a forthcoming scholarly edition of James's satirical novel on the popular press, The Reverberator (1888), in the Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James (Vol.10).
A recent co-edited collection of essays on William Makepeace Thackeray, Thackeray in Time: History, Memory, and Modernity (2016), focussing on the temporal dimensions of his work, originated in a bicentenary conference held in Leeds back in 2011. My contribution to this volume developed ideas about the relationship between writing, modernity, and literary fashion in the Victorian period, which I continue to explore.
Another focus of recent and ongoing research is the nineteenth-century genre of the Bildungsroman, on which I have published several essays, including a forthcoming contribution to the Cambridge History of the Bildungsroman. Future work in this field will consider the Victorian Bildungsroman in the context of the discursive history of 'self-culture'.
I have supervised doctoral research on a wide range of Victorian writers, including Dickens, Gaskell, Henry James, Swinburne, Hardy, Thackeray, George Meredith, and Wilde, and on topics as diverse as Victorian Medievalism, Empire, science fiction, historiography, masculinity, religion, and the radical press. I'm happy to consider proposals for PhD research on most aspects of Victorian literature, or in any of the areas of special interest outlined above.
The Formation of the Victorian Literary Profession (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
William Makepeace Thackeray (Tavistock: Northcote House, 2005)
Henry James and the Culture of Publicity (Cambridge University Press, 1997)
Henry James, The Reverberator, Volume 10 of The Complete Fiction of Henry James (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)
[Co-edited with Alice Crossley] Thackeray in Time: History, Memory and Modernity (Routledge, 2016)
'Thackeray's Ephemera: Fashion, Modernity and the Sketch' in Thackeray in Time: History, Memory, and Modernity, ed. Richard Salmon and Alice Crossley (Routledge, 2016), pp. 17-32.The Bildungsroman and Nineteenth-Century British Fiction in The History of the Bildungsroman, ed. Sarah Graham (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) The Literature of Labour: Collective Biography and Working-Class Authorship, 1830-1859 in Work Ethics: The Labour of Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Marcus Waithe and Claire White (Palgrave, forthcoming)
'The English Bildungsroman' in The Oxford History of the Novel in English. Volume 3: The Nineteenth-Century Novel 1820-1880, ed. John Kucich and Jenny Bourne Taylor (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 90-105.
'Authorship' in Henry James in Context, ed. David McWhirter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 105-114.
'The Physiognomy of the Lion: Encountering Literary Celebrity in the Nineteenth Century' in Romanticism and Celebrity Culture 1750-1850, ed. Tom Mole (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 60-78.
'"The Unaccredited Hero": Alton Locke, Thomas Carlyle, and the Formation of the Working-Class Intellectual' in The Working-Class Intellectual in Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Britain, ed. Aruna Krishnamurthy (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 167-93.
'Henry James in the Public Sphere' in A Concise Companion to Henry James, ed. Greg Zacharias (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), pp. 456-71.
'"Farewell poetry and aerial flights": The Function of the Author and Victorian Fiction' in A Concise Companion to the Victorian Novel, ed. Francis O'Gorman (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005), pp. 134-55.
'"A Simulacrum of Power": Intimacy and Abstraction in the Rhetoric of the New Journalism' in Nineteenth-Century Media and the Construction of Identities, ed. Laurel Brake, Bill Bell, and David Finkelstein (Houndmills: Macmillan, 2000), pp.27-39.
'Aestheticism in Translation: Henry James, Walter Pater, and Theodor Adorno' in Translating Life: Studies in Transpositional Aesthetics, ed. Shirley Chew and Alistair Stead (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1999), pp.277-296.
'The Right to Privacy/The Will to Knowledge: Henry James and the Ethics of Biographical Enquiry' in Writing the Lives of Writers, ed. Warwick Gould and Thomas F. Staley (Houndmills: Macmillan, 1998), pp.135-149.
What the World Says: Henry Jamess The Reverberator, Celebrity Journalism, and Global Space, Comparative American Studies, Vol. 14 (1), 2016
'Professions of Labour: David Copperfield and the "Dignity of Literature"', Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Vol. 29, Number 1, March 2007, pp. 35-52.
'The Genealogy of the Literary Bildungsroman: Edward Bulwer-Lytton and W.M. Thackeray', Studies in the Novel, Vol. XXXVI Number 1, Spring 2004, pp. 41-55.
'Thomas Carlyle and the Idolatry of the Man of Letters', Journal of Victorian Culture, Vol. 7 Number 1, Spring 2002, pp. 1-22.
'Henry James, Popular Culture, and Cultural Theory', Henry James Review,Vol.19 Number 3, 1998, pp.211-218.
'"A Simulacrum of Power": Intimacy and Abstraction in the Rhetoric of the New Journalism", Victorian Periodicals Review, Vol.30 Number 1, 1997, pp.41-52. [reprinted in Nineteenth-Century Media and the Construction of Identities]
'Appealing to the Crowd: Henry James and the Science of Popularity', Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, Vol. 30 Number 1, 1997, pp.53-68.
'Signs of Intimacy: The Literary Celebrity in the "Age of Interviewing"', Victorian Literature and Culture, Vol. 25 Number 1, 1997, pp.159-177.
'The Secret of the Spectacle: Epistemology and Commodity Display in The Ambassadors', Henry James Review, Vol.14 Number 1, 1993, pp.43-54
I have published book reviews in the Journal of Historical Biography, Journal of Victorian Culture, Literature and History, Notes and Queries, Victorian Studies, Modern Language Review, and James Joyce Broadsheet
I have reviewed book manuscripts and proposals for the following publishers: Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, University of South Carolina Press, Liverpool University Press, Broadview, Routledge
I have reviewed article submissions for the following academic journals: Clio: Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History, The Henry James Review, Modern Language Review, Review of English Studies, Nineteenth Century Contexts, Nineteenth Century Literature, Religion and Literature, Victorian Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, Journal of Victorian Culture, PMLA, Womens Writing, and Victorian Periodicals Review
These are some of the academic conferences and symposia which I have been invited to speak at (or helped to convene) over the past decade:
"This Unpredictable Person": Charles Kingsley at 200 (Gladstone Library, 2017)
MLA Convention: Literature and Its Publics (Austin, Texas, 2016)
British Association of Victorian Studies conference: Victorian Ages (Leeds Trinity, 2015)
Celebrity Culture and Theory symposium (Leeds Becket, 2015)
Transatlantic Fame: Celebrity Encounters in the Nineteenth Century (Portsmouth, 2014)
Creative Communities, 1760-1830 (AHRC Network, UCL, 2013)
- Work Ethics: Rethinking Literary Labour in the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge University, 2012)
- Placing Henry James (Notre Dame University, London, 2012)
- Thackeray in Time, 1811-2011 (University of Leeds 2011)
- Literature and Sculpture in the Nineteenth Century (Royal Holloway 2009)
- The Thomas Carlyle Conference (University of Glasgow, September 2008)
- Artistry and Industry: Representations of Creative Labour in Literature and the Visual Arts 1830-1900 (University of Exeter, July 2008)
- Cultural Industries and Elites: British Association of Victorian Studies (University of Salford, August 2007)
- The Verbal and the Visual in Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture (University of London 2006)
- In 2013 I gave a public lecture on Literature and the Industrial Revolution at an arts event in Leeds organized by the charity Alchemy Anew and Opera North, 'Temples, Towers, Foundries and Arches:Holbeck Narratives'
- In 2012 I led a Dickens reading group on Dombey and Son at the Ilkley Literature Festival, celebrating the Dickens bicentenary.
- External examiner for the BA English programme in the Department of English and Creative Writing, University of Aberystwyth, 2011-2014
- Visiting examiner for the undergraduate English degree programme at King's College London, 2004-2007.
- External examiner of PhD theses at the Universities of London, Cambridge, and Andhra (India).
In 2017-18 I will be teaching the following UG and PG option modules:
Undergraduate (Level 2/3)
Semester 1: Forming Victorian Fiction
Semester 1: Apprentices to Life: The Nineteenth-Century Bildungsroman