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Summary: Victorian literature and culture
My research interests in Victorian literature and culture are informed by my interdisciplinary background - I have a BA in Modern History and a D.Phil. in English Literature, and have held Lectureships in both English and History Departments. My research to date has focused on the interactions between late-Victorian literature, science, and culture.
My first book, Robert Louis Stevenson, Science, and the Fin de Siècle (Palgrave, 2006; reissued as paperback 2009), examines Stevenson's writing in the context of late-Victorian evolutionist thought, arguing that his work questions scientific assumptions about progress from 'savagery' to 'civilization'. The study offers a new way of understanding the relationship between Stevenson's Scottish and Polynesian work. It also highlights the complex traffic of ideas between scientific and literary discourses, and shows that creative writers and scientists were engaged in a collective endeavour to understand the 'primitive' heritage of modern life.
My next monograph is an interdisciplinary study of representations of matriarchy in the Victorian period. Entitled 'She Who Must be Obeyed': Matriarchy in Victorian Anthropology and Fiction, this project investigates how debate about the imagined matriarchal past traversed Victorian scientific, fictional, and political discourses. Over recent years, I have presented research for this project, in conference and seminar papers on Haggard, late-Victorian anthropology, and feminism and matriarchy, at the Universities of Maastricht, Central England, Sheffield, Cambridge, Liverpool John Moores, Reading and Edinburgh.
I am also currently completing work on a new scholarly edition of The Amateur Emigrant, Stevenson's narrative of transatlantic 'slumming'. This work will be published in Edinburgh University Press's New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. I conducted the textual work for this edition in 2010, when I was awarded the Frederick and Marion Pottle Fellowship in British Studies by the Beinecke Library, Yale University.
My other research interests include imperial masculinities, Victorian periodical publishing, feminism, interdisciplinarity, medicine, and spiritualism.
'"King Romance" in Longman's Magazine: Andrew Lang and Literary Populism', in Victorian Periodicals Review 44.4 (winter 2011): 354-76.
'"Gladstone bags, shooting boots, and Bryant & May's matches": Empire, Commerce, and the Imperial Romance in the Graphic's Serialization of H. Rider Haggard's She', Studies in the Novel 43.2 (summer 2011): 152-78.
'Childhood and Psychology', in Penny Fielding, ed., The Edinburgh Companion to Robert Louis Stevenson (Edinburgh UP, 2010), 41-52.
I review regularly for Review of English Studies, English, Nineteenth-Century Literature, and Woman: A Cultural Review and act as a reader for Blackwell, the MLA, and the Journal for Victorian Culture
I welcome PhD proposals on any topic which falls into the broad research areas outlined above.
- Victorian Literature
- Literature of the 1890s
- Poetry: Reading and Interpretation
- Motherhood and Matriarchy in Victorian Literature
- Reading Victorian Literature: History, Text, and Context
- Imperial Masculinities: Late-Victorian Romance Fiction