19th Century Literature
Click to view research outputs for 19th Century Literature
Nineteenth-century literature is an internationally recognised area of strength in RHUL's English Department. ‘Team 19’, as the teaching team likes to call itself, is comprised of a relatively large group of world-leading academics whose expertise ranges chronologically from the beginning to the end of the nineteenth century, and intellectually across a diverse range of subjects from the canonical (for example, Dickens and Hardy) to the popular (for example, melodrama and pantomime); from the big global issues (Empire and imperialism) to the overlooked (maritime widows); from the static (sculpture and painting) to the mobile (stage coaches and transport).
Undergraduates can study courses like Victorian Literature, which is a broad-based period course, or more focused options like Literature of the Fin de Siecle or Fictions of Sensation, or special author options on Dickens, Hardy or the Bronts.
At postgraduate level, the Department runs the established and successful MA in Victorian Literature, Art and Culture. It also leads the college’s prestigious Centre for Victorian Studies, which is widely known as a centre of excellence in Victorian Studies, hosting major international conferences, events and symposia over many years.
The Department is home to a large, thriving and international community of postgraduate students working on nineteenth-century literature and culture, and undergraduates and postgraduates are fortunate to have direct access to the world famous Royal Holloway Victorian art collection.
Man Proposes, God Disposes, by Edwin Landseer, 1864
This painting is on display in the Royal Holloway Picture Gallery
Staff and Research Areas
Dr Sophie Gilmartin is Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature. Her publications include Ancestry and Narrative in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture: Blood Relations from Edgeworth to Hardy (Cambridge UP) and, with Rod Mengham, Thomas Hardy’s Shorter Fiction: A Critical Study (Edinburgh UP). She also produced an edition of Anthony Trollope’s The Last Chronicle of Barset for Penguin Classics. Her publications, research and teaching are engaged with the literature and painting of the nineteenth century, and span this period; from Regency writers such as Jane Austen, Maria Edgeworth and Walter Scott, to the mid and late nineteenth century with work on the Brontes, Dickens, Trollope, Meredith and Hardy. Other areas of research include Victorian widowhood (for which she received a Leverhulme fellowship); nineteenth-century painting, especially narrative and social realist painting; narrative theory; Victorian social rituals; Victorian engagement and the marriage market; celestial navigation and the voyage and shipwreck in maritime literature, diaries and letters of the period. Her current book project explores the role of navigation and shipwreck as metaphor and reality in mid-nineteenth-century life writing and fiction. For this project she received an AHRC fellowship, and a Caird North American Fellowship from the National Maritime Museum. She is currently Deputy Head of the English Department, and the Director of the MA in Victorian, Literature, Art and Culture.
Dr Vicky Greenaway MA, PhD (RHUL) is a Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature. Vicky has two main areas of research. Responses in British Romantic and Victorian literature to the Italian Risorgimento and Italian nationalism formed the basis of her AHRC funded PhD thesis. Her second project, assisted by a Henry Moore Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 2009-10, focuses on interdisciplinary relationships between sculpture and poetry in the long nineteenth century. Both interests developed from her broader interest in the relation between poetics and aesthetics in the 18th and 19th centuries, with particular focus on models of art and literature that respond to theories of affect, sensation, and encounter. Vicky has published on Victorian Literature and the Italian Risorgimento, and more broadly on nineteenth-century art-history, including essays on the painters James Tissot and James Abbot McNeill Whistler. She is currently preparing a monograph on Sculpture and Poetry in the Long Nineteenth Century.
Professor Juliet John holds the Hildred Carlile Chair of English Literature and is Director of the Centre for Victorian Studies. She has published widely on Victorian Literature and Culture, including books on Dickens’s Villains: Melodrama, Character, Popular Culture (Oxford University Press, 2001; paperback, 2003) and Dickens and Mass Culture (Oxford University Press, 2010). She is the editor-in-chief of Oxford Bibliographies: Victorian Literature and Dickens and Modernity, the bicentenary edition of Essays and Studies (Boydell & Brewer, 2012). She was Principal Investigator of ‘Gladcat’ between 2006-9, an AHRC-funded project on Gladstone’s books and annotations, undertaken at Gladstone’s library, Hawarden, and as a result of this project, is editing (with Matthew Bradley) a book called Reading and the Victorians (Ashgate, 2013). Professor John also edited the recently-published book Dickens and Modernity, Essays and Studies, 65 (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer/The English Association, 2012), and she is editor of The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Literary Culture (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Dr Ruth Livesey’s teaching and research explores the play between history and literature in the nineteenth century. She has published widely on the politics of culture in fin de sicle Britain, including her first book, Socialism, Sex, and the Culture of Aestheticism in Britain, 1880-1914 (OUP, 2007). Ruth continues to teach and research aspects of aestheticism while completing a major book-length study ‘Writing the Stagecoach Nation, 1780-1870’. This work will explore the history of the novel in relation to the changing national communications and will include chapters on Scott, Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and George Eliot. Once this book is finished and Ruth returns from her current Leverhulme Research Fellowship, she will return to ideas about taste and democracy she explored in her co-edited collection, The American Experiment and the Idea of Democracy in British Culture, 1776-1914 (Ashgate, 2013). Ruth is an editor of the Journal of Victorian Culture and on the editorial boards of 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century and Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies. For more information about JVC take a look at our blog. As deputy and acting Director of the Centre for Victorian Studies between 2002 and 2012 Ruth helped to organise a number of major conferences and events and will co-organise BAVS 2013 at Royal Holloway.
Professor Adam Roberts is Professor of Nineteenth-century Literature and Culture. His PhD was a study of Robert Browning and the Classics, and he has published a variety of things on Browning, including Robert Browning Revisited (1997) and many articles. He co-edited volume 10 of the Oxford Poetical Works of Robert Browning with Yopie Prins, and published work on a variety of Romantic and Victorian poets and novelists. His most recent work includes a monograph on Walter Savage Landor called Landor's Cleanness. His other main research interest is science fiction, including 19th-century SF; he has published Science Fiction (Routledge 2002); The Palgrave History of Science Fiction (2006) and he co-edited the Routledge Companion to Science Fiction. He has published a number of novels, all of them science fiction, and one (Swiftly [Gollancz 2008]) set in the 1840s.
Professor Anne Varty, MA (Glas), DPhil (Oxon), is Professor of Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture. Her doctoral research on Walter Pater has developed into wide ranging interests in the development of Aestheticism, both in Britain and Europe. She also has strong interests in nineteenth-century theatre. Amongst her publications are A Preface to Oscar Wilde (Longman, 1998), Eve’s Century: A Sourcebook of Writings on Women and Journalism 1890-1918 (Routledge, 1999), Children and Theatre in Victorian Britain (Palgrave, 2007), shortlisted for the 2008 Best Theatre Book by Society for Theatre Research and awarded 2009 Honorable Mention, George Freedley Memorial Prize, US Theater Library Association. She also works on aspects of contemporary literature and theatre and is editing a volume of new work on Liz Lochhead for EUP. Her current nineteenth-century research focuses on fairy tales on the Victorian stage, and opium in British culture since 1800.
Publications / Projects
Click here for a full list of research outputs. Notable major volumes include:
- Bullen, J.B., The Pre-Raphaelite Body: Fear and Desire in Painting Poetry and Criticism (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1998)
- Bullen, J.B., Byzantium Rediscovered (Phaidon Press, 2003)
- Bullen, J.B., Continental Crosscurrents (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 2005)
- Bullen, J.B., Rossetti: painter and Poet (London: Frances Lincoln, 2011)
- Gilmartin, Sophie, Ancestry and Narrative in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture: Blood Relations from Edgeworth to Hardy (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
- Gilmartin, Sophie (ed.),Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset Penguin Classics (Penguin, 2002)
- Gilmartin, Sophie (with Rod Mengham), with Rod Mengham, Thomas Hardy’s Shorter Fiction: A Critical Study (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)
- John, Juliet (ed.), Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist: A Sourcebook (Routledge, 2006)
- John, Juliet, Dickens’s Villains: Melodrama, Character, Popular Culture (Oxford University Press, 2001; paperback, 2003)
- John, Juliet, Dickens and Mass Culture (Oxford University Press, 2010; paperback forthcoming, April 2012)
- John, Juliet (ed.), Dickens and Modernity, Essays and Studies, 65 (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer/The English Association, 2012)
- Livesey, Ruth, Socialism, Sex, and the Culture of Aestheticism in Britain, 1880-1914 (Oxford University Press, 2007)
- Roberts, Adam (ed.), Robert Browning: The Oxford Authors (Oxford University Press, 1997)
- Roberts, Adam, Robert Browning Revisited (Twayne, 1997)
- Roberts, Adam (ed.), Tennyson: The Oxford Authors (Oxford University Press, 2000)
- Roberts, Adam, Victorian Culture and Society: The Essential Glossary (Bloomsbury Academic/Hodder Headline, 2003)
- Varty, Anne, Children and Theatre in Victorian Britain (Palgrave, 2007)
- Varty, Anne, Eve’s Century: A Sourcebook of Writings on Women and Journalism 1890-1918 (Routledge, 1999)
- Varty, Anne, A Preface to Oscar Wilde (Longman, 1998)
In addition, nineteenth-century literature staff are responsible for the editing of major ongoing publications in the field, Juliet John editing Oxford Bibliographies: Victorian Literature and Ruth Livesey editing The Journal of Victorian Culture. For more on our latest projects and collaborations, see the Centre for Victorian Studies web page.
Current Postgraduate Research Students
Click here to see details of our current postgraduate research students in 19th Century Literature.