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Our Research and Centre Members

New Research

Why is it that so many of the best-loved novels of the Victorian era take place not in the steam-powered railway present in which they were published, but in the very recent past? Ruth Livesey brings to the surface the historical consciousness of such novels of the 'just' past and explores how they convey an idea of a national belonging that can be experienced through a sense of local place.

What did reading mean to the Victorians? This question is the key point of departure for Reading and the Victorians, an examination of the era when reading underwent a swifter and more radical transformation than at any other moment in history. Co edited with Matthew Bradley.

What does material culture tell us about gendered identities and how does gender reveal the meaning of spaces and things? If we look at the objects that we own, covet and which surround us in our everyday culture, there is a clear connection between ideas about gender and the material world. This book explores the material culture of the past to shed light on historical experiences and identities. Co edited with Hannah Greig and Leonie Hannan.

J. B. Bullen explores the relationship between reality and the dream, identifying the places and the settings for Hardy’s writing, and showing how and why he shaped them to serve the needs of his characters and plots. The locations may be natural or man-made, but they are rarely fantastic or imaginary.

Members of this interdisciplinary Centre are all international leaders in their fields, authors of world-leading publications. We have established links with the media and cultural institutions such as the Museum of London and the Charles Dickens Museum. Their research interests are stimulatingly diverse:

Director: Professor Juliet John, English

Victorian Literature and Culture, including books on Dickens’s Villains: Melodrama, Character, Popular Culture and Dickens and Mass Culture. 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 is editor of The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Literary Culture (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Professor Tim Armstrong, English

Modernism, American literature, literature and technology, the body (including such areas as sexology, bodily reform, cinema, and sound); and the poetry of Thomas Hardy.

Professor Jacky Bratton, Drama and Theatre

Research ranges widely across the history of theatre and culture in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,

Dr Gilli Bush-Bailey, Drama and Theatre

The histories of theatre in terms of archeologies of performance, particularly the way we tell stories about women as performance practitioners.

Professor Barrie Bullen, English

Interdisciplinary studies from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries with particular focus on the relationship between word and image.

Professor Greg Claeys, History

Social and political reform movements from the 1790s to the early 20th century, with a special focus upon utopianism and early socialism.

Professor Felix Driver, Geography

The history of geography, empire and visual cultures of exploration and travel.

Professor Katharine Ellis, Music

Cultural historian of music in nineteenth-century France. Exploring what different kinds of music meant to those who experienced them, used them and avoided them, and to probe how music and musicians operated in light of cultural, social and regulatory frameworks.

Dr Sophie Gilmartin, English

Varies widely over the nineteenth century, from work in progress on Jane Austen's Persuasion and early insurance companies to, at the other end of the century, a book co-authored with Rod Mengham, on Thomas Hardy's shorter fiction.

Dr Vicky Greenaway, English

The interconnections of literature and the visual arts in the nineteenth century generally, with an additional interest in the relationship of poetry and painting in Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic poetry.

Dr Jane Hamlett, History

Society and culture in modern Britain, the history of women and gender, the history of intimacy and emotion, and material and visual culture.

Professor Robert Hampson, English
Modernism, notably on works on Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford. In addition, he has had a long-term involvement with contempory innovative poetry as editor, critic and practitioner.

Dr David Lambert, Geography

Cultural, historical and political geography, and postcolonial theory, bringing a conceptual concern with space, power and identity into engagement with other fields to promote interdisciplinary dialogue.

Dr Ruth Livesey, English

Editor of the Journal of Victorian Culture, on the editorial board of 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century and I am also on the advisory board of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies,currently supervising PhD students in a variety of fields relating to nineteenth-century literature, culture, and political thought.

Dr Giuliana Pieri, Modern Languages

Reader in Italian and The Visual Arts, recently published The Influence of Pre-Raphaelitism on fin-de-sicle Italy: Art, Beauty and Culture and undertook a research project on Anglo-Italian Artistic Relations in Victorian Britain

Professor Adam Roberts, English

Teaching divides itself between literature and creative writing; a novelist himself, he has published widely on nineteenth century literature, culture and society with a focus on Victorian poetry

Dr Hannah Thompson, Modern Languages

Nineteenth-century French prose fiction with a particular interest in issues of gender, sexuality and identity construction. Currently involved in a number of projects around Disability Studies and French Culture

Professor Anne Varty, English

Wide ranging interests in the development of Aestheticism, both in Britain and Europe; strong interests in nineteenth-century theatre, as well as work on aspects of contemporary literature and theatre. Her current nineteenth-century research focuses on fairy tales on the Victorian stage, and opium in British culture since 1800.

Keith Alcorn (History)
The Empire in the Garden: Empire, Gardens and National Identity in 19th and 20th century Britain
Supervisor: Dr Zoe Laidlaw

Kelly Bushnell
19th Century Sea Narratives
Supervisor: Dr Sophie Gilmartin

Marie Cambefort (Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures)
Neither Salon nor Goldfish Bowl: the Consumption of British Paintings at the Venice Biennale, 1895-1914
Supervisor: Dr Giuliana Pieri

Katie Carpenter (History)
The Kitchen as Scientific Space in England, 1870-1914
Supervisor: Dr Jane Hamlett

Michelle Clarabut
On the repatriation of Italian art after the Napoleonic period
Supervisor: Dr Guiliana Pieri

David Curran (Music)
A Study into the aesthetic outlook of the French composer Hector Berlioz
Co-Supervisor: Dr Mark Berry
Co-Supervisor: Professor Stephen Downes
Advisor: Professor David Charlton

James Cutler (English and Media Arts)
Remembering the Victorians: Cultural Legacy, Place and Popularity
Co-Supervisor: Professor Juliet John
Co-Supervisor:Professor Barry Langford

Ghoncheh Dolatshahi (German and History)
The variations of Goethe's Orientalism and German-Iranian relations
Co-Supervisor: Professor W. Daniel Wilson
Co-Supervisor: Dr Ilker Evrim Binbas
Advisor: Dr Emily Jeremiah

Tamsin Evernden
Dickens and Character
Supervisor: Professor Juliet John 
Advisor: Dr Sophie Gilmartin

Lyndsay Galpin (History)
By His Own Hand: Suicide and Masculinity in Victorian Britain
Supervisor: Dr Alex Windscheffel
Second Supervisor: Dr Ruth Livesey

Alina Ghimpu-Hague
Equilibrium through Disorder: A Physiology of Nonsense Literature
Supervisor: Dr Sophie Gilmartin
Advisor: Professor Tim Armstrong

Krissie Glover (History)
Class, Gender and Property Crime in South East England 1861-1901
Supervisor: Dr Jane Hamlett
Advisor: Dr Graham Smith

Helen Goodman
Mad Men: Borderlines of Insanity, Masculinity and Emotion in Mid-Victorian Literature and Culture
Supervisor: Dr Ruth Livesey
Second Supervisor: Professor Juliet John

Michelle Gordon
British Colonial Violence in Perak, Sierra Leone and the Sudan
Supervisor: Professor Dan Stone

Johanna Holmes
Strong women: Images of womanhood and middle-class women 1820-1880
Supervisor: Dr Alex Windscheffel

Katy Jackson
Cutlery in Victorian Literature 
Co-Supervisor: Professor Juliet John
Adviser: Dr Jane Hamlett

Lee Jackson
Supervisor: Professor Juliet John

Michaela Jones (History)
Christiana Herringham and the Art Collection of Royal Holloway and Bedford New College
Supervisor: Dr Stella Moss
Supervisor: Dr Laura MacCulloch

Vivi Lachs (History and Music)
Anglo-Jewish immigrant history through Yiddish texts in the public sphere, such as poetry in the press and music hall and theatre songs which reflect the British immigrant experience
Co-Supervisor: Professor David Cesarani
Co-Supervisor: Professor Rachel Beckles Willson

Tim Moore (English)
Adolescence, Anxiety and Loneliness in the British Novel, 1770-1850
Supervisor: Dr Ruth Livesey

Benjamin Newman (Geography)
Geographies in dialogue: Print Culture at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), c. 1830-c. 1930
Co-Supervisor: Dr Innes M. Keighren
Co-Supervisor: Professor Klaus Dodds
Co-Supervisor: Dr Catherine Souch, Head of Research and Higher Education Division at the RGS-IBG

Jamie Nightingale (History)
The School Board for London and the training ship tradition: reading the Shaftesbury’s literal, metaphorical, and institutional spaces
Supervisor: Dr Jane Hamlett

Gursimran Oberoi (external affiliate)
Global Watts: Allegories for All 1880-1980 with the Watts Gallery and the University of Surrey
Co-Supervisor: Dr Vicky Greenaway (RHUL)
Co-Supervisor: Dr Constance Bantman (University of Surrey)
Co-Supervisor: Professor Patricia Pulham (University of Surrey)
Co-Supervisor: Dr Nicholas Tromans (Watts Gallery)

Colette Ramuz
Dickens and Mouth Fetish: identity, desire and consumption in selected works of Charles Dickens
Supervisor: Professor Juliet John
Advisor: Dr Ruth Livesey

Romany Regan (Drama/ Practice-based)
Audio Aalks for Abney Park Cemetery
Supervisor: Professor Helen Nicholson

Rebecca Swartz (History)
Ignorant and idle: Indigenous education in Natal and Western Australia, 1830-1875
Supervisor: Dr Zoe Laidlaw

Daniel Simpson (History)
The Royal Navy and Colonial Collecting in Australia, c. 1820-1870
Co-Supervisor: Dr Zoe Laidlaw
Co-Supervisor: Dr. Gaye Sculthorpe, British Museum

Emily Smith
Charles Dickens and the Heritage Industry
Co-Supervisor: Professor Juliet John
Co-Supervisor: Dr Jane Hamlett

Zoe Thomas (History)
The Women's Guild of Arts: gender, spatiality and professional identity in London, c. 1880-1930
Supervisor: Dr Jane Hamlett

Adele Ward (English and Creative Writing/ Practice-based)
Novel on Victorian poet, novelist and essayist Mary E. Coleridge
Co-Supervisor: Professor Andrew Motion
Co-Supervisor: Professor Robert Hampson

Brooke Weber (History)
Female emigration (particularly single women) to Australia in the latter half on the nineteenth century
Supervisor: Dr Zoe Laidlaw

Rosalind White
Masculinity under the Microscope: Natural History's Feminine Frame
Supervisor: Dr Ruth Livesey

Susan Woodall 
Institutions for fallen women in Victorian England
Supervisor: Dr Jane Hamlett

Stuart Wrigley (History)
Johannes and Bertha Ronge: a case study in Anglo-German relations 
Supervisor: Dr Rudolf Muhs





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