Here you can find out about the Centre's members and its affiliated projects.
Current Research Projects
Dr Sophie Gilmartin
The Winter Widows: Navigating Cape Horn, Westward, 1856 (a book on C19th women navigators)
Member of ‘Arctic Voices’, a 4 year project funded by the Norwegian Arts Council, for which I am working on the place of blood, blubber and cooking in the exchanges between an Inuit navigator and a Scottish whaler and his wife in the 1840s and 1850s.
Continuing work on Thomas Hardy.
Professor Ruth Livesey
Provincialism: Literature and the Cultural Politics of Middleness in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Funded by an AHRC Leadership Fellowship (2019-20), this project explores the notion of the provincial in Victorian literature and culture, with particular focus on George Eliot and her cultural legacy in the West Midlands. Professor Livesey is collaborating with the Landmark Trust, George Eliot Fellowship and Nuneaton Museum, as well as producing resources for schools and emerging writers.
Professor Juliet John
Reading and the Victorians
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.
Dr Jane Hamlett
Pets and Family Life
Funded by an AHRC Standard Grant (2016-2019), Professor Hamlett’s current research looks at the changing position of animals in the home, in relation to broader shifts in family life, including transformations in size, relationships, intimacy, housing and living conditions that took place in the nineteenth century. For more information about the project, see: https://pethistories.wordpress.com/
Dr Katie McGettigan
Publishing American Literature in Britain, 1830-1860
Dr McGettigan’s research explores how texts by US writers circulated in Victorian Britain, and how this circulation contributed to the development of a national tradition of American Literature, repositioning British publisher and their material texts as participants in debates over what American Literature would look like and how it would emerge. This project was funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship (2014-2017).
Professor J. B. Bullen
Thomas Hardy: The World of his Novels
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.
Dr Nicola Kirkby
Infrastructure and Entanglement in Nineteenth-Century British Literary Culture
Dr Kirby is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow. Her work investigates the imaginative labour involved in developing large-scale systems, including railways, telegraphs, the post office, and shipping in the long nineteenth century. It demonstrates that literary forms including multiplot fiction, serialised novels, and the periodical press can offer us insights into how Victorians found a logistical way to develop and think through the entangled infrastructures around them.
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,
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.
Dr Sophie Gilmartin, English
Nineteenth-century literature, visual arts, and maritime studies, including special interests in: women and navigation; the C19th Arctic; Thomas Hardy; Elizabeth Gaskell; the Brôntes; Victorian narrative painting and the Victorian short story.
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.
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 contemporary innovative poetry as editor, critic and practitioner.
Professor Juliet John, English
Hildred Carlisle Chair. The relationship between Dickens's work and the popular cultural contexts of the Victorian and post-Victorian periods; also areas such as melodrama, nineteenth-century theatre, the popular Victorian novel, journalism, film, adaptation, heritage, neo-Victorianism, thing theory, and affect studies.
Dr Nicola Kirkby, English
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. Infrastructure and nineteenth-century literature.
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.
Professor Ruth Livesey, English
Professor Livesey’s research interests and publications range from studies in mobility and transport, to social exploration in London, to the forms of provincial fiction and sexual politics in the nineteenth century. In 2019-20 she was an Arts and Humanities Leadership Fellow, working with partner organisations, a writer in residence and a postdoctoral research fellow, Dr Helen O’Neill on the project Provincialism: Literature and the Cultural Politics of Middleness in Britain 1800-1900’ and in 2021-22 she is working on an AHRC-funded follow-on collaborative project ‘Finding Middlemarch in Coventry, 2021’ exploring the lives of George Eliot’s novel during Coventry’s year as City of Culture.
Dr Katie McGettigan, English
Nineteenth-century American and transatlantic literature, authorship and print culture, including periodical studies, anti-slavery print, women’s writing and Herman Melville. Digital approached to nineteenth-century studies.
Dr Giuliana Pieri, Modern Languages
Reader in Italian and The Visual Arts, recently published The Influence of Pre-Raphaelitism on fin-de-siecle 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.
Current doctoral students
Edward Armston-Sheret: 'Wild things in wild places’: British cultures of extreme exploration, 1851–1913
Sophie Bullen: The Deformed Transformed: Congenital deformity in nineteenth-century narratives.
Jenny Cooke: Victorian Pubs in C19th Literature and Cultur. Supervisor: Dr Sophie Gilmartin
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)
Anna Price: Representations of rowing in the long nineteenth-century literary and visual arts, Departments of English and History.
Supervisors: Dr Sophie Gilmartin and Dr Alex Windscheffel
Nat Reeve: Past and Pre-Raphaelite Present: Elizabeth Siddal’s Retelling of Inherited Stories
Recently completed PhDs
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
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
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
The Dickens Project
The Centre for Victorian Studies at Royal Holloway is one of only 3 UK institutions affiliated to the University of California Dickens Project. In recent years the Department of English has supported a member of staff and the successful PhD candidate in our annual competition to attend the week-long Dickens Universe Summer School at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Participants follow an intensive programme of teaching and lectures alongside a diverse range of scholars and students, from high school students to renowned Ivy League Professors in this exceptional international exchange of ideas. Graduate students attending the Dickens Universe have found it an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. The Dickens Project and its annual summer event, The Dickens Universe is available to watch here.
The London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar
The Centre is affiliated to the London Nineteenth Century Studies Seminar which is currently lead by Sophie Gilmartin (RHUL) and Matthew Ingelby (QMUL). The series meets three times a term on Saturdays at Senate House in Central London with the support of the University of London's Institute of English Studies. The London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar involves a large and influential community of senior scholars and postgraduates. Several members of the Centre for Victorian Studies at Royal Holloway are actively involved in the University-wide steering committee that plans these seminars and have co-organised themed programmes of events with the IES including The Nineteenth-Century on the Move (co-organisers Mark Turner, King's College; Ruth Livesey, Royal Holloway) October - December 2008 which brought together literary scholars and historical and cultural geographers to examine new thinking in relation to mobility and culture. All graduate students associated with the Centre for Victorian Studies are privileged to have easy access to the wide-range of events that take place at the Institute of English Studies in Senate House, Bloomsbury.
Pets and Family Life
Pets and Family Life in England and Wales 1837-1939 is a major new research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It is the first large-scale historical study of the relationships between families and their cats, dogs and other companion animals in modern Britain. The project is run by Dr. Jane Hamlett from Royal Holloway, University of London and Professor Julie-Marie Strange from the University of Manchester, who are working with a team of researchers including Dr. Lesley Hoskins and Dr. Rebecca Preston.
Elizabeth Jesser Reid's Correspondence Networks: A Digital Archive
Funded by a HARI Centre Fellowship, this is a digital archive (under development) of letters to the founder of Bedford College, Elizabeth Jesser Reid. Reid was connected to a wide network of social reformers, political radicals, and leading writers, artists and intellectuals of the mid-nineteenth century in Britain, Europe and the United States, and her correspondence demonstrates her networks and interests. The project is directed by Katie McGettigan and Annabel Valentine, and can be found at https://ejrletters.omeka.net/.