School of the Arts, English and Drama

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Dr Nick Freeman

Photo of Dr Nick Freeman

Reader in Late Victorian Literature

Specialism: Victorianist and Cultural Historian

Nick Freeman taught at Bristol University (where he did his MA and PhD), the Open University, and the University of the West of England before coming to Loughborough in 2006. A shrewd signing, he was voted Loughborough NUS Lecturer of the Year in 2008, and won the university’s Inspiration award in 2014. 

Nick's teaching is currently concentrated in the second and third years of the undergraduate degree course. Second years will encounter him on Modernisms and Victorian Literature, as well as on his optional module, The Weird Tale, a journey into strange supernatural worlds inhabited by writers such as Robert Aickman, Shirley Jackson, and Thomas Ligotti. Third years will work with him through dissertation supervision or on his Decadence module, which studies the work of Oscar Wilde and a variety of other writers from the later nineteenth century. He also contributes to a number of MA modules in literature and creative writing.

Nick has supervised a number of doctoral theses, including work on the Gothic, Daphne du Maurier, inter-war poetry and art, short stories of the 1890s, Dickens, Victorian periodicals, and the literature of the First World War. He has a PGCE in teaching in higher education and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Nick’s work is a combination of literary criticism and cultural history and is largely Victorian and early twentieth century in focus. He has a particular interest in decadent literature, though he casts a critical eye over English fiction after 1945, paganism, the Gothic, the Weird, urban theory (the subject of his first book, Conceiving the City, in 2007), cinema, television, and visual art. He welcomes doctoral applicants drawn to any of these areas. He has recently completed a critical edition of Arthur Symons's short fiction, which is due to be published in 2017, along with a number of other essays on this important proto-modernist writer.

'What Kind of Love Came to Professor Guildea? Robert Hichens, Oscar Wilde and the Queer Ghosts of Hyde Park'. Modern Language Review, Volume 3, Part 2, April 2016, pp. 333-51.

1895: Drama, Disaster and Disgrace in Late Victorian Britain (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011, paperback edition, June 2013).

'Sensational Ghosts and Ghostly Sensations', Women's Writing. Special issue, Beyond Braddon: Forgotten Female Sensationalists , Vol.20 No.2, May 2013, pp.186-201. Reprinted as Rediscovering Victorian Women Sensation Writers, ed. Anne-Marie Beller and Tara MacDonald (London: Routledge, 2014).

'The Harem of Words: Attenuation and Excess in Decadent Poetry', Decadent Poetics, ed. Alex Murray & Jason Hall (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp.83-99.

'Chesterton, Machen and the Invisible City', G.K. Chesterton, London and Modernity, ed. Matthew Beaumont & Matthew Ingleby (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp.73-92.

'The Victorian Ghost Story', The Victorian Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion, ed. Andrew Smith & William Hughes (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012, paperback edition 2015), pp.93-107.

“'Mad music rising”: Chopin, Sex, and Secret Language in Arthur Symons' “Christian Trevalga”', Victoriographies 1.2, 2011, pp.157-76.

'Arthur Machen: Ecstasy and Epiphany', Literature & Theology 24.3, September 2010, pp.242-55.

'Swinburne's Shakespeare: The Verbal Whirlwind?', A.C. Swinburne and the Singing World: New Perspectives on the Mature Work, ed. Yisrael Levin (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), pp.91-106.

Nick reviews for a number of leading academic journals and publishers, and presents his work at academic conferences several times a year. Recent papers have included one on Saki's decadent comedy (Queen's University Belfast, May 2016), and another on Arthur Symons' story, 'Extracts from the Journal of Henry Luxulyan' (University of Venice, September 2015). He gave the keynote address at Aestheticism and Decadence in the Age of Modernism (Senate House, London, April 2015), and is a regular speaker at the MIVSS (Midlands Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar). Nick appeared on BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking in April 2016. To hear a podcast of the show, click here.

He is a member of the Oscar Wilde Society and the Friends of Arthur Machen.

Nick and his colleague Dan Watt from Drama collaborated on a performance (or 'sinister excursion') called If You Go Down in the Woods today at Queen's University's 'Folk Horror' festival, A Fiend in the Furrows, in September 2014 (see picture below). They will be co-organising the Loughborough Weekend of Weird in November 2016: watch the university website for updates concerning this event.