School of the Arts, English and Drama

School staff

Dr Sarah Parker

Photo of Dr Sarah Parker

Lecturer in English

My research focuses on nineteenth and twentieth-century literature, with an emphasis on women’s poetry, decadence and aestheticism, gender and sexualities, and visual cultures. I arrived at Loughborough in 2016, having completed a Masters in Sexual Dissidence and Culture at the University of Sussex and gained my PhD at University of Birmingham. From 2013-2015, I was an Impact Research Fellow at the University of Stirling.

I teach Introduction to Poetry, Narrative Forms and Fiction, Victorian Literature and Radicals and Reactionaries: Writing Women of the 1890s.

Specialism: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Literature

My research specialises in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature, with an emphasis on women’s writing, poetry, decadence and aestheticism, gender and sexualities, and visual cultures.

My first monograph, The Lesbian Muse and Poetic Identity, 1889-1930 reconsiders the role of the muse in late-Victorian and modernist women's poetry, analysing works by Michael Field (Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper), Olive Custance, Amy Lowell, H.D. and Bryher.

I have also published articles and book chapters on Constance Naden, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Swinburne, Sappho, Amy Levy, Djuna Barnes and Sarah Waters, and on themes such as fashion; 'dead woman muses'; food, fat and homoerotic desire, and lesbian gothic.

My current research focuses on decadent women poets in the twentieth century, emphasising the continuities in poetic practice across the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

I have a particular interest in photographic representation of women poets, which can be seen in my online exhibition for the National Portrait Gallery, Women Poets and Photography, 1860-1970

I welcome proposals from potential research students interested in literature of the period 1870-1930, women’s writing, decadence/aestheticism, and gender and sexuality during this time period.

Recent lectures and talks include:

  • Keynote, Transitions: Bridging the Victorian-Modernist Divide, University of Birmingham, April 2018, 
  • Invited lecture at Steepletop, home of Edna St. Vincent Millay (Austerlitz, New York), September 2016


Board memberships

  • Careers Representative, British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS)
  • Committee Member, Midlands Interdisciplinary Victorian Studies seminar (MIVSS)