I have taught extensively across the English programme at Loughborough. Currently, I convene the second-year module ‘Victorian Literature’ and co-teach the Part C option module ‘Radicals and Reactionaries’ (with Dr Sarah Parker). I also co-convene (with Dr Claire O’Callaghan) the Part C option module ‘Neo-Victorianism’. I contribute lectures to the compulsory first year modules ‘Narrative Forms and Fiction’ and ‘Writing in History’. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
My research is located within the literature and culture of the nineteenth century, with particular interests in the Victorian novel, popular genres (such as the sensation novel and crime fiction), New Woman writing, and Victorian publishing and periodicals. Within these areas my work has focused more specifically on gender and sexuality, constructions of literary value, processes of canon formation, and theories of genre. I have published widely on the Victorian popular novelist Mary Elizabeth Braddon and my forthcoming monograph examines Braddon's fiction in the light of marginalisation and the Victorian popular woman writer. Drawing on strands of feminist critical thought and the theories of Pierre Bourdieu, I assess Braddon's complex positioning within mid and late Victorian literary culture. I am also completing a project on the novelist and journalist, Geraldine Jewsbury, and editing two special issues of the journal Women’s Writing. The issues are based on papers delivered at an international conference I organised in 2015, ‘Sensational Influences: Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Literary Legacies’. In January 2016, I won a Curran Fellowship, funded by the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP), to support my archival work on Jewsbury. I was also awarded a British Academy / Leverhulme Small Research Grant to support my Mary Elizabeth Braddon Centenary Project.
I have recently supervised PhD theses to completion on the New Woman and Victorian stage adaptations of Oliver Twist. Current PhD students are working on Charles Dickens’s representations of memory, Victorian women writers’ relationships with their male publishers, and the influence of Dickens in the work of Marie Corelli. I have examined PhDs at the University of Warwick, the University of Hull, the University of Sheffield, and the University of Buckingham.
I welcome proposals in any area of Victorian literature and culture, but particularly projects involving sensation fiction, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, popular Victorian women’s writing, New Woman Writing, Neo-Victorianism, and gender and Victorian publishing/authorship.
Media Work and Public Engagement
- ‘Mary Braddon and the Culture of Sensation’, Public Keynote Lecture, The Mary Elizabeth Braddon Public Engagement and Study Day, University of Hull, 14 November 2015.
- ‘Gothic and Victorian Sensation Fiction’. Guest talk at Birmingham City University’s ‘Gothic Day’. Public Event. Library of Birmingham, 2 May 2015.
- Invited public lecture: ‘Mary Elizabeth Braddon’, Launch of the Mary Braddon Exhibition, Hull History Centre, UK. 25 February 2015.
- Interview on BBC’s The One Show (Suffragettes and the White Feather Campaign in WW1). Aired 14 October 2014.
- Invited article. ‘David Mitchell’s tale of 280 tweets and the return of the Victorian serial' The Conversation, 16 July 2014.
Overseas Invited Talks
- 'Suffering for Art: Aesthetics versus Commodification in Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Circe", Eighth CUSVE Conference, ‘Victorian and Neo-Victorian Aesthetics: Text, Theory and the Paths of Imagination’, University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy (22-23 October 2015). [All papers by invitation only].
- “‘I want a husband to vex, or a child to beat’: Sensation and Emotion as Redemption in Wilkie Collins’s Armadale”. Invited paper at the International Workshop on ‘Emotion and Subjectivity, 1500-1900’, at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, Wassenaar, the Netherlands (29 September 2014).
- ‘Re-Presenting Lady Audley: Literary and Visual Aesthetics in M. E. Braddon’s Sensation Novel and its Afterlives’. Invited lecture at the University of Siegen, Germany (21 January 2013).
Membership of Professional Bodies, Editorships and Boards, Consultancies
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) – (April 2012 – Present).
- General Editor of the Wilkie Collins Journal (September 2012 – March 2016).
- Member of Editorial Board for the Wilkie Collins Journal (Jan 2011 – September 2012; March 2016 – Present).
- Victorian Popular Fiction Association (VPFA): Committee member 2009 - Present (and Newsletter editor 2009 – July 2014).
- Member of the editorial board for Victorian Popular Fiction (VPF), a new journal established by the Victorian Popular Fiction Association, to be published by Edinburgh University Press.Member of the editorial board for the ‘Key Popular Women Writers’ series, published by EER.
- Member of the editorial board for ‘New Paths in Victorian Fiction and Culture’, a new series of edited essay collections, published by EER.
- Member of Editorial Board for Victoriographies.
- Member of Editorial Board for the monograph series ‘Armorica’, published by Edizioni Tracce, Pescara, Italy.
- Invited external member of the International Research Group for Emotion and Subjectivity (Based at the University of Amsterdam).
- Committee member of Midlands Interdisciplinary Victorian Studies Seminar (MIVSS).
- Member of British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS), Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP), Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada (VSAWC), and The Wilkie Collins Society.
- Academic Consultant for Broadview Press on their new series of Victorian and Edwardian drama. (February 2013).
- Academic Consultant for Gale Cengage on their entry for Wilkie Collins in the Short Story Criticism Series (June 2014).
- Reader / Peer reviewer for Victorian Review, Gothic Studies, The Wilkie Collins Journal, Victoriographies, Studia Anglica Posnaniensia (Poland), and Victorian Periodicals Review.
Selected Conference Presentations
- ‘Conflating the Public and the Private: The Domestic Economy of Ellen Wood’s The Shadow of Ashlydyat’, ‘Social Victorians’, NAVSA Annual Conference, Phoenix, AZ, 2-5 November 2016.
- ‘Brain Fever, Liminality and Contagion in Braddon’s Rupert Godwin’, Sensational Influences: Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Literary Legacies, IOS, Senate House, London, 4-5 September 2015.
- ‘Plagiarism, Popularity, and Art: Debating Aesthetics in Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Circe (1867)’, From Brontë to Bloomsbury: Reassessing Women’s Writing of the 1860s and 1870s, ICVWW (International Centre for Victorian Women Writers), Canterbury Christchurch University, 6-7 July 2015.
- ‘Sensationalizing Respectable Masculinity: The Dichotomy of the Public and the Private in Paul Ferroll (1855)’, Sensational Men: Victorian Masculinity in Sensation Fiction, Theatre and the Arts Conference, jointly hosted by Falmouth University and the Victorian Popular Fiction Association, 18 April 2015.
- ‘Gender, Crime, and Narrative in Amelia B. Edwards’s Novels of the 1850s’, From Brontë to Bloomsbury: Reassessing Women’s Writing of the 1840s and 1850s, ICVWW (International Centre for Victorian Women Writers), Canterbury Christchurch University, 21-22 July 2014.
- “‘A noble land … the proud and free / Antithesis of trampled Italy’: Otherness and the Sensationalized Italian body in Mary Braddon’s Olivia”, NAVSA-BAVS-AVSA Conference, Ca' Foscari and Isola di San Servolo, Venice, Italy, 3-6 June 2013.
- ‘From Penny Serial to Triple-Decker: M. E. Braddon’s Revision of The Outcasts for ‘Polite Consumption’, Sentiment and Sensation in Victorian Periodicals, RSVP Annual Conference. The University of Texas at Austin, 14-15 September 2012.
- ‘Reimagining Dickens and Collins: The Nature of Evidence in Dan Simmons’s Drood’, Neo-Victorian Networks: Epistemologies, Aesthetics, and Ethics. University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 13-15 June 2012.
- ‘M. E. Braddon and Composition: Gender, Production, and Proliferation’. BAVS Annual Conference: Composition and Decomposition. University of Birmingham, 1-3 September 2011.
- ‘Courtship beyond the “Separate Spheres”: The New Woman’s Challenge to Mid-Victorian Romance in Mona Caird’s “The Yellow Drawing Room” and Ella D’Arcy’s “The Pleasure Pilgrim”’. VPFA Annual Conference: Sex, Courtship and Marriage in Victorian Popular Culture. Institute of English Studies, London, 18-19 July 2011.
- ‘“Queerish in his Head”: Brain Fever, Sensation, and Contagion in the novels of Mary Elizabeth Braddon’, Victorian Epidemics: Annual VSAWC Conference. Banff, Alberta, Canada, 29-30 April 2011.
- ‘“She knows much that ladies are not accustomed to know”: The Gendering of Knowledge and Experience in the Fiction of Amelia B. Edwards and M. E. Braddon’. Forty minute paper given at a themed Study Day at the IES, Senate House, London, 5 March 2011.
- ‘“Far above the Miss Braddon school”: Amelia B. Edwards, Barbara’s History, and Sensation Narrative’. VPFA Annual Conference: Prose, Stage, and Screen. IES, Senate House, London, 22-24 July 2010.
- ‘“Sensation is her Frankenstein”: History, the Canon, and M. E. Braddon’s The Infidel’, ‘Victorian Popular Novelists 1860 – 1900’ Conference, Institute for English Studies, University of London, 10-12 September 2009.
- ‘Treacherous Bodies: The Displacement of Incestuous Desire in M. E. Braddon’s Fiction’, ‘Victorian Feeling: Touch, Bodies, Emotion’, British Institution of Victorian Studies (BAVS) annual conference, University of Leicester, 1 – 3 September 2008.
- ‘Teaching Victorian Popular Fiction and the Problems of Literary Value’, ‘Victorian Literature: The Canon and Beyond’. University of Chester, 2 June 2007.
- ‘Genres in Conflict: Sensation, Realism, and Gender in Charles Reade’s Griffith Gaunt’, ‘Victorian Cultures in Conflict’: British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS) Annual Conference, University of Liverpool, 7-9 September 2006.
- ‘Centring the Marginal in The Trail of the Serpent’, Mary Elizabeth Braddon Symposium, University of Wales, Swansea, 22 April 2006.
- ‘“Too Absurdly Repulsive”: Generic Indeterminacy and the Failure of The Fallen Leaves’, Wilkie Collins One-Day Conference, University of Sheffield, 19 March 2005.