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Nineteenth-Century Studies

Our Work:

The Department's research in nineteenth-century studies has particular strengths in these areas:


Research Interests

Gender

The Department’s well-established research profile in the area of literature and gender as a whole is particularly evident in the nineteenth century. Recent publications include monographs on women Romantic poets (Anne Janowitz), the feminization of the Victorian male lyric poet and the gendering of the sublime (Catherine Maxwell), the representation of the Jewess (Nadia Valman), and the transmission of the ancient Greek poet Sappho through Victorian writing (Margaret Reynolds). Gender also informs Catherine Maxwell’s monograph on the visionary imagination in late Victorian literature and her current project on perfume in nineteenth-century literary culture.

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Religion

The department also brings together a number of scholars whose work explores literature and religions. The representation and engagement with ‘Oriental’ religions in nineteenth-century culture is at the heart of current research by Shahidha Bari (on Islam and the East) and research by Nadia Valman (on Judaism and philosemitism).

Colleagues are also developing exciting new projects on the literary culture of Protestant Dissent in the early nineteenth century (James Vigus on Dissent and Romantic autobiography, Isabel Rivers on libraries, tutors, and students at dissenting academies, and Tessa Whitehouse on nonconformist memorial practices).

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Imperialism

The work of several members of staff is rooted in an investigation of nineteenth-century imperial culture. This includes a monograph on colonial-era language policy, translation, and linguistic encounter (Rachael Gilmour), another on Walter Scott and modernity (Andrew Lincoln), and research on late nineteenth-century book history in southern Africa (Andrew van der Vlies). Nadia Valman has edited a collection of essays on the colonial nexus of Britain, East Africa, and Palestine at the turn of the century, and Andrew Lincoln is also engaged in a major study of the culture of war in Britain.

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Science

The impact on nineteenth-century literature of scientific and technological change informs a range of innovative research projects in the department. Anne Janowitz has published on astronomy and Romantic poetry; Sam Halliday’s monograph on electricity is being followed up by a new book on literary responses to sound. Matt Rubery investigates the history of recorded literature, alongside studies of how newspaper culture influenced the form of the novel.

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Editing

Our departmental expertise in editing is also evident in the numerous editions of nineteenth-century work prepared by members of staff, including texts by George Eliot (Margaret Reynolds), Algernon Swinburne and Vernon Lee (Catherine Maxwell), and essay collections on Amy Levy (Nadia Valman) and Swinburne and Lee (Catherine Maxwell). Maxwell is co-editor of a new MHRA series of scholarly editions of key nineteenth-century Aesthetic and Decadent texts. She also co-edited a double-issue of Yearbook of English Studies in 2010. With Matt Rubery and Nadia Valman, Maxwell is also a contributing member of the intercollegiate Nineteenth-Century Seminar at the Institute of English Studies at Senate House. James Vigus has edited Henry Crabb Robinson’s essays on Kant, Schelling, and German Aesthetics for the MHRA, and is co-editor of the Crabb Robinson Project at Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies, working on editions of Robinson’s Reminiscences and Diary for Oxford University Press.

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