Dr Matthew Rubery, BA (Texas) PhD (Harvard)
Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature
I work on nineteenth-century literature, media, and reading practices. My first book, The Novelty of Newspapers: Victorian Fiction after the Invention of the News (Oxford, 2009), was awarded the European Society for the Study of English Book Award for Junior Scholars. My subsequent books include the essay collection Audiobooks, Literature, and Sound Studies (Routledge, 2011) and the anthology Secret Commissions: An Anthology of Victorian Investigative Journalism (Broadview, 2012). Currently I am finishing a book manuscript titled “The Untold Story of the Talking Book.” I joined the English Department at Queen Mary in 2010.
In the 2014-15 academic year, I am on British Academy-funded research leave pursuing a project on ‘The Untold Story of the Talking Book’.
- Victorian Literature
- Media History and Digital Humanities
- History of the Book and Reading Practices
- Audiobooks and Sound Studies
- Disability Studies and Blindness
Recent and On-Going Research
My research interests include Victorian literature, media, and reading practices. My first book, The Novelty of Newspapers: Victorian Fiction after the Invention of the News (Oxford, 2009), was awarded the European Society for the Study of English Book Award for Junior Scholars. Commissioned projects soon followed for The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Culture, Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, and Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism. My most recent work in this field is Secret Commissions: An Anthology of Victorian Investigative Journalism (Broadview, 2012), which documents how unsparing descriptions of poverty and social injustice became a regular feature of English journalism. Guardian journalist Nick Davies describes it as “a book full of amazing stuff—Victorian in its facts, but contemporary in its themes.”
My subsequent work continues to explore how writers address the relationship between literature and new media. The essay collection Audiobooks, Literature, and Sound Studies (Routledge, 2011) is the first scholarly work to address the significance of recorded literature by authors ranging from Charles Dickens to Toni Morrison and Barack Obama. I have spoken about this research on the BBC Radio 4 programme “Word of Mouth” and also interviewed Toni Morrison on the topic. Currently I am completing a manuscript titled “The Untold Story of the Talking Book,” a history of recorded literature since Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877.
I regularly write about my research on my blog “Audiobook History,” social media such as Twitter (@mattrubery), and online publications such as the Los Angeles Review of Books. This research has been generously supported by grants or fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Arts & Humanities Research Council, Bibliographical Society of America, British Academy, British Library, Humanities Center at Oregon State University, Leverhulme Trust, University of Pennsylvania’s Humanities Forum, and Wellcome Trust.
The Novelty of Newspapers: Victorian Fiction after the Invention of the News (Oxford University Press, 2009)
Audiobooks, Literature, and Sound Studies, ed. Matthew Rubery (Routledge, 2011)
Secret Commissions: An Anthology of Victorian Investigative Journalism, ed. Stephen Donovan and Matthew Rubery (Broadview, 2012)
‘Canned Literature: The Book after Edison’, Book History, 15 (2012)
‘Margins of Print: Ephemera, Print Culture, and Lost Histories of the Newspaper’, Introduction (with H.G. Cocks) to special issue of Media History 18.1 (2012): 1-5
‘Victorian Print Culture, Journalism, and The Novel’, Literature Compass 7.4 (March 2010): 290-300
Roundtable on Géraldine Muhlmann, A Political History of Journalism for Media History 16.4 (2010): 423-27
‘Victorian Literature Out Loud: Digital Audio Resources for the Classroom’, Journal of Victorian Culture 14.1 (April 2009): 134-40
‘Henry James, in Short’, the Henry James Review 29.3 (Fall 2008): 222-228
‘Bleak House in Real Time’, English Language Notes 46.1 (Spring/Summer 2008): 113-18
‘Play It Again, Sam Weller: New Digital Audiobooks and Old Ways of Reading’, Journal of Victorian Culture 13.1 (Spring 2008): 58-79
‘Wishing to Be Interviewed in Henry James’s The Reverberator’, Henry James Review 28.1 (February 2007): 57-72
‘Unspoken Intimacy in Henry James’s “The Papers”’, Nineteenth-Century Literature 61.3 (December 2006): 343-367
‘Joseph Conrad’s “Wild Story of a Journalist”’, ELH 71.3 (Fall 2004): 751-774
‘A Transatlantic Sensation: Stanley’s Search for Livingstone and the Anglo-American Press’, in U.S. Popular Print Culture, 1860-1920 (Oxford History of Popular Print Culture Series), ed. Christine Bold (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011)
‘Journalism’, in The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Culture, ed. Francis O’Gorman (Cambridge University Press, 2010): 177-94
‘Journalism’, in Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Novel and Novel Theory, ed. Peter Logan (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011): 455-59
‘Science and Technology’, in Conrad in Context, ed. Allan H. Simmons (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009): 237-44
I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.