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I have four main research interests:

The 19C press

    I have written across a wide range of press and print culture topics, as reflected in the adjacent publication list. Most recently I have been focusing on WT Stead, and his contribution to media history, but I am interested in serial forms and theory, which I continue to address. At present I am writing a long piece on Literature and Journalism, but have recently tackled time and the press, supplements, fiction in the press, networks and cross-national links between the British press and that of the US and Europe in the 19C . The two projects from which I learned most are The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism (2009) and the free online edition of six 19C journals, ncse (nineteenth-century serial edition), which was funded by a three year AHRC grant to Birkbeck, and co-edited by myself and Isobel Armstrong (from Birkbeck), two Birkbeck Research Assistants (Dr Jim Mussell and Dr Suzanne Paylor) and Prof Mark Turner and Prof Harold Short from King’s.

Aestheticism and decadence

    I have done considerable research on Walter Pater’s writing, and that of other aesthetes, some of whom he wrote about himself, including Vernon Lee. I also have done extensive work on the press in which his pieces appeared, as well as decadent, turn of the century magazines such as the Yellow Book and the North American Bibelot. Am also interested in publishers of decadence such as John Lane and Thomas Mosher. I wrote entries on little magazines/decadent journals of this period in Vol 1 of The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines.


    I am currently working on a comparative biography of Clara and Walter Pater, siblings who both became tutors in classics at Oxford, but reached their positions through distinctive gendered routes. I explore their lives and careers from the family to the university, their homosocial networks, and their work and writing from a gender perspective. Clara Pater was one of the founders of Somerville, and resident tutor there; Walter Pater was at Brasenose, and had a carefully controlled professional writing life as well. I have also written on Mary Ward, and a piece on the petitions for and against suffrage in the press in 1889.

Digital Humanities

    Working on the digital project of ncse triggered a long lasting interest in new work in this field, especially on digitisation of historic periodicals, but also on how teaching and research are transformed by this new medium and language. I continue to edit online updates for the Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism, and to talk with publishers and colleagues about these matters. I have been part of seminars in the US on the subject of how the academic profession of modern language teachers integrates these developments and staff with new skills.

Current News

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers in response to the theme of Dickens and family and warmly encourage Dickensians and scholars of all backgrounds and career stages to apply.

26 March 2018