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Professor Hilary Fraser, BA (Leicester) DPhil (Oxon)

Geoffrey Tillotson Chair of Nineteenth-Century Studies

Tel: 020 7631 6163

I came to Birkbeck in 2002 to take up the Geoffrey Tillotson Chair of Nineteenth-Century Studies. As Director of Birkbeck’s Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies I was the founding Editor of its online journal 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, launched in 2006. Following a major restructuring of the College, I was appointed Executive Dean of the newly formed School of Arts in 2009. I stepped down from this role at the end of 2017.

My most recent book, Women Writing Art History in the Nineteenth Century: Looking Like a Woman, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. I have also written monographs on the Victorians and Renaissance Italy, aesthetics and religion in Victorian writing, nineteenth-century non-fiction prose, and gender and the Victorian periodical. My current projects include a monograph on art writing for Oxford University Press, with the provisional title The Critic As Artist, and a scholarly edition of Walter Pater’s The Renaissance (1893), for Oxford’s 10-volume Collected Works of Walter Pater. I have served on grant awarding panels of both the Australian Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK, and was a member of the 2014 REF Sub-Panel for English. I have been President of the British Association for Victorian Studies since 2015.

I am currently on research leave, but I continue to supervise doctoral students in nineteenth-century studies, and welcome applications that match my areas of particular expertise.

Selected publications


Refereed Journal Articles

    • ‘St. Theresa, St. Dorothea, and Miss Brooke in Middlemarch’, Nineteenth-Century Fiction 40, 4 (1986), 400-11.
    • ‘Browning and Nineteenth-Century Historiography’, Centenary Essays on Robert Browning, ed. Simon Petch and E. Warwick Slinn, AUMLA 71 (1989), 13-29.
    • 'Titian's Bravo and George Eliot's Tito: A Painted Record', Nineteenth-Century Literature 50, 2 (1995), 210-17.
    • 'Women and the Ends of Art History: Vision and Corporeality in Nineteenth-Century Critical Discourse', Victorian Studies 42, 1 (1999), 77-100.
    • ‘Gender and Romance in Ruskin's "Two Boyhoods"', Nineteenth-Century Contexts 21, 3 (1999), 353-70.
    • 'Virginia Stephen in George Duckworth’s Family Album', Australasian Victorian Studies Journal 5 (1999), 13-34 (with Victoria Burrows).
    • ‘Evelyn De Morgan, Vernon Lee and Assimilation from Without’, Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies NS 14 (Spring, 2005), 75-90.
    • ‘A Visual Field: Michael Field and the Gaze’, Victorian Literature and Culture 34 (2006), 553-571.
    • ‘”Mirror visions” and “dissolving views”: Vernon Lee and Patrick Geddes’ Outlook Tower’ (with Nick Burton), Nineteenth-Century Contexts 28, 2 (2006), 145-60.
    • ‘The Morals of Genealogy: An Adventure’, Raritan (Spring, 2008), 115-132.
    • ‘Introduction’, Minds, Bodies, Machines: Essays in the Cultural and Intellectual History of Technologies, ed Deirdre Coleman and Hilary Fraser. Nineteen: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century ( 8 (October 2008) 1-11 (with Deirdre Coleman).
    • ‘Women and the Art of Fiction’. Yearbook of English Studies 40, 1 and 40, 2 (2010), pp. 61-82
    • ‘”Always Reminding us of the Body”: J A Symonds on the Fine Arts’. [Re]Reading John Addington Symonds, English Studies. (April 2013).
    • ‘Art for the Nation: Sir Charles Eastlake at the National Gallery’. Victorian Literature and Culture (Autumn 2012).
    • Russian translation of ‘The Language of Touch in Victorian Art Criticism’. New Literary Observer 125, 1 (2014), pp.43-56.
    • ‘Pater and Emilia Dilke’. Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism 2 (Spring 2016).
    • ‘Women and the Modelling of Victorian Sculptural Discourse’. Visual Resources 33 (2017), pp.1-20.
    • ‘Grief Encounter: The Language of Mourning in Fin-de-Siècle Sculpture’. Word and Image 34, 1 (Spring 2018), pp.41-55.

Book Chapters

    • ‘Truth to Nature: Science, Religion, and the Pre-Raphaelites’. The Critical Spirit and the Will to Believe: The Victorian Crisis of Faith, ed. David Jasper and T.R.Wright. London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin’s Press,1989, pp.53-68.
    • '"Love's Citadel Unmann'd": Victorian Women's Love Poetry'. Constructing Gender: Feminism and Literary Studies, ed. Hilary Fraser and R.S.White. Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press,1994, pp.132-56.
    • 'Victorian Poetry and Historicism'. The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Poetry, ed. Joseph Bristow. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp.114-36.
    • 'Ruskin, Italy, and the Past'. Britain and Italy from Romanticism to Modernism, ed. Martin McLaughlin. Oxford: Legenda and Modern Humanities Research Association, 2000, pp.87-106.
    • ‘The Religious Poetry of Michael Field’. Athena’s Shuttle: Myth, Religion, Ideology from Romanticism to Modernism, ed. Franco Marucci and Emma Sdegno. Milan: Cisalpino, 2000, pp.127-142.
    • ‘Vernon Lee: England, Italy and Identity Politics’. Britannia, Italia, Germania: Taste and Travel in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Carol Richardson and Graham Smith. Edinburgh: VARIE, 2001, pp.175-191.
    • ‘The Professionalisation of Women’s Writing: Extending the Canon’. Women and Literature in Britain, 1800-1900, ed. Joanne Shattock. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001, pp. 233-52 (with Judith Johnston).
    • 'The Feminist Theology of Florence Nightingale'. Reinventing Christianity: Nineteenth-Century Contexts, ed. Linda Woodhead. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001, pp.199-210 (with Victoria Burrows).
    • ‘The Victorian Novel and Religion’. The Blackwell Companion to the Victorian Novel, ed. Patrick Brantlinger and W.B. Thesing. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002, pp.101-18.
    • ‘Interstitial Identities: Vernon Lee and the spaces in-between’. Marketing the Author: Authorial Personae, Narrative Selves and Self-Fashioning, 1880-1930, ed. Marysa Demoor. Houndmills Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, pp.114-133.
    • ‘Regarding the Eighteenth Century: Vernon Lee and Emilia Dilke Construct a Period’. The Victorians and the Eighteenth Century: Reassessing the Tradition, ed. Francis O’Gorman and Katherine Turner. London: Ashgate, 2004, pp.223-49.
    • ‘Emilia Dilke’, The New DNB, ed. Brian Harrison. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
    • ‘Writing a Female Renaissance: Victorian Women and the Past’, in Victorian and Edwardian Responses to the Italian Renaissance, ed. John E.Law and Lene Ostermark-Johansen. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005, pp.165-84.
    • ’Art History’, Companion to Women’s Historical Writing, ed. Mary Spongberg, Barbara Caine and Ann Curthoys. Houndmills, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, pp.29-38.
    • ‘Writing in the Margins and Reading Between the Lines in Vernon Lee’s Library’, ‘Dalla stanza accanto’: Vernon Lee e Firenze settant’ anni dopo, ed. Elisa Bizzotto and Serena Cenni. Florence: Consiglio Regionale della Toscana, 2006, pp.231-241.
    • ‘Through the Looking Glass: Looking like a Woman in the Nineteenth Century’. Strange Sisters: Literature and Aesthetics in the Nineteenth Century, ed. J.B. Bullen. Oxford, Bern etc: Peter Lang, 2009, pp.189-209.
    • ‘Writing the Past’.The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Literature 1830-1914, ed. Joanne Shattock. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 108-26.
    • Foreword to Illustrations, Optics and Objects in Nineteenth-Century Literary and Visual Culture, ed. Patrizia Di Bello and Luisa Calè. Houndmills, Basingsoke and New York: Palgrave, 2010, pp.ix-xv.
    • ‘Periodicals and Reviewing’. The Cambridge History of English Literature, The Victorians, ed. Kate Flint. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp.36-76.
    • ‘Aesthetics, Visuality and Feelings in the Natural Theology of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Alice Meynell’, Form and Feeling in Modern Literature, ed. William Baker with Isobel Armstrong. Oxford: Legenda (2013)
    • ‘Vasari’s Lives and the Victorians’, The Ashgate Research Companion to Giorgio Vasari, ed. David J. Cast. Aldershot, Hants: Ashgate (2014), pp.277-94
    • ‘Art and the Literary’, The Oxford Handbook to Victorian Literary Culture, ed. Juliet John. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2014)
    • ‘Italy and Victorian Literature’. The Encyclopaedia of Victorian Literature, ed. Dino F. Felluga et al. New York: Wiley-Blackwell (2015).