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Research

I have three broad areas of research.

Victorian Material Culture and Collecting

I am writing a book titled Collecting, Masculinity and the Victorian Imagination, which focuses on the literary depiction of collectors and the significance of collecting as theme and method in late-Victorian writing. My book explores how the Victorian collector emerges as a figure through whom cultural value was articulated and investigated, as the practices of collecting (selecting, hoarding, classifying) became narratives through which writers explore the relationship between the material object, masculine body and the moral self. Writers I discuss include Oscar Wilde, Henry James, George Gissing, M.R. James, Richard Marsh and Rider Haggard. I have published a number of essays and articles as part of this project. You can read about my work on Victorian bibliomania.

I am co-editing (with Tatiana Kontou) a six-volume series on Victorian material culture for Routledge, This will be a collection of source books for students and researchers organised thematically around key aspects of Victorian production and it includes volumes on ‘Science and medicine’, ‘Invention and Technology’, ‘Victorian Arts’, ‘Raw Materials’ and ‘Manufacturing’.

I will be contributing a chapter on the Brontës and objects to a new book titled The Brontës and the Arts edited by Deborah Wynne and Amber Regis for Edinburgh University Press.

Curating the Victorians

I am interested in how the Victorians are presented across a wide range of contemporary cultural production including museum and gallery exhibitions, television series and plays. In 2011 I co-curated (with Nicola Bown and Alison Smith) an exhibition on ‘Victorian Sentimentality’ at Tate Britain and in 2015 I was the exhibition researcher on the ‘Fallen Woman’ exhibition at the Founding Museum (curated by Lynda Nead).

I am the editor of 19 Live, a new section of the journal 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Nineteenth Century which discusses recent events, exhibitions and performances with a nineteenth-century focus.

I supervise MA students who take up internships at some of our partner institutions, which include the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Salvation Army.

Classical Material Culture in the Nineteenth Century

The third strand of my research focuses in the mediation of classical material culture in the nineteenth century. In November 2018, I organised the conference ‘Classical Material Culture in the Nineteenth Century’ on behalf of the Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies.

I am working on an edited collection based on this conference and on an article about the relationship between gender and the representation of antiquity in late Victorian illustrated editions of Charles Kingsley’s Hypatia.