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Victoria Russell

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Title of thesis

  • Romanticism and the Androgynous Zone: The Platonic Androgyne as a symbol of psycho-sexual equality amongst radical rational dissenters in England between the 1790s and the 1840s.


Research Interests

  • My research considers a lacuna in English Romantic historiography. It looks at the radical, yet largely implicit, concept of psychological androgyny or the unsexed mind as a notion of human equality at a time of immense socio-political instability and growing conservatism. My thesis covers a period of English history from the beginning of the French Revolution to the beginning of the Victorian Age. It considers the largely neglected role of middle-class radicalism within increasingly marginalised fringes of rational dissent and how the concept of psychological androgyny helped to inform a quietist approach to social and political reform, most notably via the patriarchal bastions of education and marriage. It looks at the influence of German thought upon English radicalism, at a resurgent German-led Platonism and the development of new methods of critical enquiry and considers also the role of impartial, non-sectarian educational institutions – in Scotland and increasingly Germany - as cosmopolitan and progressive forums of intellectual exchange and critical enquiry.

Papers given

  • 2013 ‘The Romantic Androgyne’, Graduate Research Symposium, Birkbeck
  • 2014 ‘Romanticism and the Platonic Androgyne: The Challenge to Masculine Hegemony in England between 1790 and 1840.’ Conference: Leadership, Power and Masculinity from Antiquity to the Contemporary World, The University of London Institute, Paris.
  • 2015 ‘Radical Education and the Platonic Androgyne: The Challenge to Socio-Political and Sexual Hegemony in England between 1790 and 1840.’ Conference: What is Radical History? Birkbeck
  • 2015 ‘The Psychological Androgyne and the Historical Inconvenience of Sexual ambiguity’ Workshop: What is the History of Sexuality? Birkbeck


  • Forthcoming 2016/2017
  • ‘Psychological Androgyny, Romanticism and the Radical Challenge to Hegemonic Masculinity in England, 1790-1840.,’ as part of a Handbook on Leadership, Power and Masculinity to be published by Macmillan c.2017.
  • ‘Psychological Androgyny and the Historical Inconvenience of Sexual Ambiguity’. Notches: (Re)marks on the History of Sexuality Blog

Honours and awards

  • 2016 Hobsbawm Scholarship award
  • 2014 SSHP award for travel and accommodation