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Dr Victoria Mills

  • Overview



    Vicky Mills joined Birkbeck as Lecturer in Victorian Literature and Culture in September 2016, having previously held a Research Fellowship at Darwin College, Cambridge and a Teaching Fellowship at King’s College, London. Prior to academia, Dr Mills worked in the museum sector including roles at the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Museum of the Home (formerly known as the Geffrye Museum).

    From 2017-18 Dr Mills was Co-Convenor of the London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar and from 2018-2020, Co-Director of the Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies. She iwas currently General Editor of 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century from 2019-2021 and is currently Programme Director for the MA in Victorian Studies. 

    Dr Mills's research falls into four overlapping areas -  the interplay between written, visual and material cultures in the long nineteenth century, museums and collecting, gender and sexuality and classical reception. She has published on the work of a range of nineteenth-century writers including George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Charles Kingsley. She also writes on the way in which contemporary museums and galleries present the Victorians. 



    • Victorian Material Culture a six volume series co-edited with Tatiana Kontou will be published with Routledge in 2022

    • Victorian Arts co-edited with Kate Nichols is forthcoming with Routledge in 2022.

    • My essay  ‘Vision, History and the Tauchnitz Editions of George Eliot’s Romola’ is forthcoming in The Idea of Italy: Photography and the British Imagination, 1840-1900, ed. by Maria Antonella Pelizzari and Scott Wilcox (Yale University Press, 2022)

    • My most recent article appeared in Journal of Victorian Culture in 2020. 'Charles Kingsley's Hypatia, Visual Culture and the Gender Politics of the 1890s' 


    • PhD, University of London
    • MA Victorian Studies, University of London
    • MA Museum Studies, University of Leicester
    • BA (Joint Hons.) Ancient and Modern History, University of Oxford

    Web profiles

    Administrative responsibilities

    • Programme Director MA Victorian Studies
    • MA Director, Department of English, Theatre and Creative Writing

    Professional memberships

    • British Association for Victorian Studies

      North American Victorian Studies Association

      Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

  • Research


    Research interests

    • Gender and Sexuality, especially Victorian Masculinities
    • The relationship between written. visual and material cultures
    • Museums, material culture and collecting
    • Nineteenth-Century Classical Reception

    Research overview

    I have interconnecting research interests which span the long nineteenth century.

    Gender and Sexuality

    I am interested in the relationship between gender and material culture. I am completing a monograph Collecting, masculinity and the Victorian imagination, which focuses on the literary depiction of male collectors and the significance of collecting as theme and method in late-Victorian writing. You can read about my work on Victorian bibliomania here. I have also published on the figure of the female collector and on the imagination of museums by Victorian women writers. In 2015 I was the Exhibition Researcher for the 'Fallen Woman' exhibition held at the Foundling Museum in 2015. 

    Literature, visual and material culture

    I work on the relationship between written, visual and material culture and questions of mediation. I have published and forthcoming work on the photographic extra-illustration of Victorian novels and on Victorian book illustration.

    Museums, material culture and collecting.

    I am co-editing (with Tatiana Kontou) a six-volume series, Victorian Material Culture (Routledge, forthcoming 2021), This contains volumes on ‘Science and medicine’, ‘Invention and Technology’, ‘Victorian Arts’, ‘Raw Materials’ and ‘Manufacturing’ and 'Fashionable Things'. I also write on how contemporary museums present the Victorians. I edit 19 Live on this theme.

    Classical Reception

    Some of my recent work explores the ways in which nineteenth-century cultural forms respond to and reshape the classical past. I have published on late-Victorian illustrated editions of Charles Kingsley's Hypatia. I am currently editing a book on nineteenth-century classical reception with the title  Classical Material Culture in the Nineteenth Century: Reception, Mediation, Reimagining

    Research Centres and Institutes

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in working on aspects of nineteenth-century literature and culture that relate to my research interests.

    Current doctoral researchers



    Vicky teaches across the BA in English literature and on the MA in Victorian Studies. She has supervised BA dissertations on literature from the Renaissance to the present day and MA dissertations on topics ranging from Walter Pater and the poetics of antiquity to opium eating in the Cambridgeshire fens.  

    Teaching modules

    • Disciplining Sex: Sexuality, Society and Modern Literary Culture (AREN019S7)
    • The Victorians and their World (AREN069S6)
    • Victorian Femininities: the Myths, the Power, the Politics (AREN284S7)
    • Dissertation MA Victorian Studies (ENHU007D7)
  • Publications




    • Mills, Victoria and Nichols, K., eds. (2022) Victorian arts. Victorian Material Culture. Routledge. ISBN 9781138225329.
    • Kontou, T. and Mills, Victoria, eds. (2022) Victorian material culture. Victorian Material Culture. Routledge. ISBN 9781138225268.

    Book Section




  • Business and community

    Business and community


    Co-Curator 'Victorian Sentimentality' (with Alison Smith and Nicola Bown) Tate Britain, 2011

    Exhibition Researcher, 'The Fallen Woman', Curated by Lynda Nead, Foundling Museum, 2015. My catalogue essay on the research I undertook for the exhibition. A film based on this project.

    Silent Orchid Summer School in association with Birmingham Arts and Science Festival July 2020