• Burnaby Road, Milldam

    PO1 3AS Portsmouth

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Any aspect of literature and environment in the Victorian period.

20092019

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Summary

I work on environment and literature in the long-nineteenth century, with particular interest in pastoral, ecocrisis, pollution, and social and environmental justice in the Victorian period (and what it tells us about the present). I focus on the cultural functions of pastoral in early-Victorian literature, but have also worked on late-Victorian environmental disaster narratives, particularly the work of Richard Jefferies, and this led to a scholarly edition of his 1885 novel, After London. My original research heartland (John Ruskin) also remains important to me. 

I would consider postgraduate enquiries relating to any of these areas, and would welcome opportunities for media interviews and other opportunities to speak about my work.

Biography

I am currently working on four projects:

1. a monograph on pastoral in early Victorian fiction that is rooted in recent ecocritical interest in the urban and rural; environmental sovereignty and hierarchies; slow violence and environmental justice criticism; boundaries/intersectionality; and deconstruction. Recent essays on Dickens and pastoral and Ruskin and ecology were early manifestations of this project.

2. I am creating and editing an extensive four-volume collection of primary sources on environments and ecology in the long nineteenth century for Routledge. This will draw upon famous and obscure works from various sources, including published books, newspapers, and periodicals. 

3. I am preparing an article on science in the work of the novelist, Wilkie Collins, for a Cambridge University Press collection.

4. I am the creator and director of the Portsmouth Literary Map (https://litmap.nautoguide.com/#Home), a Faculty-funded KEF project, working alongside my colleague, Dr Maggie Bowers.

My earlier research on John Ruskin and 19th century science, politics, and culture yielded a monograph, The Lost Companions and John Ruskin's Guild of St George: a Revisionary History and articles for Victorian Literature and Culture, Nineteenth Century Prose, Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Green Letters, and  a special issue of Critical Survey (co-edited with Paraic Finnerty). 

Research Interests

I am interested in literature and environment in the Victorian period, and my work is rooted in a range of recent and emerging ecocritical contexts. I focus on:

  • Pastoral modes in early-Victorian fiction (Dickens, Eliot, Trollope, Thackeray, Martineau, Oliphant, Surtees, Ainsworth, penny dreadfuls, silver fork novels, chartist literature).
  • Issues of environmental justice, slow violence, pollution, and environmental injustice.
  • Social impacts of rapid industrial, demographic, economic, and technological change in the Victorian period.
  • Late-Victorian environmental disaster narratives (Richard Jefferies, William Delisle Hay, Grant Allen, Robert Barr, M. P. Shiel).
  • John Ruskin.

Teaching Responsibilities

I co-ordinate the second year module, Dystopian and Apocalyptic Environments: Ecocrisis in the Literary Imagination', which takes my ecocritical interests into contemporary literature, and I teach on two first-year modules, The Short Story: Murder, Madness and Experimentation and Popular Culture. I am on the supervisory teams of three doctoral students, regularly supervise MRes students, and will be involved in a forthcoming new distance-learning MA, Gothic Victorians.

Media Availability

I am available for media interviews and other opportunities to speak about my work.

External positions

Co-editor, Eighth Lamp: the Journal of Ruskin Studies

Oct 2015Oct 2018

Keywords

  • PR English literature
  • Pastoral, ecocriticism, ecology, ecocrisis, environment and literature, anthropocene, John Ruskin, Richard Jefferies, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, W M Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, Margaret Oliphant, Harriet Martineau, penny dreadfuls

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