My research focuses on representations of laughter in the writing of Charlotte Brontë (and in literary culture 1830-60). This may seem an unlikely project, yet – from the crass guffaws of Shirley's curates to the 'low, slow ha! ha!' of Bertha in the attic – Brontë's fascination with and detailed treatment of laughter and smiles is pervasive in her fiction. My close focus on Brontë is complemented by a range of wider interests: philosophy and the history of attitudes towards laughter, periodical culture, theories of race, class and gender, concepts of health and sickness, emotion and the intellect, religion, science and psychological/ physiological theory, Romantic literature, and Brontë's contemporaries – in particular Dickens and Thackeray. I am always interested to hear from other postgrads working in these areas.
My research broadly explores nineteenth-century visual culture and the history of technology. Specifically, I am investigating optical technologies of the moving image (such as the zoetrope, praxinoscope, and kinetoscope) and theorising their relationship with mid-century fiction, focusing on writers such as Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, and George Eliot. Wider topics discussed include haptic perception, ocular physiology, and psychological discourses of the sensory experience.
Find me on Academia or twitter @Nicole_Bush
My PhD is on Robert Louis Stevenson in relation to Bakhtin's chronotope theory, and the post-romantic imagination. My wider research interests include Victorian and fin-de-siècle literary culture, wilderness and imagination in the History of Ideas, island studies, the concept of memory in narrative, etymology and narrative theory.
I am interested in the development of C19th 'perfume' discourse, writing about the manifestation of olfactory themes in British supernatural fiction of the fin de siecle. Am a bit old. Still don't know how to pronounce 'Machen'. Am trying to break serious semi-colon habit; whoops! There it goes again.
My PhD research focuses on the healthy body within the novels of Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and Charlotte Brontë, and specifically explores the Victorian concept of health and the healthy body, and the various representations that are present within this mid-nineteenth century fiction. Particular themes that I investigate include vitality and morbidity, the vulnerability of health, the spectacle of injury, and the recovery and restoration of health, while also considering contemporary political attitudes to health and examples of discourse on health present within periodicals of that same period.
My wider interests include the nineteenth-century body, emotions, science and medical humanities, psychology and physiology, and women’s realist fiction.
My research concerns 19th century literary portrayals of the Industrial Revolution, and their effect on modern and contemporary historiography of the time period. I'm particularly interested in ambivalent attitudes towards technology and resonance between those attitudes held then and now. My focus thus far has been on the works of Goethe, Marx and Carlyle, and the appropriation of Faust and Frankenstein myths in their depictions of industrialization and modernity.
My research interests include representations of rape, or its cultural variants: seduction and coercion, in popular fiction, particularly in the context of first wave feminism and the rise of the New Woman. I am also interested in women as perpetrators of violent crime and am currently working on a project which looks at the nineteenth century murderess, Maria Manning, and examines the constructed and highly performative nature of her public persona, her different receptions in the popular and more established, middle class presses, as well as visual representations, and asks whether there is a mutually constitutive element to these discourses.
My research broadly focuses on nineteenth-century periodicals and print culture. I am especially interested in the work of the publisher Edward Lloyd and his impact on commercial mass-production. Although in the very early stages of my doctoral studies, I intend to pay particular attention to the penny dreadful and other forms of ‘undesirable’ literature for the working-class masses. I am specifically interested in readerships, attitudes to the periodical press and the permeable boundaries between fiction and journalism at this time.
I have recently completed my PhD in Romantic-era satire, entitled 'The Politics of Bestial Imagery in Satire, 1789-1820'. In my thesis I argue that the ways that writers and cartoonists use animal imagery in satire help to frame and influence political discourse in the Romantic period. My thesis focuses on the works Percy Shelley, James Gillray, Mary Robinson and William Gifford, and my wider research interests include eighteenth and nineteenth-century satire, Romantic literature and popular print culture in the Romantic period. I am currently a review author for the Year's Work in English Studies, for works written on Romantic poetry, and following my viva, I am editing my thesis as a monograph.
I am an early career researcher at Northumbria University. My research centres on dreams and the creative imagination in Romantic poetry. I am currently writing a book on the use of the Medieval dream-vision genre in a range of poems from 1797 to 1849. I am particularly interested in the way in which poets used the form to push the boundaries of poetry into symbolist and experimental writing by emulating the phantasmagoria and and by drawing on the irrationality of dreams to promote creative freedom. I have written articles on 'Kubla Khan: A WaKing Dream' in The Coleridge Bulletin, 'Dante's Linguistic Detail in Shelley's Triumph of Life' in Comparative Literature and Culture, Wordsworth and Romance in progress at RAVON, De Quincey and the Napoleonic Wars and I am co-editing volume one of Depression and Melancholy 1660-1800 for Pickering and Chatto.
I am currently on the M.Litt program and so far my research has been focussed on 1790s utopian designs, including Godwin’s Political Justice and Coleridge and Southey’s Pantisocracy scheme. I am interested in the tension between radicalism and utopianism, and also the value of utopianism during historical moments of cultural and political upheaval. My main research interest, which will become my dissertation in the summer, is Percy Shelley’s use of secular utopias in his poetry, and the shifting relationship between religion and paradise.
Helen Stark is in the third year of her PhD, titled 'Nation-making and nation-breaking: Masculinities in European Literature, 1760-1820', at Newcastle University. With Harriet Briggs, she jointly chairs the North East Postgraduate Research Group for the Long Nineteenth Century. She is also a BARS postgraduate representative and is jointly organising their next conference for postgraduate and early career academics which is titled 'Romantic Connections' and will take place at Newcastle University on the 1st June 2012.
I was recently awarded my PhD, which focused on the prose of Percy Bysshe Shelley. This project ranged from Shelley's earliest pamphlet, The Necessity of Atheism (1811), to his final major work, A Defence of Poetry (1821). I argue that Shelley’s essays engage with eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century political economy, and that this shapes, as well as is influenced by, his aesthetic ideas. My broader research questions Romantic hostility towards the mathematical methods of political economy itself. Through exploring the doctrines of Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham and David Ricardo, I argue that economic discourse during this period may be viewed as a literary, as well a social or political form. I am currently working towards a monograph, which will focus on Shelley's economic thought from Scottish Enlightenment philosophy to utilitarian doctrines:
My PhD explores constructions of childhood, parenthood and literary inheritance in early nineteenth century British literature. Reading texts by Hartley and Sara Coleridge, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, William Godwin Jr. and Lucy Aikin, I examine how eighteenth century theories of childhood and the emblematic child are reconsidered by a generation who inherit problematic legacies of Romanticism.
My wider research interests include periodicity, biography and memorialisation, children’s literature and child development theories across the long nineteenth century.
Helen is currently working on Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy and eighteenth-century experimental fiction, and has research interests in the nineteenth-century response to Sterne and his work. She is based at Northumbria University and works in collaboration with the Laurence Sterne Trust.