I’m Senior Lecturer in English Literature & Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University, and I specialise in histories of women, gender, and feminism in Britain from the Victorian period to the present day, as well as in neo-victorianism, and contemporary women’s writing. I’m the author of The Widow: A Literary & Cultural History (LUP, 2017). I’m an AHRC/ BBC New Generation Thinker and have made broadcasts about my research on widows in Britain for BBC Radio’3 Free Thinking and The Essay. As part of the scheme, I recently made my first short documentary film – Women & Weeds – for BBC Arts, which will be available online from 1 April 2016.
This book chapter discusses the relationship between pornography and feminist politics in two neb-victorian novels: Sarah Waters’s *Fingersmith* (2002) and Belinda Starling’s *The Journal of Dora Damage* (2006).
[Publication] Not My Mother’s Daughter: Matrilinealism, Third-Wave Feminism, & Neo-Victorian Fiction
The plot of Sarah Waters’ third novel, Fingersmith (2002), is based on a complex web of matrilineal narratives, which eventually are uncovered as fictions. This essay will analyse these matrilineal fictions in terms of their influences on the novel’s protagonists Sue and Maud, as well as considering the novel’s matrilinealism first as a feminist metaphor for third-wave feminism and secondly as a metafictional device commenting on neo-Victorian fiction’s relationship to the past. Finally, it will highlight the genre’s similarities to third- wave feminism in terms of their shared concern for and treatment of the relationship between past and present.
Over the past decade, the detective widow has become a well-established character in the little-explored subgenre of neo–Victorian crime fiction. In Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series, the author argues, the detective widow investigates the gendered characteristics and complexities of Victorian widowhood while detecting the artistic crimes associated with historical fiction’s imitations and adaptations of the past.
04/07/2012, “North West Long Nineteenth-Century Seminar”, Manchester City Library
From Mary Wollstonecraft’s call for chastity as a universal rather than a female virtue in A vindication of the rights of woman (1792), through nineteenth and early-twentieth century writings on the commodification of women in marriage and prostitution and campaigns for rational dress, to fights for women’s reproductive rights and sexual liberation in the 1960s and 1970s, the female body and female sexuality as sites of oppression and empowerment have long occupied a central place of concern in feminist theory and practice. In the new millennium, as in previous decades, this interest continues to engender productively diverse and conflicting, as well as often conflicted, responses by feminist scholars across disciplines whose work reflects upon and attempts to conceptualise women’s sexual bodies within the cultural and political landscapes of the twenty-first century.
8-9 September 2011, University of Hull
23 October 2010, University of Leicester
2 October 2010, The Women’s Library, London
09/04/2010, “Fashioning the Neo-Victorian”, Erlangen-Nuremberg.
11-12 September 2009, University of Oxford