Professor Sos Eltis

My first book, Revising Wilde: Society and Subversion in the Plays of Oscar Wilde traced Wilde’s revisions to his plays in order to challenge long-established views of the writer as a dilettante and dandy, revealing him instead as a serious philosopher and social critic who used his plays to subvert the traditional values of Victorian literature and society.

Acts of Desire: Women and Sex on Stage, 1800-1930, my second book, is a study of theatrical depictions of illicit sexuality, encompassing prostitution, adultery, bigamy and seduction.  Drawing on the Lord Chamberlain's Plays archive, correspondence on censorship, contemporary reviews, details of performance and publication, and contemporary writings on sexuality and prostitution, the book looks closely at how dramatic treatments of sexuality interacted with social and legal debates, both reflecting and influencing contemporary attitudes and anxieties. 

I have now started work on a book on theatrical representations of work, from melodrama through to early socialist dramas, musical comedy, suffrage drama and plays of ideas. The book will examine the significance of staging, set and props in representing real-life working conditions and the actual texture of labour, and will trace the role the stage played in debating labour conditions, wages, political representation, unionisation and autonomy through the nineteenth and into the twentieth century.

Victorian and modern literature, drama from 1830-present day.

Positions held

English Faculty Chair, 2007-10.

Member of the English Faculty Board.

Convenor, Drama in Performance seminar series (co-convened with Emma Smith, Laurie Maguire, Tiffany Stern, Sophie Duncan, Kirsten Shepherd-Barr)

Senior Member and Senior Treasurer, Oxford University Dramatic Society

Member of the Board, Oxford Playhouse 

Brasenose College website