The study of Victorian literature and culture has long been a particular strength of Oxford’s English Faculty, and we are currently producing some of the most exciting and innovative research in the field.
What do we do?
Our research and teaching cover the full range of Victorian writing – British, trans-Atlantic and, increasingly, global. Although we have a diverse range of theoretical interests, we have distinctive strengths in the areas of literature and the history of ideas (including questions of literary value, aesthetics, and of readership and response), in the study of poetry, and in the literature of the fin de siècle. Biography, life-writing and textual editing are flourishing areas of expertise. We are also the organizing force behind a very active cross-disciplinary hub for literature and science. We welcome enquiries from potential researchers who want to work in any area of Victorian literature and culture.
Scholars of Victorian literature at Oxford will have access to unrivalled library and archival resources. The Bodleian and college libraries hold wonderful collections of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century manuscripts and printed texts from Britain, America and beyond, many of them by men and women who studied at Oxford or spent a period of their lives in the city. There are extensive collections relevant to women’s education in the period, and the Oxford History Faculty provides regular updates on Bodleian and other archival sources for nineteenth-century women’s history.
There are also fascinating collections of periodicals and ephemera, including the John Johnson Collection of printed materials about popular entertainment, the book trade, print making, advertising, and observations of politics, race, class, crime and punishment, and much else. The Bodleian has recently digitized its complete collection of the photographs of William Henry Fox Talbot. The Ashmolean Museum is home to a rich variety of Victorian and Edwardian paintings and art objects, with Thomas Combe’s collection of Pre-Raphaelite art at its centre (see https://www.ashmolean.org/pre-raphaelites). It also holds excellent collections of objects from Asian, African and other cultures for students with comparative interests.