Dr Samantha Matthews
Senior Lecturer in Victorian Literature
Phone: 0117 928 9819
Fax: 0117 331 7933
On research leave January to December 2012 (British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship).
Project: The Album Poem and Nineteenth-Century Manuscript Culture
- Romantic and Victorian poets, poems and their 'afterlives'
- Albums and album verse in manuscript and print
- Autobiography and biography
- Alfred Tennyson
- Book history; the material text; artists' books
- The 'Confession Album'
- Literary tourism
- Literary graves and burial-sites (especially cemeteries)
- Occasional poetry, commemorative texts and objects
- London in literature
- Victorian 'afterlives' and the Neo-Victorian
I have wide-ranging and interdisciplinary research interests in the literature and visual and material culture of the 'long' nineteenth century (c. 1780-1920). There are two main strands to my current research: albums and album poetry in manuscript and print; and Victorian literary 'afterlives', reception history and the reader. Both interests develop from my doctoral work on non-canonical poetry, and from my book, Poetical Remains: Poets' Graves, Bodies, and Books in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2004), which considers the productive relations between dead poets and their literal and literary 'remains'.
I have a long-standing interest in the significance of handwriting and the autograph during the rise of mass print culture in the nineteenth-century, when the signature connotes both unique subjectivity and the impossibility of originality. This preoccupation has developed into two discrete book projects on neglected literary forms: a study of the album poem, a distinctive kind of occasional, manuscript poem which may be found in the published oeuvres of Byron, Wordsworth, Browning, Tennyson and other poets; and a cultural history of the confession album, a phenomenally popular later-Victorian form of interactive book designed around responses to printed questionnaires (see 'Psychological Crystal Palace', 2000, in Articles). In both I seek to open new perspectives on the role of women, working-class, non-canonical and non-professional writers, and the implications for our understanding of authorship, readers and readerships. My interest in the material text and Victorian reception history has led to my first move into literary editing, working with Daniel Karlin on a critical edition of Henry James's The Bostonians for Cambridge University Press's Complete Fiction of Henry James.
I have co-supervised doctoral projects on sensation fiction, the Rossetti circle, and the religious poet Henry Francis Lyte. I am keen to supervise approaches to nineteenth-century authors and topics which emphasize textuality and materiality, reception history or relations between manuscript and print, but am open-minded about proposals on a range of topics from the 1770s to the present.
University College London, 1989-1997:
- PhD. Representations of the Grave in Nineteenth Century English Poetry, 1997
- MA. Anglo-American Literary Relations, 1993
- BA. English Language and Literature, 1992
- University of Sheffield. Lecturer in Victorian Literature, 2006-10
- Goldsmiths College, University of London. Lecturer in Victorian Literature, 2002-06
- Royal Holloway, University of London. Visiting Lecturer, 2001-02
- University College London, University of London. Tutorial fellow, 1998-2002
- The Bostonians (with Daniel Karlin) in the Complete Fiction of Henry James, general editors Philip Horne and Tamara Follini (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2013)
- Poetical Remains: Poets' Graves, Bodies, and Books in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) http://www.oup.co.uk/isbn/0-19-925463-X
Chapters in books
- 'Albums, Belongings, and Embodying the Feminine’, in Bodies and Things in the Nineteenth Century, edited by Katharina Boehm (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2013)
- '“O all pervading album!”: locality and mobility in late-Romantic albums', in Romantic Localities: Europe Writes Place, edited by Jacqueline Labbe and Christoph Bode (The Enlightenment World series) (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2010)
- 'Remembering the Victorians' in The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Culture, edited by Francis O’Gorman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)
- 'After Tennyson: the Presence of the Poet, 1892-1918' in Tennyson Among the Poets: Bicentenary Essays, edited by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst and Seamus Perry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)
- 'Making their Mark: Writing the Nineteenth-Century Poet’s Grave', 25-36 in Literary Tourism and Nineteenth Century Culture, edited by Nicola J. Watson (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
- 'The London Necropolis: Suburban Cemeteries and the Necropolitan Imaginary', 257-81 in A Mighty Mass of Brick and Smoke: Victorian and Edwardian Representations of London, edited by Lawrence Phillips (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007)
- 'Importunate applications and old affections: Southey’s Album Verses', Robert Southey special issue, Romanticism 17:1 (2011), 77-93
- 'From Autograph to Print: Charles Lamb's Album Verses, with a few others (1830', Charles Lamb Bulletin n.s. 154 (Autumn 2011), 143-54
- '"O for the touch of a vanished hand": the touching testimony of a Victorian epigraph.' British Association for Victorian Studies Yearbook and Directory of members (2009), 24-30
- 'Album', in forum on material objects in Victorian Things special issue, Victorian Review 34:1 (Spring 2008), 13-17
- 'Texts, Gems, and Confessions: Writing Readers in Late-Victorian Autograph Albums', Publishing History 62 (2007), 53-80
- 'Wordsworth’s Mortal Remains', special issue on Wordsworth's 'Second Selves', The Wordsworth Circle 34:2 (Spring 2003), 35-9
- 'Reading the “Sign-Manual”: autograph and identity in Dickens', The Dickens Quarterly 19:4 (Dec. 2002), 232-42
- '“Pyramids and Mausolean Pomp”: The Folly of Nineteenth-century Mausolea', The Follies Journal 2 (November 2002), 8-19
- 'Burying Tennyson: the Victorian Laureate Immortalized', Mortality 7:2 (November 2002), 247-68
- 'Wordsworth and the Grave of Charles Lamb: Epitaphs, Effusions and Final Memorials', The Charles Lamb Bulletin n.s. 118 (April 2002), 49-63
- 'Entombing the Woman Poet: Tributes to Elizabeth Barrett Browning', Studies in Browning and His Circle 24 (June 2001), 31-53
- 'Psychological Crystal Palace? Late Victorian Confession Albums', Book History 3 (2000), 125-54
- 'Dead Letters', Things: a new journal of writing about objects 10 (Summer 1999), 96-100
Reviews for Victorian Review, The Byron Journal, Comparative Critical Studies, Mortality: An Interdisciplinary Death Studies Journal, Literary London.
I review books on Victorian literature and culture for the Times Literary Supplement, and have in the past also reviewed contemporary fiction by women for the TLS.
- I will give the annual Tennyson Society lecture in Lincoln in May 2012.
- I gave an invited talk on Charles Lamb’s Album Verses at the Charles Lamb Society Conference (on Lamb and print culture) in London in November 2010. In March 2010 I was an invited speaker at the inaugural conference for the Centre for the Material Text, University of Cambridge, and I gave a plenary at the 2008 BAVS conference 'Victorian Feeling: Touch, Bodies, Emotions' (University of Leicester) (see Articles).
- I am on the Editorial Board of the Victorian Literature module of OUP's new online research resource, Oxford Bibliographies Online, contributing entries on Alfred Tennyson, Arthur Hugh Clough and Autobiography.
- I contributed entries (including those on the album, autograph book, calendar, memorial book, notebook, and shorthand book) to The Oxford Companion to the Book, edited by H. R. Woudhuysen and M. J. Suarez, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).
- Working with a team of student editors, I edited the short fiction section of the University of Sheffield’s online creative writing journal Route 57, issues 5 (2009) and 6 (2010)
I am a member of learned societies including the Bibliographical Society, British Association for Romantic Studies, British Association for Victorian Studies, the Charles Lamb Society, and the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP).
- Approaches to Poetry (level 1)
- Contemporary Writing (level 1)
- Darkest London (Special Subject, level 2)
- Literature 3 (1700-1830) (level 3)
- Literature 4 (1830-1945) (level 3)
- Victorian Afterlives (Special Subject, level 3)
- Romanticism (MA pathway)
I have also taught the following undergraduate courses: Inventing the novel 1780-1840; Ritual and society in nineteenth-century fiction and painting; Charles Dickens; Sensibility and Romanticism; The Romantic Period; Victorian Literature; Mid-nineteenth century American Literature; Modern Literature; Recent Scottish fiction. MA courses taught include: Interdisciplinary approaches to Nineteenth-century studies; The Nineteenth-century Realist Novel; The City in Nineteenth-century Literature.