Helen Kingstone

Helen Kingstone


  • TW20 0EX

Personal profile

Personal profile

Helen Kingstone joined Royal Holloway in September 2022, after previous temporary positions at University of Surrey, University of Glasgow and Leeds Trinity University.


Research interests

My research examines how we write the history of our lifetimes. My book Victorian Narratives of the Recent Past: memory, history, fiction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) explains why narrating the recent past is always challenging, and shows how it was particularly fraught in the nineteenth century. The book brings together Victorian histories and novels to trace how these parallel genres responded to the challenges of contemporary history writing in divergent ways. 

My new book, Panoramas and Compilations in Nineteenth-Century Britain: seeing the big picture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) compares two contrasting Victorian approaches to gaining an artificial overview on the present and the scale of modernity: the panorama and the compilation. It begins by examining the 360° panorama paintings used from the French Revolution onwards to represent recent historical events, and traces how panoramic overview was adopted in literary form by historians, novelists and poets. The book’s second half examines Victorian attempts to encapsulate the contemporary era through compilations, from ephemeral collective biographies, to W. T. Stead's digest of periodicals the Review of Reviews, to the Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), which was surprisingly full of very recent lives.

My other research interest is in oral history, and in how we build narratives of our lifetimes through memory. I am co-chair of the Wellcome Trust-funded Humanities & Social Sciences research network on 'Generations: what's in the concept and how best should it be used?'. Sociologist Dr Jennie Bristow (Canterbury Christ Church University) and I co-hosted workshops across 2019-20 to pool knowledge across disciplines, and to work out how this important but divisive concept can best be used in public discourse and by policy-makers. Here is our toolkit for 'Talking about Generations: 5 questions to ask yourself'.



My teaching focuses on nineteenth-century literature. I teach on Victorian Literature (EN2212), Literature of the Fin de Siecle (EN2309), MA Victorian London (EN5831), MA Nineteenth-Century Novel (EN5837).



I am a Reviewing Editor for Journal of Victorian Culture. I am also a co-director of the Centre for Research on Ageing and Generations, at the University of Surrey, and a visiting research fellow there.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Victorian Negotiations with the Recent Past: History, Fiction, Utopia, University of Leeds

BA (Hons) in History and English, University of Oxford

MA in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, University of York

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or