Ms Jessica Hindes

Supervised by

  • Ruth Livesey First/primary/lead supervisor

    1/10/1014/01/15

Educational background

I took my BA in English at Cambridge (St Catharine's College), graduating in 2008 and going straight to Lincoln College, Oxford where I spent a year studying for my MSt in English 1780-1900. I took a year out before coming to Royal Holloway on an AHRC scholarship.

Other work

Since October 2011, I have volunteered two days a month as a tour guide at Highgate Cemetery, a Grade I-listed Victorian cemetery in North London. Giving tours at Highgate presents the opportunity to share my knowledge of and interest in the nineteenth century with a varied, non-academic audience. In 2012 I particularly enjoyed being part of the inaugural Dickens tours. Many of Dickens's family are buried at Highgate (parents, siblings, wife and daughter) and I enjoyed the challenge of structuring a tour around a fixed route (the graveyard is 17 acres) while offering a coherent narrative that would educate and interest listeners who might know very little (or quite a lot) about my subject.

I spend half a day a week as a volunteer archivist on the Great Diary Project, based at London's Bishopsgate Institute. The GDP is a social history archive, storing and cataloguing the diaries of ordinary people. It is still in its early stages and I'm enjoying being involved in this developing and exciting work.

I also serve on the editorial board of Exegesis, an e-journal based in the English department and run by graduate students. I am part of the team which reviews critical submissions to the journal. Having served on the board since the journal was first mooted in 2011, I learned a great deal during the journey to initial publication: we had to consider issues including branding (name and logo), remit and theme, as well as reviewing submissions once they arrived.

Research interests

My dissertation focused on G.W.M. Reynolds's penny serial The Mysteries of London and its continuation The Mysteries of the Court of London, published 1844-56. Reynolds's serial was immensely popular with the new reading audiences of its period but has suffered critically from enduring prejudices about mass market literature and its readers. In the thesis I attempt something like a 'reparative reading' of Reynolds's text, trying to move beyond the pervasive issue of its commercial success to consider its structure, generic affiliations and political concerns. It is a topic which has allowed me to pursue my broader interests in popular culture, reader response, genre, and the history of the novel, as well as involving me in early nineteenth-century print politics more broadly. The small corpus of existing critical work on Reynolds has also made me something of a Dickensian by default: the two writers' careers act as uneasy parallels and Dickens and his works act as useful comparators for my thoughts and ideas about his contemporary.

Teaching

In 2013-2014 I taught at Royal Holloway on the first year undergraduate module EN1107, Inventing the Novel. The course runs over the year, is compulsory for all first year undergraduates and aims to give students a good grounding in the history of the novel from Aphra Behn to Charles Dickens. In 2015 I will begin teaching a second-year module on 'Romanticisms'.

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