Dr Nicola Kirkby

Personal profile

I joined Royal Holloway in September 2019 as Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in English, and am currently working on a project titled ‘Infrastructure and Entanglement in Nineteenth-Century British Literary Culture’. My main research interests concern the imaginative labour involved in developing large-scale systems, including railways, telegraphs, the post office, and shipping in the long nineteenth century. Literary forms including multiplot fiction, serialised novels, and the periodical press can offer us insights into how Victorians found a logistical way to organise the entangled infrastructures around them.


Before joining Royal Holloway I taught at King’s College, London, where I also completed an AHRC-funded PhD in English Literature titled ‘British Railway Infrastructure and the Novel, 1850-1910’. Research for that project was supported by an International Fellowship at the Huntington Library, California (2014). I also hold a MLitt with Distinction in Victorian Literature, and a first-class MA (Hons), both from the University of Glasgow.

I teach Nineteenth-Century British Literature at Royal Holloway, and would be particularly interested in supervising work that intersects with my research interests in nineteenth-century novels, technology, material culture, and mobility. I hold an Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (2018). At KCL I taught widely between 2014 and 2019, and convened the summer school module, ‘Literature in the City’. I am proud to have also worked in student support roles at the University of Edinburgh and am committed to inclusive education.


Key terms: novel form, history of technology, nineteenth-century culture, infrastructure studies, mobilities, Victorian fiction, material culture

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