Dr Nicola Kirkby

Personal profile

I am fascinated by 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 develop and think through the entangled infrastructures around them. 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’.


Before joining Royal Holloway I taught at King’s College, London, where I completed my AHRC-funded PhD titled ‘British Railway Infrastructure and the Novel, 1850-1910’. Research for that project was supported by an AHRC International Placement Scheme Fellowship at the Huntington Library, California (2014). I am proud to have also worked in student support roles at the University of Edinburgh and am committed to inclusive education.


At Royal Holloway I teach on the following modules:

1st year: Re-Orienting the Novel

2nd year: Victorian Literature

MA: Victorian London

Beyond these modules I am always happy to discuss student work-in-progress on any theme that intersects with my research interests in nineteenth-century novels, technology, material culture, and mobility.


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

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