Professor Ruth Livesey

Personal profile

I joined the department in 2002 from a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Birkbeck College. I studied for a BA in English at Oxford and then moved into Women's Studies at Warwick University for Masters and Ph.D. degrees. I continue to enjoy research and teaching that is grounded in the close study of texts but which reaches out to larger political and social questions.

Research interests

I am an AHRC Research Leadership Fellow 2019-2020, pursuing a project entitled 'Provincialism: Literature and the Cultural Politics of Middleness in Nineteenth-Century Britain'. I will be working with partners in the Midlands on a programme of activities around George Eliot's bicentenary in 2019 as well as researching a book on provincialism, the provincial novel, and ideas of Englishness. My most recent book, Writing the Stage Coach Nation: Locality on the Move in Nineteenth-Century British Literature was published by Oxford University Press in September 2016. I completed the research for this study thanks to the  award of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and a visiting fellowship at the Huntington Library in 2012-13. I am currently working on a new book-length project on provincialism, English fiction and the rise of literary studies. Part of this study, focused on George Eliot, was supported by a College RSF grant. I supervise PhD students in a variety of fields relating to nineteenth-century literature, culture, and political thought during this time and am happy to respond to enquries from prospective graduate students. For a good insight into the lively field of Victorian Studies at the moment, take a look at the Journal of Victorian Culture online blog with free downloads from the Journal itself, reviews, and comment.


I was an Editor of the Journal of Victorian Culture| ssin  s from 2009-2015 and am on the editorial board of 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century| and I am also on the advisory board of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies|. I am on the steering group of the London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar at the Institute of English Studies and was acting Director of the Centre for Victorian Studies at Royal Holloway for several years and co-organised conferences and symposia under its auspices. Click the link for information about past and current events in the Centre for Victorian Studies. I have served as a member of the AHRC peer review college since 2012 and was Assistant Director of the TECHNE AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, 2015-2018, a consortium of seven HE institutions. My special focus in that role was developing knowledge exchange and opportunities with our external partners in the museum and heritage sector, something I have continued in a variety of research collaborations since 2018.

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