Dr Simon Avery
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Simon Avery's interests include Victorian literature and culture, the 1890s and queer history.
I have taught at the University of Westminster since 2007, where I am currently Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture. Along with Dr Leigh Wilson, I co-ordinate the PhD programmes for the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies, and I have previously been Course Leader for the Single Honours English Literature degree (2009-14).
Before coming to Westminster, I taught in the School of Humanities at the University of Hertfordshire (1999-2007) and the Department of English and Drama at Anglia Ruskin University (1996-1999), where I was also Deputy Director of a HEFCE-funded project on graduate and transferable skills. I hold an MA in Victorian Literature (University of Nottingham), a PhD in nineteenth-century literature and politics (Anglia Ruskin), and a postgraduate certificate in learning and teaching in higher education (University of Hertfordshire).
My key areas of teaching and research interest are nineteenth and twentieth-century poetry; the relations between Victorian literature and politics; the 1890s; historiography; life-writing; and sexuality. With Dr Katherine M. Graham, I am Director of the Queer London Research Forum, which we established in 2013 in order to investigate the histories of queer London c.1850-present.
My teaching lies principally in the areas of nineteenth-century literature and culture; gender and sexuality; and modern poetry.
I am module leader for the level six module Writing Sexuality, which examines constructions of sexuality in the late-19th and 20th centuries; the level six module Studies in Modern Poetry, which considers histories of poetry from the 1890s to the present; and the level five module Studies in Travel Writing, which examines literary and non-fictional representations of travel from the Grand Tour to the 21st century.
I also teach on the level four module The Victorians and, at MA level, the option module Victorian Explorations, and the core module Subjectivities in Modern and Contemporary Fictions.
My research is in two key areas:
Nineteenth-century Literature and Culture
I am particularly interested in the complex relations between literature, culture and politics in the nineteenth century. I have published books on Elizabeth Barrett Browning (2003; 2011), Thomas Hardy (2009; 2013), and Mary Coleridge (2010), and articles and book chapters on the Brontës and politics, Mathilde Blind and Eleanor Marx, the Italian Risorgimento, and nineteenth-century historiography. I also have an interest in the ways in which the nineteenth century is represented in contemporary historical fiction and have published work on Pat Barker and Alan Hollinghurst in this respect.
I am Director, with Dr Katherine M. Graham, of the Queer London Research Forum, which is housed within the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies. We established the Forum in 2013 with the aim of developing research into the histories of queer London c.1850-present from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives. We have hosted a major international conference on Queer London and a series of popular seminars on issues such as queerness and the digital archive; London's ageing queer populations; and London's Queer Literatures.
Current work with Dr Graham for the Queer London Research Forum includes editing a collection of essays coming out of the Queer London Conference.
I welcome enquires from postgraduates looking to work on any area of nineteenth-century literature and culture; sexuality studies; life writing; and modern poetry.
My current MPhil and PhD students are working on areas as varied as:
- H. Rider Haggard and life writing;
- the drama of 'Michael Field' (Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper);
- Christina Rossetti and liminality;
- the politics of exiled English convents, c.1600-1800.