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- United Kingdom
- The University of Aberdeen
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- Scottish Romanticism, Victorians, Bodysnatching, History of Anatomy, Scottish Literature, diaspora
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- About Me
I am a Lecturer in Scottish Literature at the University of Aberdeen.
My research background is in nineteenth century literature and Scottish studies. I am interested in migration, national identity, print culture studies, medical history and death studies.
I was awarded a PhD in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh in 2016. My thesis focused on the ground-breaking nineteenth century periodical Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine and was generously supported by the Wolfson Foundation.
I have worked as a Research Assistant on the New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Otago, New Zealand, Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at University College Dublin, and Fulbright Scottish Studies Scholar at the University of South Carolina, USA.
- Recent Publications
‘A Place to Mourn?: Emotion, Genre and Child Death in the Lady Egidia Shipboard Diaries’, Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature, 133 (Summer 2018), 30-43.
Abstract: This article examines three shipboard diaries written on the Lady Egidia during its voyage from Greenock, Scotland to Otago, New Zealand in winter, 1860. All three diaries bear witness to the deaths of thirty children during the journey. This analysis explores what can be learned about nineteenth-century attitudes toward children’s deaths by considering the generic parameters of shipboard diaries. The article highlights the challenges and pitfalls of using such diaries to chart the emotional experiences of nineteenth-century emigrants by emphasizing the diary’s status as documents whose composition was framed by specific generic limits and audience expectations.
‘Hogg’s Murder of Ravens: Storytelling, Community and Posthumous Mutilation in the Short Fiction of James Hogg’, Studies in Hogg and his World, 23 (Summer 2013), 31-40.
Abstract: This article argues that in many of James Hogg’s short stories the author uses contemporary taboos surrounding the posthumous treatment of the human body to highlight the wilful disfiguration of human memory potentially present in the creation of folk narratives. It builds upon previous work in the field which has highlighted the power of traditional oral culture in Hogg’s work by drawing attention to the ‘vital malevolence of orality’ in the stories ‘Tibby Hyslop’s Dream’ and ‘The Brownie of the Black Hagg’s’.
‘A Death in the Cottage: Spiritual and Economic Improvement in Romantic-era Scottish Death Narratives’, Cultures of Improvement in Scottish Romanticism 1707-1840, Routledge, 2018, 213-232.
Abstract: This chapter looks at the relationship between economic and spiritual improvement in politically conservative Scottish writing of the early-nineteenth century, focusing particularly on death-bed scenes. It argues that literary death bed scenes of the period draw upon the conventions of contemporary religious publications, where the details of a death are used to indicate a protagonist’s spiritual state. The death-bed scene plays an important role in the early nineteenth-century Evangelical tract tradition, depicting a final moment of judgement, and acting as an exemplar to the reading public. Beyond religious publishing, authors also use these final moments to reflect on the relationship between morality and its economic context. These texts draw upon politically conservative tracts, like those of the English author Hannah More, to combine the religious with the economic. However, in doing so, they take part in a specifically Scottish debate about the position of rural life in a rapidly modernising Scotland. In Elizabeth Hamilton’s The Cottagers of Glenburnie (1808) the death of Mr. McClarty acts as a counter-note to the overarching idea that only improvement will be the salvation of the unreconstructed village of Glenburnie, as Mr. McClarty’s exemplary death is predicated on his status as a humble cottager. Notorious Blackwood’s contributor, John Wilson also uses a similar approach to the death-bed, depicting resignation to economic hardship as a condition of religious perfectibility in his short story ‘Moss-side’. In both texts the trials of life in unimproved rural Scotland function to improve the spiritual state of their protagonists, casting economic improvement as a possible challenge to traditional Scottish religious and social values.
‘Review: Harry Holland/Ed. Dougal McNeill. Robert Burns: Poet and Revolutionist.’ New Zealand Books.Review. Autumn (UK Spring) 2017.
‘Review:James Hogg/Ed. H.B. de Groot. Highland Journeys.’ Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture, 1780-1840.Review. Winter 2013.
Blog for SouthHem Project website. 2018. (http://southhem.org/2018/03/21/british-roots-in-australian-soil-forby-sutherland-death-and-the-nineteenth-century-nation/)
Blogger for Romantic Textualities Journal. 2013- 2016. (Samples can be viewed at http://www.romtext.org.uk/blog/)
Guest blog for Edinburgh Surgeon’s Hall Museum. 2015. (https://surgeonshallmuseum.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/the-charging-officer-and-the-sword-marked-skull-remembering-waterloo/)
No More Blue Mondays: Putting Postgraduate and Early Career Wellbeing on the Agenda. Blog for Critical Pedagogies Project Website. 2014. no_more_blue_mondays_putting_postgraduat.pdf
‘Something I’m not Working On- The Strange Case of the Justified Cannibal: Some Thoughts on Representations of Cannibalism in Nineteenth Century Shipwreck Narratives’. Blog for The Oyster’s Earrings. 2013. (https://theoystersearrings.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/something-im-not-working-on-1-sarah-sharp/)
- Media Coverage
- Country Focus
- Expertise by Geography
- Australia, British Isles, New Zealand, United Kingdom
- Expertise by Chronology
- Expertise by Topic
- Medicine, Migration & Immigration