Professor Patricia Pulham

Professor of Victorian Literature
+44 (0)1483 686189
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Academic and research departments

School of Literature and Languages.



Patricia Pulham is Professor of Victorian Literature, Secretary of the British Association for Victorian Studies and editor of the EUP journal, Victoriographies. She completed her doctorate at Queen Mary, University of London in 2001, and taught at Brunel, Goldsmiths, Birkbeck and QMUL, where she was Lecturer in Poetry from 2002-03. In 2004, she was appointed to a lectureship in English literature at the University of Portsmouth. She joined the University of Surrey in 2017, having previously held a Readership and a series of research leadership roles at Portsmouth University. From 2012-15, she was Director of the university's Centre for Studies in Literature and, more recently, led major research projects in Victorian literary heritage and celebrity culture, collaborating with Dimbola Museum & Galleries, Isle of Wight, on the cultural heritage of Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, and with Hampshire Library Services on the region's cultural associations with Lewis Carroll and his writings. Patricia is a member of the AHRC's Peer-Review College, and sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies, Palgrave Communications, and Volupté.

She has supervised several PhD students to completion and is currently supervising theses on fashion in neo-Victorian writing; Vernon Lee's supernatural fiction; water, women and hydropathy in nineteenth-century fiction; and a TECHNE-funded PhD project on myth and allegory in the work of G.F. Watts with colleagues at Surrey, Royal Holloway and the Watts Gallery. Patricia has examined numerous PhD theses in the UK and abroad, most recently at the University of Málaga and the Australian National University. She welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students wishing to study in any of the following areas: decadence, aestheticism, Victorian literature and visual cultures, late-Victorian Gothic, spiritualism, or neo-Victorian fiction.

Patricia is currently completing a monograph on the sculptural body in Victorian literature which will be published by Edinburgh University Press.


Research interests

My publications


Arias Rosario, Pulham Patricia (2019) Introduction: Material Traces in Neo-Victorianism,Victoriographies 9 (3) pp. 213-221 Edinburgh University Press
Pulham Patricia (2019) Traces of Wilde: Fact and Fiction in Dorian: An Imitation and The Picture of John Gray,Victoriographies 9 (3) pp. 298-315 Edinburgh University Press
The life and art of Oscar Wilde are of enduring interest to contemporary readers and audiences who remain fascinated not only by his work, but also by his biography. The dramatic nature of the three trials that took place in 1895, and Wilde's spectacular fall from grace following imprisonment and exile, speak to our own period in which questions of gender and sexuality are topics of continuing tension and concern. This essay examines two examples of contemporary writing that are informed by Wilde's biography and oeuvre: Will Self's novel, Dorian: An Imitation (2002), and Craig Wilmann's drama, The Picture of John Gray (2014), and offers the first academic analysis of Wilmann's play. Exploring these works through the lens of neo-Victorianism, it considers the balance between history and fiction in each text. Drawing on Ricoeur's treatise The Reality of the Historical Past (1984), it proposes that Ricoeur's concept of the Analogue, which encompasses both the imaginative reconstruction of the past through the documentary trace and the adoption of the critical distance required to understand it, provides a new way in which neo-Victorian literature might be understood.
Pulham, Patricia E (2019) Victoriographies,9 (3) Edinburgh University Press Ltd

A Journal of Nineteenth-Century Writing, 1790?1914 seeks to invent afresh the long
nineteenth century.

Returning to the text as text, Victoriographies explores, as if for the first time, those canonical texts and authors
that seem familiar, and interrogates the understudied, those authors and publications which demand a response.
The journal is concerned with writing of the long nineteenth century and writing about the nineteenth century.
Victoriographies invites articles which address philosophical, epistemological and ideological concerns, as these
are embedded in the surface and texture of the text itself. The emphasis is on Victorian writing, about literary
texts, poetry, prose fiction and prose non-fiction in the period 1790?1914.

This thesis is about nineteenth-century dress and the ways in which it is reimagined and re-embodied in the present. It traces the imaginative extensions of Victorian women?s clothing in contemporary historical fiction, and foregrounds the sartorial as a fundamental tool for accessing and re-thinking the neo-Victorian genre?s relationship with the past. This thesis considers how representations of dress contribute to our contemporary understanding of and interest in the Victorian period and examines the extent to which dress retains its connection with the body (or bodies) that it once adorned. This thesis interrogates how material forms of dress manifest themselves through tropes of immateriality, of haunting and spectrality, and argues that fictional renderings of dress permit modern-day readers a way of accessing past bodies that are no longer extant. These engagements with the fictional fashions of the past allow for a process of re-materialising and re-embodying the otherwise-ghostly presence of the Victorian body in ways that, I suggest, highlight the genre?s nostalgic necrophilic impulse. It is my contention that a focus on dress and materiality in the neo-Victorian novel functions as a form of necrophilic impulse that is mediated through sensual engagements with fabric and items of dress that function as forms of synecdoche for the desired Victorian body.