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About Prof Deborah Wynne

My current research projects emerge from an interest in textile cultures in Victorian and Edwardian Britain, particularly the ways in which novelists represented the role of cloth in social life.  I received an AHRC Fellowship in 2013-14 for my Literary Fabrics project, an examination of how writers represented textile manufacture, clothing, needlework and tapestry, as well as the retailing and trading of textiles. My research explores the work of Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, H.G. Wells and Arnold Bennett. A number of articles and book chapters have since been published related to this project: on rags and recycling in Dickens’s work; Charlotte Brontë’s representations of textile mills; Arnold Bennett and material culture; and on the life-writing of men involved in the drapery trade. I am currently developing the research into a book on the importance of cloth manufacturing in the work of Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell.

My research on Victorian material culture also informs my teaching, as I encourage students to explore the key roles played by objects in nineteenth-century literature and culture.


I specialise in nineteenth-century literature and women’s writing. I currently teach women’s writing and theory on the BA (Hons) English degree at University Centre Shrewsbury. Among the modules I have taught are:

  • Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing
  • Ways of Reading
  • Literature and Place
  • Literature and Film
  • Women’s Writing in the Long Twentieth Century 

Postgraduate supervision:

I currently supervise a number of PhD students and have supervised five to successful completion. I have also examined twelve PhD theses, six of them externally. My graduate students work in the fields of Victorian and twentieth-century literature and culture. I welcome enquiries about research projects on:

  • Nineteenth-century literature and culture
  • Nineteenth-century women writers
  • Charles Dickens
  • Charlotte Brontë
  • Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Arnold Bennett
  • Costume drama and screen adaptations of nineteenth-century literature


My AHRC-funded Literary Fabrics: Textile Languages and Costume Dramas 1837-1914 project has been the main focus of my research in recent years. However, I am also involved in other ventures. I have co-edited book of essays with Amber Regis on Charlotte Brontë’s cultural impact, Charlotte Brontë: Legacies and Afterlives (Manchester University Press, 2017). Forthcoming projects include books on Victorian manufacturing for the new Routledge series, Victorian Material Culture; on the Brontës and the arts for Edinburgh University Press; and a monograph based on Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell and the textile industries of the north. 

External Research Funding

2014-16: AHRC Grant (Co-Investigator/ mentor of ECR) project: Marie Duval Presents Ally Sloper: The Female Cartoonist and Popular Theatre in London, 1869-85. Dr Simon Grennan (PI) 2014-2016. [ref. AH/M000257/1: total grant £250,000]

2013-14: AHRC Leadership Fellow (Principal Investigator) project: Literary Fabrics: The Textile Languages of Novels and Costume Dramas [ref. AH/K00803X/1: total grant £59,057] 

2008-09: AHRC Research Leave Grant (Principal Investigator)Women and Personal Property in the Victorian Novel [ref. AH/G002940/1, total grant: £17, 647]

1997-98: Postdoctoral Leverhulme Trust Fellowship (£17,500), Project title: The Collaborations of Dickens and Collins, Keele University

Published Work


Charlotte Brontë: Legacies and Afterlives (co-edited with Amber K. Regis) (Manchester University Press, 2017)

A collection of essays exploring the legacy of Charlotte Brontë in terms of her influence on other writers, literary tourism, adaptations of her work, and her impact on cultures.

Women and Personal Property in the Victorian Novel (Ashgate, 2010).

A study of Victorian women and property, this book was supported by a generous AHRC research leave award for the academic year 2008-09. It focuses on the representations of women’s portable property in the work of Charles Dickens, Henry James and George Eliot. For a review of the book in the journal Victorian Studies see:

The Sensation Novel and the Victorian Family Magazine (Palgrave, 2001)

My first book, The Sensation Novel and the Victorian Family Magazine was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2001, a development from my PhD thesis, written at the University of Keele (1994-7). Although I have not published subsequently on sensation fiction and periodicals, I continue to think about the fluid boundaries between popular and canonical fiction in Victorian culture.

Journal articles and book chapters

  • ‘Charlotte Brontë and the Politics of Cloth: The “vile rumbling mills” of Yorkshire’, Brontë Studies 43: 1 (January 2018): 89-99
  • ‘Approaching Charlotte Brontë in the Twenty-First Century’, Literature Compass Special Issue: Charlotte Brontë at the Bicentennial, 14:12 (December 2017): 1-8
  • ‘The “Charlotte” Cult: Writing the Literary Pilgrimage, from Gaskell to Woolf’, in Charlotte Brontë: Legacies and Afterlives (eds) Amber K. Regis and Deborah Wynne (Manchester University Press, 2017)
  • ‘Reading Victorian Rags: Recycling, Redemption and Dickens’s Ragged Children’, Journal of Victorian Culture 20: 1 (2015): 34-49
  • DOI: 10.1080/13555502.2014.991747      Open Access:
  • ‘The “Despised Trade” in Textiles: H.G. Wells, William Paine, Charles Cavers and the Male Draper’s Life, 1870-1914’, Textile History 46:1 (May 2015): 99-113
  • DOI: 10.1179/0040496915Z.00000000059     Open Access:
  • ‘Arnold Bennett and Material Culture’ in A Companion to Arnold Bennett (ed.) John Shapcott (Leek: Churnet Valley Press, 2015): 193-207 [ISBN: 978-0-9928-8793-3]
  • ‘Charlotte Brontë’s Frocks and Shirley’s Queer Textiles’ in Literary Bric-a-Brac and the Victorians: From Commodities to Oddities (eds) Jonathon Shears and Jan Harrison (Ashgate, 2013): 147-163 [ISBN: 978-1-4094-3990-5]
  • Amber R. Regis and Deborah Wynne, ‘Miss Havisham’s Dress: Materialising Dickens in Film Adaptations of Great Expectations’, Special Issue: The Other Dickens: Neo-Victorian Appropriation and Adaptation, Neo-Victorian Studies, 5:2 (2012): 35-58    Open Access:
  • ‘Circulation and Stasis: Feminine Property in the Novels of Charles Dickens’, Dickens, Sexuality and Gender ed. Lillian Nayder (Ashgate, 2012): pp. 593-624 [ISBN 978-1-4094-3095-7] 
  • ‘Readers and Reading Practices’ in The Oxford History of the Novel in English: Vol. 3: The Nineteenth-Century Novel 1820-1880, ed. Jenny Bourne Taylor and John Kucich (Oxford University Press, 2011): pp. 22-36 [ISBN 978-0-19-956061-5]
  • ‘Critical Responses to Sensation’ in A Companion to Sensation Fiction ed. Pamela Gilbert (Blackwell, 2011): pp. 389-400 [ISBN: 978-1-4051-9558-4]
  • ‘The New Woman, Portable Property and The Spoils of Poynton’, The Henry James Review 31: 2 (May 2010): pp. 142-153
  • ‘The Victorians’ in Studying English Literature, (eds) Ashley Chantler and David Higgins (Continuum, 2010).
  • The Spoils of Poynton’ in Critical Companion to Henry James: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, (eds) Kendall Johnson and Eric Haralson (Clearmark Books, 2009) 
  • ‘The Materialisation of the “Austen World”: Film Adaptations of Jane Austen’s Novels’, (ed.) Brian Baker, Textual Revisions (Chester Academic Press, 2009) 
  • ‘Equivocal Objects: The Problems of Property in Daniel Deronda’, in nineteen: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, (Spring, 2008)
  • ‘Scenes of “Incredible Outrage”: Dickens, Ireland and A Tale of Two Cities’, Dickens Studies Annual vol. 37 (2006/7): pp. 51-64
  • ‘Hysteria Repeating Itself: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Lois the Witch’, Women’s Writing, 12:1 (2005): 85-97.
  • ‘Responses to the 1851 Great Exhibition in Household Words’, The Dickensian 455:97, Part 3 (Winter 2001/2): pp. 228-34
  • ‘See What A Big Wide Bed It Is!: Mrs Henry Wood and the Philistine Imagination’ (eds) Emma Liggins and Daniel Duffy Feminist Readings of Victorian Popular Texts: Divergent Femininities(Ashgate, 2001)
  • ‘“We Were Unhealthy and Unsafe”: Great Expectations and All The Year Round’s Anxiety Stories’, Journal of Victorian Culture (Spring, 2000):  45-59 

Public Engagement:

As part of my Literary Fabrics project I organise a number of public engagement events and activities. I am the director of the Textile Stories Project, designed to harness contemporary interest in textiles, crafts, fashion, and costume dramas in order to raise awareness of the continuing relevance and significance of nineteenth-century literary texts, along with the role of costume and textiles in screen adaptations.

The Textile Stories Project has a blog, recording activities associated with the project and containing contributions from people interested in textiles and the stories they tell:


BA, MPhil, PhD, SFHEA.