Ross Conway

Ross Conway

Department of English Literature
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Bodies, Consumption and Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Western Literature 
Supervisors: Dr Eleanor Dobson and Dr Jimmy Packham  
PhD English Literature


  • BA English Literature (University of Birmingham) 


In 2018 I completed my undergraduate degree in English Literature at University of Birmingham. I completed my undergraduate dissertation on the depiction of cannibalism in fin de siècle genre fiction – examining H. Rider Haggard’s She (1886), H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine (1895), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) – locating the cultural significance of bodies, meat and blood in the closing decades of the nineteenth century.

In 2021, after completing my BA, I decided to stay at Birmingham to complete an MA by Research, which would focus on the reception of ancient Egyptian bodies in nineteenth century literature, a project that was inspired by my previous study of cannibalism, bodies and She. This project expanded to include a wider corpus of Western literature (from Britain, America, Italy and France) that depicted ancient Egyptian bodies. This expansion required a larger project so in 2022 I applied to upgrade my MA thesis to a doctoral thesis, which I am now working on.


My thesis, provisionally entitled Bodies, Consumption and Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Western Literature, investigates the composite parts of the ancient Egyptian body exhumed, consumed and dispersed by Western travellers by bringing non-fiction and fiction into conversation and examining the cultural impact that Egyptology had on the publishing industry. I am especially interested in the fiction writers Edgar Allan Poe, Theophile Gautier and Louisa May Alcott. I am similarly interested in the travel writings and public lectures of travellers including George Robbins Gliddon, Harriet Martineau, Giovanni Battista Belzoni, and Richard Robert Madden.

More broadly, I am interested Gothic fiction (especially body horror, American Gothic and eco-Gothic), depictions of the body and cannibalism in literature, and wider representations of ancient Egypt in nineteenth and twentieth century literature.

Other activities

Conferences and Talks

  • ‘Stepping foot in ancient Egypt: The fetishized Egyptian body in Theophile Gautier’s ‘Le Pied de momie’’ – Nineteenth Century Centre Study Day (March 2022)
  • ‘Hair, Heads and Keepsakes in Harriet Martineau’s Eastern Life: Present and Past (1848)’ – Victorian Popular Fiction Association (June 2022)
  • ‘“I’m Having an Old Friend for Dinner”: Cannibalism as Gateway into Studying the Gothic’ – Gothic Pedagogies (July 2022)

Awards and Funding

  • £300 awarded by the University of Birmingham to fund a conference trip to the University D’Annunzio, Italy

Societies and Memberships

  • I am a member of the British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS), Victorian Popular Fiction Association (VPFA) and the Egypt Exploration Society (EES)
  • I am a co-organiser of Gothica, the University of Birmingham Gothic reading group. The group meets once per month to trace the long history of the Gothic genre, from the nineteenth century to the present, and explore its spectral appearance in fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Please contact to be added to the mailing list and follow our Twitter @Gothica_UOB for more information. All staff, students, and subjects are welcome


  • I was a postgraduate supporter at the British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS) 2022 conference at Birmingham
  • I have tutored children and young adults in English Literature from GCSE to A-Level

Twitter: @RossConway12