Charles Gough

Charles Gough

Department of English Literature
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Queering the Soul: Sexuality and Self-Construction in Victorian Poetry
Supervisors: Professor John Holmes, Professor Rebecca Mitchell and Dr Ross Forman (University of Warwick)
PhD English Literature


  • BA English Literature (University of Birmingham)
  • MSt English (1830-1914) (Oxon)


I graduated with a first-class degree in English Literature cum laude from the University of Birmingham in 2019. On completion I received the Tess Winnall Memorial Prize, awarded to the final year student who achieves the highest marks in English Literature and who is also recognised as an impressive ambassador for their department and discipline, through their contributions to department societies and activities. During my time as an undergraduate, I served as Student Mentor and Student Experience Ambassador in the College of Arts and Law. In 2021 I graduated from the University of Oxford with Distinction in my Master's (MSt English, 1830-1914). I was awarded a Graduate Prize for outstanding achievement by Trinity College. At Oxford, I was a committee member for the Oxford English Graduate Conference 2021.

I returned to the University of Birmingham in October 2021 to begin my studies as an AHRC Midlands4Cities-funded doctoral researcher, under the co-supervision of Professor John Holmes (University of Birmingham), Professor Rebecca Mitchell (University of Birmingham), and Dr Ross Forman (University of Warwick).


  • College of Arts and Law Academic Writing Advisory Service (Nov 2021 - Present)


The principal focus of my doctoral research is the emergence of the ‘queer soul’ in nineteenth-century poetry. Investigating the ways in which multiple poets imagined varying iterations of the soul to explore queer self-construction and relationships, my project seeks to uncover the significance of the soul as a mode of examining and articulating the intricacies of sexual selfhood in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Alongside works of literature in verse, my project also considers works of art, sexology, and life writing, in an interdisciplinary approach that traverses the boundaries between literature, visual art, and the history of sexuality.

More broadly, my research interests include:  

  • Poetry
  • Queer studies
  • Decadence and Aestheticism
  • Visual art
  • Life Writing/Confessional Writing

Other activities


  • Assistant for the BAVS 2022 Conference (March - Sept 2022).
  • Committee Member for the Oxford English Graduate Conference 2021 (January - June 2021)


  • Member of the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS)

@charliejgough (