Emily Vincent

Emily Vincent

Department of English Literature
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

Phd title: Confronting child loss: spiritualism, ocular science and domestic architecture in women’s late nineteenth-century supernatural fiction
Supervisors: Dr Melissa Dickson (lead), Dr Eleanor Dobson and Dr Deborah Longworth
PhD English Literature


  • MSt English (1830 – 1914) (University of Oxford)
  • BA Hons English Literature (University of Warwick)


I first discovered my passion for all things Victorian at my undergraduate degree in English at Warwick University from 2012 to 2015. I graduated from Warwick as a keen Victorianist and started my MSt in English (1830 – 1914) at Oxford University in 2015. At Oxford, my thesis examined the supernatural writings of Margaret Oliphant and Florence Marryat and involved exciting archival research in the National Library of Scotland’s Margaret Oliphant collection.

Alongside my MSt thesis, I took specialist manuscript, palaeography and archival training which developed my skills in analysing marginalia, working with rare archives and interpreting nineteenth-century handwriting. I also took a useful ‘French for Humanities’ reading course which, with the archival training, I am keen to apply during my doctoral research


  • AWAS Teaching Associate (Feb 2021)
  • Horizon Award (Higher Education Futures Institute, April 2020). Awarded for completing below modules:
  1. Introduction to learning and teaching in Higher Education
  2. Small group teaching
  3. Giving a lecture
  4. Cultural differences in the classroom
  5. Assessment and feedback
  • Teaching Assistant (The Birmingham Project, 2020)


My research focuses on how child loss was represented and confronted in late nineteenth-century women’s writing. My thesis will examine the importance of spiritualism, ocular science and domestic architecture in the short fiction and autobiographical writings of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Florence Marryat and Margaret Oliphant. I am interested in how the supernatural was used to confront child death, how the child was written as a ghost, and how this challenged contemporary gender expectations of maternal mourning.

More broadly, I am interested in studies of the supernatural, spiritualism, the Gothic, EcoGothic, the science of vision and photography, and fin-de-siècle women’s writing, as well as theories of space, place and therapeutic writing.

I co-founded Gothica, Birmingham’s new, interdisciplinary, postgraduate-led reading group interested in the ever-present role of the Gothic in popular fiction and culture. 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 uobgothica@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list and follow our Twitter @Gothica_UOB for more information. All staff, students, and subjects are welcome.

Other activities

  • Presented 20-minute paper ‘“There was no going against her own eyes”: Florence Marryat’s The Dead Man’s Message and the Visual Science of Spiritualism’ with 30-minute panel at British Women Writers Association (BWWA) Annual Conference in Texas, USA (05/03/20). Awarded BWWA Travel Grant.
  • Research Centre Assistant for Birmingham University’s Nineteenth Century Centre (19CC) 2019/20.
  • Co-founder of Gothica, Birmingham University reading group.
  • Finalist - 2019/20 University Graduate School ‘Images of Research’ competition.
  • Member of British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS), the Victorian Popular Fiction Association and the British Women Writers Association.
  • Presented thesis at University of Oxford MSt Graduate Conference, 2016.