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


  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)
  • MSt English (1830 – 1914) (University of Oxford)
  • BA Hons English Literature (University of Warwick)


I first discovered and began to refine my passion for all things Victorian during my undergraduate degree at Warwick University. 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 Bodleian Libraries and 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


  • EDACS Teaching Associate: (36227) LI Decadents and Moderns (2021/22)
  • AWAS Teaching Associate (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, maternity, 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

Conferences and Works in Progress

  • Gothic (28/07/21) and 19CC (21/04/21) ‘Works in Progress’ workshops (University of Birmingham).  
  • ‘Keys to the Ghostly: Domestic Servants, Nannies and Landladies in the Supernatural Fiction of Florence Marryat’ – (15/07/21) Victorian Popular Fictions Association Conference.
  • ‘The strangling grasp of the roots of the great wistaria’: Spiritualistic Spectres and Gothic Gardens in Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s ‘The Giant Wistaria (1891)’ – (26/02/21) UM Gothic Conference, University of Macau.
  • Florence Marryat’s The Dead Man’s Message and the visual “science of Spiritualism”’ Supernatural Visions panel - (05/03/20) British Women Writers Conference 2020, Texas Christian University (Texas, USA). Awarded BWWA Travel Award.
  • “Leading to Nothing”: Traversing Spiritual Boundaries in the Supernatural Fiction of Margaret Oliphant and Florence Marryat – (29/04/16) MSt Dissertation Conference, The University of Oxford.


  • Research Centre Assistant for the University of Birmingham’s Nineteenth Century Centre (19CC) 2019/20.
  • Co-founder of Gothica, the University of Birmingham’s reading group.
  • Finalist - 2019/20 University Graduate School ‘Images of Research’ competition.
  • Member of British Association of Victorian Studies, the Victorian Popular Fiction Association and the British Women Writers Association.