Dr Emily Vincent

Dr Emily Vincent

Department of English Literature
Research Fellow

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My research focuses on disease and the Gothic in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature. As a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, I survey British detective fiction, Gothic fiction, and periodicals to investigate narrative representations of influenza. My previous work has focused on maternal grief, spiritualism, and women’s ghost stories at the fin de siècle.

My current project — Criminalised, Gothicised, and Marginalised: Reading Influenza in the British Literary and Media Imagination — is part of the interdisciplinary and international Media and Epidemics project, funded by CHANSE: Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe and UKRI. This project seeks to understand the role of media and technologies of communication in the making and management of epidemic outbreaks


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), Advance HE
  • PhD in English Literature, University of Birmingham
  • Master of Studies (MSt) in English (1830–1914), University of Oxford
  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English Literature, University of Warwick


I completed my undergraduate degree at Warwick University as a keen Victorianist and refined my nineteenth-century interests during my MSt in English (1830 – 1914) at Oxford University. At Oxford, I developed specialist manuscript and palaeography skills in the Bodleian Libraries and the National Library of Scotland which cemented my passion for analysing marginalia and promoting the importance of archival research methods.

My PhD at Birmingham focused on maternal grief in women’s ghost stories and further refined my interests in fin-de-siècle literature, spiritualism, and the Gothic. I then conducted archival research on two spiritualists, Florence Marryat and Andrew Jackson Davis, at Yale University’s Beinecke Library. In 2023, I was a Lecturer in English Literature for a transfer college at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) where I taught an undergraduate syllabus I designed around Gothic ‘Shadowy Spaces’ for the first-year ‘Introduction to Literary Genres’ module. I look forward to returning to Birmingham to conduct research on representations of influenza in the British literary imagination.



  • ‘Introduction to Literary Genres’ (2023), Lecturer in English First Year Undergraduate, Corpus Christi College at the University of British Columbia, Canada. 


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy FHEA (2023), Advance HE.
  • ‘(36227) LI Decadents and Moderns’ (2021/22), Teaching Associate Second Year Undergraduate, EDACS, University of Birmingham.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (2020/21), Teaching Associate Undergraduate and Postgraduate, University of Birmingham.
  • Horizon Award (2020), Higher Education Futures Institute, University of Birmingham:
    • Introduction to learning and teaching in Higher Education
    • Small group teaching
    • Giving a lecture
    • Cultural differences in the classroom
    • Assessment and feedback.
  • ‘The Birmingham Project’ (2020), Teaching Assistant Undergraduate, University of Birmingham.


My research focuses on disease and the Gothic in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature. I currently research disease narratives (influenza) and the history of medicine and have conducted research on spiritualism, the Gothic, and maternity.

I am currently undertaking a 21-one-month independent research project entitled Criminalised, Gothicised, and Marginalised: Reading Influenza in the British Literary and Media Imagination at the University of Birmingham. Criminalised, Gothicised, and Marginalised focuses on representations of the so-called ‘Russian Flu’ of 1889-90 and the ‘Spanish Flu’ of 1918 in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century British fictional and periodical sources. The project utilises my existing skills in combining literary and historical methods to examine key archival and literary sources shaped around three key research strands — criminality, Gothic contagion, and marginalised communities — to investigate the representation of influenza in Britain in literary and media spheres. Key outputs will include journal and book publications, conference presentations, and public outreach activities. This project is part of the interdisciplinary, international Media and Epidemics project (funded by CHANSE: Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe and UKRI), which seeks to understand the role of media and technologies of communication in the making and management of epidemic outbreaks. I work alongside the project’s UK Team Principal Investigator, Dr Melissa Dickson, to investigate British literary and cultural responses to influenza pandemics of the past as counterparts to the Covid-19 pandemic.

My first monograph manuscript, provisionally entitled Maternal Grief and Spiritualism in Late Nineteenth-Century Literature, centralises child loss and maternal bereavement, arguing for the ghost story as an indispensable form through which to communicate grieved maternal experiences and traumas of the female body. This builds upon my doctoral research at Birmingham which examined the importance of spiritualism 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 gendered expectations of maternal mourning.

My forthcoming publications reinforce my fin-de-siècle research interests, including a journal article ‘Hauntings in the Nursery: Reviving the Nursemaid Through Fin-de-Siècle Gothic’ in CUSP: Late 19th-/Early 20th-Century Cultures (Issue 2.1), a chapter ‘Reporting from the Spirit World: Ghostly Journalism at the Fin de Siècle’ in the Palgrave Handbook to the Ghost Story, and a chapter on spiritualism and love as part of the Where Love Happens: The Changing Social Practices of Love in the Long Nineteenth Century collection for Peter Lang’s ‘Cultural Interactions: Studies in the Relationship between the Arts’, due in 2024.

I am an Honorary Fellow and Deputy Associate Director of Research for the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies International (CN-CSI), based at Durham University and partnered with over thirty international organisations, in which I organise and chair interdisciplinary research activities and events. I also co-founded Gothica, Birmingham’s interdisciplinary reading group interested in the ever-present role of the Gothic in popular fiction and culture. Please contact uobgothica@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list and follow our Twitter @Gothica_UOB for more information.


Recent publications


Vincent, E 2024, 'Hauntings in the Nursery: Reviving the Nursemaid Through Fin-de-Siècle Gothic', CUSP: Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Cultures, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 51-79. https://doi.org/10.1353/cusp.2024.a920145

Vincent, E 2022, 'Margaret Oliphant: Writing Maternal Grief and the Unseen' BAVS Annual Newsletter, vol. 23, no. 3. <https://bavs.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/BAVSNewsletter_Spring2022.pdf>

Vincent, E 2022, 'Out of the Archives: Charlotte Perkins Gilman' The International Centre for Victorian Women Writers Newsletter , no. 15, pp. 3-5. <https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/school-of-humanities/docs/ICVWW-Newsletter-January-2022.pdf>

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Vincent, E 2024, Reporting from the Spirit World: Ghostly Journalism at the Fin de Siècle. in New Directions in the Ghost Story. vol. 2, Palgrave Macmillan.

Conference article

Vincent, E 2023, 'Environmentalism in the Nineteenth Century: Interdisciplinary Workshop, Hosted Online by the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies International, 26 April 2023', Journal of Historical Geography.

Digital or Visual Products

Robinson, AZ & Vincent, E, 'The Giant Wistaria' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: with Dr Emily Vincent: The Ghost Story Book Club Podcast, 2023, Digital or Visual Products. <https://ghoststorybookclub.libsyn.com/the-giant-wistaria-by-charlotte-perkins-gilman-with-dr-emily-vincent>


Vincent, E 2020, 'Interview for 'I thought it was normal to see people who weren't there' article' The Independent Premium.

Other contribution

Vincent, E 2024, Seeking Spirit-World Solace: Spectral Children and Advice from the Beyond. AHRC Haunting Issues Network. <https://sway.cloud.microsoft/GDltIdiqxke4eZ2c>

Vincent, E 2023, J. A. Hawgood Travel Award 2022 Report. University of Birmingham. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/2023/j.-a.-hawgood-travel-award-2022>

Vincent, E 2023, Mocking the Medium and Scoffing at Spirits: Reading Humour in Spiritualism Literature. Grave Matters. <https://gravemattersgroup.co.uk/2023/01/11/mocking-the-medium-and-scoffing-at-spirits-reading-humour-in-spiritualism-literature/>

Vincent, E 2022, Associate Fellowship: Applying and Reflecting During Challenging Times. Advance HE. <https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/news-and-views/associate-fellowship-applying-and-reflecting-during-challenging-times>

Vincent, E 2021, Ghost-Hunting in the Lab: Reanimating the Laboratory of Psychical Research. The Media of Mediumship. <https://bit.ly/3pC2JlI>

Vincent, E 2020, Ghostly Messages from Beyond the Titanic: W. T. Stead, Spiritualism, and The Blue Island. The Victorianist. <https://victorianist.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/ghostly-messages-from-beyond-the-titanic-w-t-stead-spiritualism-and-the-blue-island/>

View all publications in research portal


I enjoy disseminating my research by engaging a diverse range of academic and public audiences through written and digital media, including newspaper interviews, blog posts, museum lectures, and podcast interviews.

I particularly welcome any public lecture or media enquiries regarding my interests in nineteenth-century spiritualism, ghost stories, and the maternal, as well as my current research project at the University of Birmingham which investigates imaginative representations of influenza and disease in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature as part of the Media and Epidemics project.

Media experience

Public Lectures:

  • Museum lecture. ‘Spirits and Séances on the North Shore and Beyond’, invited speaker for ‘Science and Séance Nerd Nite’, Museum and Archives of North Vancouver, Canada (Oct. 2023).

Digital Media: