VPFJ 4.1 Contributors



Michael Bath spent forty years teaching English Literature in the University of Strathclyde, where he co-authored a leading textbook on Reading Poetry (Pearson/Longman 1996, 2nd ed. enlarged 2007, 3rd ed. revised 2022). Retiring as Emeritus Professor of Renaissance Studies at Strathclyde and Senior Research Fellow in the University of Glasgow with research interests and numerous publications in literature and the visual arts, he is author of books on The Image of the Stag in Art; Speaking Pictures: English Emblem Books and Renaissance Culture; Decorative Painting in Scotland; The Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots; and Emblems in Scotland. He is President of the international Society for Emblem Studies.

Verity Burke is an interdisciplinary scholar based at Trinity College Dublin, working at the intersections of literary praxis, the environmental humanities, and museum studies. The Irish Research Council funds her current project, Still Lives: Organic and Digital Animals in the Natural History Museum, which examines the dialogue between analogue and digital technologies of animal visualisation in their museum context. Its major aim is to reveal the intersections between such technologies and the cultural construction of the animal body during the sixth extinction.

Mariaconcetta Costantini is Professor of English Literature at G. d’Annunzio University, Italy. Her research mainly focuses on Victorian literature and culture, with a special interest in sensation fiction and the Gothic. She is the author of six books, numerous articles and book chapters.  Her latest publication is the volume Mrs Henry Wood (2020). She co-edits VPFJ.

Lydia Craig, PhD, is Instructor of English at Lake Land College, an associate editor of the Charles Dickens Letters Project, and co-editor of online database Dickens Search (in-beta). She has published articles and chapters on Dickens and the Brontës relating to topics surrounding class, race, gender,  and digital research methodologies.

Melissa Dickson is a Senior Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Birmingham. She is the author of Cultural Encounters with the Arabian Nights in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2019), co-editor of Progress and Pathology: Medicine and Culture in the Nineteenth Century, and a co-author of Anxious Times: Medicine and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (2019).

Helena Esser completed her PhD on Urban Imaginaries of Victorian London in Steampunk Fiction at Birkbeck College in 2020. She has published on steampunk and neo-Victorianism, and is currently writing about Ouida for the Key Popular Women Writers series. She co-organises the VPFA reading group on “The Third Sex”.

Alex Kirstukas is a trustee of the North American Jules Verne Society and the editor of its magazine Extraordinary Voyages. Kirstukas translated and annotated Robur the Conqueror for Wesleyan University Press and contributed translations and critical material to the Verne anthology Worlds Known and Unknown.

Tara MacDonald is Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of Idaho. She is the author of The New Man, Masculinity, and Marriage in the Victorian Novel (2015), co-editor of Rediscovering Victorian Women Sensation Writers (2014), and has published fifteen articles and book chapters on 19th-century literature and culture. She is currently finishing a book entitled Wilful Bodies: Narrative, Affect, and Victorian Sensation.

Helen McKenzie is an Associate Lecturer for the Open University. Her PhD from Cardiff University is entitled Miniature Literary Marketplaces: Constructions of Authorship in Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Fiction.

Jennifer Phegley is the author of Educating the Proper Woman Reader: Victorian Family Literary Magazines and the Cultural Health of the Nation (2004) and Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England (2012). Her project, Magazine Mavericks: Mary Elizabeth Braddon, John Maxwell, and the Emergence of New Readings Audiences in Mid-Victorian England, has been supported by a Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship, a Research Society for Victorian Periodicals Curran Fellowship, and an NEH Summer Stipend.

Michelle Reynolds is a PhD student at the University of Exeter. Her thesis looks at women illustrators at the British fin de siècle and their relationship to the New Woman. More broadly, her research interests include art and literature of the long nineteenth century with a focus on women artists and writers, gender and sexuality, print and exhibition culture, photography, film, and fashion. She is currently a PGR Representative for the University of Exeter’s Centre for Victorian Studies and an editor for Romance, Revolution and Reform.

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