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Dr Jessica Cox
Divisional Lead/Reader in English Literature

Gaskell Building 126


Jessica is a fellow of the Higher Education Academcy, and currently Programme Lead for English (undergraduate). She convenes a number of modules, including The Nineteenth-Century Novel (level 2), Victorian Literature and Culture (level 3) and the English Special Project (level 3). She also supervises final year undergraduate and MA dissertations.


Jessica's current research focuses on two key intersecting areas: Victorian popular culture, and nineteenth-century discourses around the (female) body. She is currently completing a monograh (for Palgrave Macmillan) on the afterlife of the Victorian sensation novel, and beginning a major project on cultural histories of breastfeeding.  

She has published widely on Victorian and neo-Victorian literature and culture.  Her most recent publication examines the afterlives of Jane Eyre's Bertha Mason (in Amber K. Regis and Deborah Wynne, eds., Charlotte Brontë’: Legacies and Afterlives, Manchester University Press, 2017).  She is editor of a collection of essays on Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Rodopi, 2012), as well as co-editor of a major anthology on Women and Belief (Routledge History of Feminism series, 2012), and of a special issue of Neo-Victorian Studies (2010).  She has contributed blogs to the Journal of Victorian Culture online, and the History of Pregnancy Network.

Select Publications:

Journal Articles:

‘Canonisation, Colonisation, and the Rise of Neo-Victorianism’. English: Journal of the English Association, Volume 66, Issue 253 (1 June 2017), pp.101–123.

‘“[T]he Ghost of Myself”: Women, Art and (Neo-) Sensational Representation in Joanne Harris’s Sleep, Pale Sister (1994)’, Contemporary Women’s Writing Vol. 7: 3 (2013), pp.346-360

‘“A strange postmodern moment”: Revisiting Pride and Prejudice in ITV’s Lost in Austen (2008)’, Critical Studies in Television, Vol. 8:1 (Spring 2013), pp.36-51

‘Gender, Conflict, Continuity: Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) and Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins (1893)’, Brontë Studies, Vol. 35, No. 1, March 2010, pp.30-39

‘“A Touch of In’nard Fever”: Illness and Moral Decline in Elster’s Folly (1866)’, Women’s Writing, special issue on Mrs Henry Wood (eds. Andrew Maunder and Emma Liggins), Vol. 15:2 (August 2008), pp.232-43

‘Gendered Visions: The Figure of the Prostitute in Wilkie Collins’, The New Magdalen (1873) and The Fallen Leaves (1879)’, Wilkie Collins’ Society Journal, New Series Vol. 8, 2005, pp.3-18

‘From Page to Screen: Transforming M. E. Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret’, Journal of Gender Studies, Vol. 14:1, March 2005, pp.23-31

‘Representations of Illegitimacy in Wilkie Collins’ Early Novels’, Philological Quarterly, Vol. 83 (Spring 2004), pp.147-69

Book Chapters:

‘“The Insane Creole”: The Afterlife of Bertha Mason’; in Amber K. Regis and Deborah Wynne (eds.). Charlotte Brontë’: Legacies and Afterlives; Manchester University Press, 2017, pp.222-49.

‘Gothic and Victorian Supernatural Tales’; invited contribution to Dominic Head (ed.). The Cambridge History of the English Short Story; Cambridge University Press, 2016.

“The bad dreams always come back again”: Narratives of Sexual Trauma in Contemporary Adaptations of Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White (1860), in Nadine Böhm and Susanne Gruss (eds.), Fashioning the Neo-Victorian: Iterations of the Nineteenth Century in Contemporary Literature and Culture (Routledge, 2014), pp.137-50.

‘Reading Faces: Physiognomy and the Depiction of the Heroine in the Fiction of Wilkie Collins’, in Andrew Mangham (ed.), Wilkie Collins: Interdisciplinary Essays, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007, pp.107-21


Neo-Victorianism and Sensation Fiction; in preparation; Palgrave Macmillan, 2018

Victorian Sensation Fiction: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism; in preparation; Palgrave Macmillan, 2018

Charlotte Brontë (Hesperus Brief Lives series). London: Hesperus Press, 2011

Edited Work:

Editor, New Perspectives on Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012

Co-editor, with Mark Llewellyn and Nadine Muller, Women and Belief, 1852-1928, 6 vols, Routledge ‘Major Works’ History of Feminism Series, 2012

Co-editor, with Alexia Bowler, Neo-Victorian Studies, special issue: Adapting the Nineteenth Century: Revisiting, Revising and Rewriting the Past, Vol. 2, No. 2, Winter 2009/2010

Editor and notes, Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley (London: Penguin Classics, 2006)