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Helen McKenzie


Position: Postgraduate Researcher Email:
Area: English Literature

PhD Research

My research is concerned with how the dramatic rise of print culture in the nineteenth century shaped public perceptions of the author and their fiction. As the production of the written word became increasingly mechanised, newspapers, periodicals and fiction became mass-produced commodities. As a consequence, nineteenth-century perceptions of writing were characterised by a contentious relationship between art and profit: literature was an artistic process valued for its aesthetic achievements but, paradoxically, it was also a commodity produced for profit. My thesis seeks to examine how these tensions and conflicts are embodied in the complex figure of the Victorian author.

Supervisor: Anthony Mandal

Academic Background

I did both my BA and my MA  at Cardiff University achieving a distinction for my Masters.

Conferences, Symposia and Seminars

‘W. M. Thackeray artist and photographer’ presented at the conference, ‘W. M. Thackeray in Time: 1811-2011’, held in Leeds in October.
‘A Defence of the Pen: the figure of the author drawn by Household Words’, explores the representation of writing in Dickens’ journal Household Words. Presented at the international conference, ‘Dickens and the Mid- Victorian Press’, held at the University of Buckingham in March.


Starting in September 2011, I have been a Postgraduate Tutor in ENCAP teaching first year English Literature seminars and I am completing the Learning To Teach course run by ENCAP.


I have curated an exhibition in Special Collections and Archives in the Humanities Library entitled ‘The Victorian Author: artist or businessman’.