Dr Douglas Small

Lecturer in English Literature
Department of English, History & Creative Writing

[email protected]


I joined Edge Hill University in 2021, after holding a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship at the University of Glasgow.

I am a specialist in nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century literature and culture. My research is mainly concerned with the history of medicine and science in this period, with a particular focus on representations of drugs, their use, and abuse. My research and publications cover areas such as the depiction of Sherlock Holmes’s cocaine habit, the history of eugenics, fin-de-siècle understandings of medicine and magic, and the Victorian origins of sports doping. I am also interested in science fiction, detective fiction, and medical gothic from the nineteenth century to the present.

Research Interests

  • Literature and Drugs
  • Literature and Medicine
  • Science Fiction
  • Detective Literature
  • Narrative and Video Games


At undergraduate level I teach and lead modules on:

  • LIT1025: Form
  • LIT3054: Vampire Fictions
  • LIT3040: Victorians
  • LIT2050: Romanticism
  • LIT1024: Literary History
  • LIT2051: The Brontës

I invite MRes and PhD proposals from students working on Literature and Drugs, Victorian medicine, literature and science, posthumanism, detective fiction, and nineteenth-century gothic.



  • Cocaine, Culture and Literature, 1860-1919 [Forthcoming]


  • ‘Primitive Doctor and Eugenic Priest: Grant Allen, M. P. Shiel, and the Future of the Victorian Medical Man’, Journal of Literature and Science. 11.2 (Winter 2018): 40-61.
  • ‘Masters of Healing: Cocaine and the Ideal of the Victorian Medical Man’ Journal of Victorian Culture. 21.1 (Spring 2016): 3-20.
  • ‘Sherlock Holmes and Cocaine: A 7% Solution for Modern Professionalism’ English Literature in Transition. 58.3 (June 2015): 341-360.

Selected Conference Papers

  • ‘Cocaine Nations: Professional Sport, Performance Enhancing Drugs, and Victorian Trans-Atlantic Relationships’, BAVS, University of Dundee August 2019.
  • ‘Skin Deep: Addiction, Cocaine Bugs, and Arthur Machen’s “The White Powder”’, VPFA Annual Conference, Greenwich Naval College, July 2019.
  • Keynote Address: ‘Cocaine and the Victorian Origins of Addiction’, Royal College of Psychiatrists Addictions Faculty Annual Meeting, Dunkeld, March 2019.
  • Keynote Address, ‘Sherlock Holmes and ‘Sports Doping’: Cocaine, Profession, and Performance,’ Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century, Edge Hill University, September 2019.
  • ‘Blood Magic and Godly Substance: The Island of Dr Moreau and Victorian Anthropologies of Medicine’, Anxious Forms: Blood, Sweat and Tears, Aston University, July 2018.
  • ‘Cocaine, Technology, and Modernity, 1884–1914,’ Diseases of Modern Life: Medicine and Modernity in the Long Nineteenth Century Conference, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, September 2016.
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