Dr Laura Eastlake

Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Department of English, History & Creative Writing


I joined Edge Hill in January 2017, having taught previously at the University of Stirling and the University of Glasgow. I hold an MA in Classics, an MLitt in Victorian Literature, and a PhD in Victorian literature and classical receptions.

My research focuses primarily on constructions of masculinity and I am particularly interested in how Victorian writers respond to and redeploy texts and images from the ancient Greek and Roman worlds to construct gender ideals. My book, Ancient Rome and Victorian Masculinity was published by Oxford University Press in 2019 and examined uses of ancient Rome for articulating a range of complex and often competing ‘styles’ of masculinity from across the long nineteenth century. I have further interests in literature and culture of the fin de siecle, and in fin de siecle Gothic and empire writing.

In 2019 I am beginning a new project on ‘Victorian Sugar’, which will examine the cultural connotations and literary representation of sugar as both consumer product and cultural metaphor in a century which saw sugar consumption increase by up to six times.

I am a founding member of EHU Nineteen research group and serve as Public Engagement Officer for the Classical Reception Studies Network. I am Peer Reviews Editor for the Wilkie Collins Journal.


I lead modules on:

  • LIT1020: Ways of Reading
  • LIT1025: Form
  • LIT2056: Vampire Fictions
  • LIT3033: Late-Victorian Gothic
  • LIT3040: Victorians
  • LIT3049: Special Author 2 – Rudyard Kipling
  • HUM4049: Gothic Spaces.

PhD / MRes Supervision:

  • ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Print Them: Monsters in Victorian Newspapers’ (Michael Horton, PhD)
  • ‘Beyond the Reproductive: Refiguring the Female Body in Victorian Popular Fiction’ (Cara Wadsworth, MRes)
  • ‘Victorian Receptions of the Goths’, Kathryn Matthews (MRes)

I invite MRes and PhD proposals from students working on masculinity and gender studies, and fin-de-siecle topics including decadence, empire writing, and late-Victorian Gothic.



Ancient Rome and Victorian Masculinity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018)


‘Forgotten Legacies of Ancient Rome in Wilkie Collins’s Antonina’, Classical Receptions Journal, 8.2 (2016)

‘Metropolitan Manliness: Ancient Rome, Victorian London and the Rhetoric of the New, 1880-1914’, English Literature in Transition, 59.4 (2016), pp.473-492

Journal Special Issues

‘Materiality in Wilkie Collins and his Contemporaries’, Wilkie Collins Journal (Forthcoming 2019) Co-edited with Dr Kym Brindle


Review of Laura Monros-Gaspar, Victorian Classical Burlesques: A Critical Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2015), Classics Ireland (2018)

Review of Holly Furneaux, Military Men of Feeling: Masculinity, Emotion and Tactility in the Crimean War (Oxford University Press, 2016), Wilkie Collins Journal (2018)

Review of Molly Youngkin’s British Women Writers and the Reception of Ancient Egypt, 1840-1910 (Palgrave, 2016), English Literature in Transition, 60.4 (2017)

Review of Bradley Deane’s Masculinity and the New Imperialism: Rewriting Manhood in British Popular Literature, 1870-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, 10:3 (Winter 2014)

Review of Jonathan Sachs’s Romantic Antiquity: Rome in the British Imagination 1789-1932 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)’, The Kelvingrove Review, 7 (March 2011)

Select Conference Papers

‘Antiquity and Modernity: The Toga Play on the Edwardian Stage’, Edwardian Culture Network: Spirit of Speed Conference, University of Lancaster, 9th September 2017.

‘Romans and Revenues: the Toga Play in the Late Nineteenth Century’, BAVS: Consuming the Victorians Conference, University of Cardiff, 31st August – 2nd September 2016.

‘New Neronians: The Deviant Emperor and Decadent Masculinity at the Fin de Siècle’, Cosmopolitanism, Aestheticism and Decadence Conference, University of Oxford, 16th-17th June 2014.

‘Victorian Masculinity and the Problem of Cleopatra’, School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow, 30th November, 2013.

‘Burlesquing the Empire’, Windows of Empire Conference, University of Bristol, 15th-16th September, 2011.

Projects and Grants


The ‘Substance Use and Abuse’ project examines how the use and perception of chemical substances as therapies, quack remedies, or dangerous drugs changed during a century of rapid medical innovation. Project highlights include a launch conference (13th-14th September 2018), a creative competition, and a public exhibition on nineteenth-century science and medicine at the Atkinson, Southport. Full details: http://substance18.wordpress.com.


2018: ‘Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century’ Project:

  • Alcohol Research UK, Small Grant
  • Past and Present Society, Small Grant
  • BARS Event Funding
  • BAVS Event Funding
  • Research Investment Fund Award, Edge Hill University.

2016: ‘Wilkie Collins and Antiquity’, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship, Harry Ransom Centre, University of Austin, TX.

2016: ‘Anxious Forms: Masculinities in Crisis’, Collaborative Research Award, University of Glasgow.

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