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.

I specialise in the literature and culture of the fin de siècle. 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. I have published works on decadent masculinity and the Victorian city, imperial manhood, and Wilkie Collins’s historical Roman novel Antonina. In 2016 I was awarded a Research Fellowship at the Harry Ransom Centre, Austin TX, to research the life and works of Victorian actor Wilson Barrett, whose spectacular theatre productions in the 1890s would go on to form the basis of Hollywood ‘swords and sandals’ epics.

I organize the ‘VICTORIANS at Edge Hill’ speaker series (@EHUVictorians) and serve as Public Engagement Officer for the Classical Reception Studies Network. I am Peer Reviews Editor for the Wilkie Collins Journal.


I lead undergraduate modules on:

  • LIT1025: Form (New for 2018/19)
  • LIT3033: Late-Victorian Gothic’
  • LIT3040: Victorians at Work (New for 2018/19)
  • LIT3041: Victorians at Play (New for 2018/19)
  • LIT3049: Special Author 2 – Rudyard Kipling (New for 2018/19)
  • LIT2056: ‘Vampire Fictions’

At postgraduate level I convene HUM4049: Gothic Spaces, and deliver research-led sessions on topics including the Victorian city, Sherlock Holmes, and gender theory.

I currently supervise MRes and PhD projects on the fin-de-siecle femme fatale, nineteenth-century motherhood, receptions of Rome and the Goths, and Victorian monsters and the periodical press.

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



Ancient Rome and Victorian Masculinity (Oxford University Press) [Forthcoming November 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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