An Edge Hill academic has won the prestigious Gale Dissertation Research Fellowship in 19th Century Media.
PhD research student and Graduate Teaching Assistant Linda Friday’s research concerns late Victorian gothic novels, including well-known titles such as Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde and The Picture of Dorian Gray alongside less popular stories such as The Beetle and The Goddess: A Demon.
Linda Friday said: “I’m amazed and delighted to have been awarded this year’s fellowship and was faced with stiff competition. The prize includes funding to help complete my dissertation plus a year’s subscription to selected digital collections from publisher Gale including 19th Century UK Periodicals and 19th Century British Library Newspapers”
Linda’s dissertation will focus on ‘literary mapping’, comparing various novels all set in Victorian London with digital newspaper archive material about the area, to look for correlations between the content of the novels and news that the contemporary reader would have accessed at the time of their writing.
Linda continues: “We all hold perceptions about space and place, take for example Victorian Whitechapel. People will have a perception of that area and question how accurate a novel’s depiction of it is. Whitechapel had a certain reputation so why would Bram Stoker have the aristocratic Count Dracula buying a house there? My dissertation will examine this and consider what understanding the contemporary reader held about locations within the novel that may have been influenced by press reports and have been lost us the modern reader.”
The Gale Dissertation Research Fellowship is organised by RSVP with the help of publisher Gale, part of Cengage Learning, in support of dissertation research that makes substantial use of full-text digitized collections of 19th-century British magazines and newspapers. This year sees the sixth annual fellowship.
Linda said: “I discovered the benefits of using digital archives while completing my English MA at Edge Hill. This led me to apply for a PhD and the University further supported my studies by offering me a Graduate Teaching Assistant position. I have also been encouraged and funded to attend vital conferences where I have presented my work and met and learned from important literary figures and critics.”