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Helen Goodman – Bath Spa University

Personal statement

Dr Helen Goodman is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Department for Research and Enterprise based at the Corsham Court campus.

Having taught at Royal Holloway (University of London), New York University (London campus), and the University of Oxford, Helen arrived at Bath Spa in May 2018. She supports the research of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise (Professor John Strachan), and the three university-wide strategic research centres (Centre for Environmental Humanities, Centre for Transnational Creativity and Education, and Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries).

Her research lies in the field of nineteenth-century literature and culture, specialising in the interdisciplinary study of psychology, medicine, and gender.

In particular, Helen's main research interests include the following:

British nineteenth-century fiction; Victorian culture; mental health and wellbeing; masculinity studies; history of science, medicine, and psychiatry 1780-present; male insanity and lunatic asylums; criminal insanity; the body; the history of the emotions; cognitive literary studies; public health and institutions; health tourism; empire and adventure fiction; nineteenth-century radicalism and politics; intellectual history; women in science; history of education; disability studies; stress and nervous exhaustion.

She has published on subjects including imperialism and adventure fiction, monomania and domestic violence, lunatic asylums, and Victorian masculinities, examining fiction by writers such as Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and H. Rider Haggard.

Helen is currently writing a monograph, based on her interdisciplinary PhD thesis. It focuses on madness, masculinity, and emotion in Victorian literature and culture, examining a broad range of sources including fiction, letters, diaries, popular newspapers and magazines, specialist medical periodicals, and lunatic asylum records.

Her current project, Nervous Networks, explores European and transatlantic literary, cultural and medical representations of stress, nervous exhaustion, and the pursuit of wellbeing, c. 1840-1920.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, English - Royal Holloway, University of London (2015)
  • MA, English (Victorian Studies), Distinction - University of Exeter (2009)
  • BA, English, First Class - University of Exeter (2008)

Professional memberships

  • Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS)
  • British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS)
  • North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA)
  • British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS)
  • Victorian Popular Fiction Association (VPFA)
  • Commission on Science and Literature
  • Madness and Literature Network
  • Charles Lamb Society
  • Hardy Country

Other external roles

  • Membership Secretary - Charles Lamb Society
  • Hardy Country Partnership
  • Peer reviewer - Victorian Network
  • Book reviewer - British Society for Literature and Science

Areas of expertise

  • Nineteenth-century literature and culture
  • Victorian fiction
  • Medical humanities and history of medicine
  • History of psychology and psychiatry
  • History of emotions
  • Intellectual and political history
  • Gender and masculinity
  • Sensation fiction
  • Imperialism and adventure fiction


  • Advanced skills tutor in Arts and Humanities - Brilliant Club (educational charity)

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