Louise Lee

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Personal profile


My research is interdisciplinary, located at the intersection between literature, humour and culture in the long nineteenth century. I am completing a monograph, The Call to Levity: Laughter, Evolution and the Victorian Literary Imagination 1830-1910 (forthcoming Oxford University Press & the British Academy, 2022); and with Martin Priestman,  co-edited a special edition of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net, 'Evolution and Literature: The Two Darwins' (2016), including my essay, 'Charles Darwin's "Scientific Wit": Incongruity, Species Fixity & the Nonsense of Looking.'

I have recently edited a collection of essays, Victorian Comedy and Laughter: Conviviality, Jokes and Dissent (Palgrave, 2020), which includes my essay 'George Eliot's Jokes.' I have also published on Charles Kingsley, Emily Brontë and ME Braddon, and, with Mark Knight, edited Religion, Literature and the Imagination (Bloomsbury, 2010). At Roehampton, I teach a third-year course based on my research called Laughing Victorians. 

Inspired by new research into early slapstick film comediennes by Maggie Hennefeld and Kristen Anderson Wagner, I am currently developing out a new book project which considers literary form, authorship, and the representation of female physicality in the public sphere, entitled The Female Clown in the Long Nineteenth Century: From Wollstonecraft to Woolf. This is, itself, part of a larger project, 'London: City of Female Laughter' being undertaken with my colleague, Dr Jasmine Jagger.





BA, MA, PhD (Roehampton)

British Academy PDF (King's College London)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Courses Taught at Roehampton:

Origins of Genre: The Gothic (1st year)

Victorian Literature (2nd year)

Victorian Literature & Culture (3rd Year): Laughing Victorians & Victorian Thought Worlds

Dissertation & Professional Development (3rd Year)

PhD Supervision:

Mollie Clarke, AHRC TECHNE-funded PhD, 'Female Cross-Dressing, Genre and Popular Literary Forms from 1830 to 1900' (Autumn 2017-)   (Lead Supervisor with Dr Mary Shannon)

Dr Milena Kozic, King's College London PhD,  'Notes about Nothing: Seinfeld and the "Affect Machine"' (2010 - July 2013, passed, no corrections)   (Co-Supervisor with Professor Rosalind Gill)

Lauren Ryall-Stockton, Wellcome-funded PhD, 'Making Object: Affect & Surgically Anatomised Remains from the 19th Century to the 21st Century'   (Co-Supervisor with Dr Mike Brown)

Jay Sullivan, 'Touching the Past: Mummy Fiction, the Masculine Middlebrow & the Sensory Space of Late Victorian Museum Culture 1884-1919'  (Lead Supervisor with Dr Mary Shannon) (Autumn 2019  -)

Alastair Sherwood, AHRC TECHNE-funded PhD, 'Seeing the Funny Side: Slapstick, Visuality & Victorian Literary Form' (Lead Supervisor with Dr Tony Paraskeva)  (Autumn 2019 -)


Research projects

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, King's College London, Dept of English 2009-12 Out Loud: Fiction, Masculinities & The Science of Laughter (1860-1910), £236,844

AHRC Doctoral Funding, Roehampton University, Dept of English 2006-8 Charles Kingsley and the Politics of Authorship, £32,000

Research interests

Victorian comedy and laughter; Charles Darwin; George Eliot; Victorian science; nonsense fiction

Professional affiliations

British Society for Literature and Science

British Association of Victorian Studies