Caroline Sumpter


  • Room 0G.004 - 1 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of - Victorian Literature, Culture and Politics (including the 1890s) - Literature and Science - Literature and Ethics - Periodical Culture - Nineteenth-Century Constructions of Childhood - Nineteenth-Century Fantasy, including Science Fiction and Fairy Tale


Research output per year

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Personal profile


My research specialisms include Victorian literature and science (particularly evolutionary science, anthropology and mental science), the nineteenth-century press and the history of reading (including children's reading) and nineteenth-century fairy tale and science fiction. My first monograph, The Victorian Press and the Fairy Tale (2008, paperback 2012) won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award (2011) and was shortlisted for the Esse First Book Award (2011) and the Katherine Briggs Award (2010). I am the author of a wide range of articles on Victorian literature, culture and politics (most recently, on Oscar Wilde, William Morris, Thomas Hardy and Richard Jefferies). A second monograph, Moral Fictions: Literature, Evolution and Ethics at the Fin de Siècle, which explores links between fiction and debates over the evolution of morality in the late nineteenth century, is in the final stages of completion. New research focuses on scientific, cultural and literary constructions of genius in the Victorian period, including relationships between childhood and creativity. 


I am the convenor of the level 3 course 'Literature and Science in the Nineteenth-Century: Evolution, Degeneration and the Mind', and convenor of the new stage 2 course 'Utopia/Dystopia: The Future in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature'.  At stage 1, I teach and lecture on 'Adventures in the History of Ideas' and lecture on ENG1001 ('English in Transition'). I also supervise undergraduate and MA dissertations. At MA level, I am the convenor of the MA course 'Popular Fiction at the Fin de Siecle', and have previously taught on the MA course 'The Child in Literary History, 1600-1900'. I currently supervise PhD students on literary projects across the Victorian period, and have seen students through to completion in a range of interdisciplinary areas including literature and science, periodical culture, and the history of reading (including children's reading). 


Maternity leaves Sept 2011-April 2012 and Sept 2013 -June 2014.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Caroline Sumpter is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.


R1886ENG: The Victorian Press and the Fairy Tale

Sumpter, C.


Project: Research

Research Output

Devulgarizing Dickens: Andrew Lang, Homer and the Rise of Psycho-Folklore

Sumpter, C., 21 Aug 2019, (Accepted) In : ELH . 87, 3

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Keir Hardie and the Right to Childhood

    Sumpter, C., 2019, Keir Hardie and the Twenty-First Century Socialist Revival . Bryan, P. (ed.). Edinburgh : Luath Press

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

    Hardy and Animals (Review)

    Sumpter, C., 01 Jul 2018, In : Hardy Society Journal . p. 122-5 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

    "No Artist has Ethical Sympathies": Oscar Wilde, Aesthetics, and Moral Evolution

    Sumpter, C., Sep 2016, In : Victorian Literature and Culture. 44, 3, p. 623-40 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 891 Downloads (Pure)

    Spellbound: The Fairy Tale and the Victorians by Molly Clark Hillard (Review)

    Sumpter, C., 01 Sep 2016, In : Victorian Studies. 58, 2, p. 376-378 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review


    Mythopoeic Scholarship Award, 2011

    Sumpter, Caroline (Recipient), 01 Jul 2011

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • The Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies 2011

    Sumpter, Caroline (Recipient), 08 Aug 2011

    Prize: National/international honour


    English Research Seminar

    Edel Lamb (Speaker), , Moyra Haslett (Speaker), & Caroline Sumpter (Speaker)

    29 Nov 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    Science and Faith at War in Victorian Belfast: Remembering John Tyndall's Belfast Address (1874) at the Ulster Hall

    Caroline Sumpter (Organiser)

    31 Dec 2014

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar

    Book History (Journal)

    Caroline Sumpter (Peer reviewer)

    15 Apr 2012

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    Irish Research Council (External organisation)

    Caroline Sumpter (Member)

    Apr 2012

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

    News from Nowhere and William Morris's Commonweal

    Caroline Sumpter (Speaker)

    19 Nov 2011

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


    Against the Grain: The Poetics of Non-Normative Masculinity in Decadent French Literature

    Author: Rickard, M., Jul 2020

    Supervisor: Moran, C. (Supervisor), Wilson, S. (Supervisor), Sumpter, C. (Supervisor) & Jeannerod, D. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    Olive Schreiner and the literary marketplace, 1883-1914

    Author: Gill, C., 2011

    Supervisor: Litvack, L. (Supervisor) & Sumpter, (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    ‘Daughters of Today’: Adolescent Girlhood and Literary Culture, c. 1880-1906

    Author: Rodgers, B., 2011

    Supervisor: Litvack, L. (Supervisor) & Sumpter, (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy