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 Fantasy, including Science Fiction and Fairy Tale

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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, 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, and on Victorian 'self-help' and its intellectual and cultural legacies. 


I am the convenor of the level 3 course ENG3097 ('Literature and Science in the Nineteenth-Century: Evolution, Degeneration and the Mind'), and teach and lecture on the Level 2 core course ENG2070 ('Literature and Society 1850-1930'). At stage 1, I teach and lecture on ENG1006 ('Sounds of the City: Belfast and Beyond') and lecture on ENG1001 ('English in Transition'). I also supervise undergraduate dissertations.At MA level, I teach on the English Literary Studies programme. I am the convenor of the MA course 'The Shock of the New: Popular Fiction 1880-1930', and also teach on the new course 'The Child in Literary History, 1600-1900'. I currently supervise PhD students on literary projects across the Victorian period, and am second supervisor on projects in geography on human/animal relations and Darwinian medicine in the nineteenth century.


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

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Projects 2007 2007

R1886ENG: The Victorian Press and the Fairy Tale

Sumpter, C.


Project: Research

Research Output 1999 2019

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

literary criticism
twentieth century

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

784 Downloads (Pure)

"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

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

Caroline Sumpter (Recipient), 01 Jul 2011

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

International Prize

The Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies 2011

Caroline Sumpter (Recipient), 08 Aug 2011

Prize: National/international honour


Activities 2003 2017

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

Literature Compass (Journal)

Caroline Sumpter (Peer reviewer)
15 Sep 2011

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


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