Dr Alice Barnaby
Associate Professor
English Literature & Creative Writing
Telephone: (01792) 604441
Room: Office - 204
Second Floor
Keir Hardie Building
Singleton Campus

Alice Barnaby’s research and teaching expertise lies in the literature and material culture of the long nineteenth century. She studied for her BA and MA in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She then worked for a number of years in the Museums and Galleries sector before undertaking a PhD in the Department of English Literature at the University of Exeter. Her work investigates the relationship between perceptual experience and nineteenth-century modernity. She conducts historicised readings of literary and visual sources in light of current debates concerning theories of affect, ontology and material agency. This work rethinks established methodologies of cultural materialism. Her book Light Touches: Cultural Practices of Illumination, London 1800-1900 is forthcoming with Routledge in 2016.

Alice is Head of Department, English Literature and Creative Writing.


  1. Light Touches: Cultural Practices of Illumination 1800-1900. Routledge.
  2. Dresses and Drapery: Female Self-fashioning in Muslin, 1800-1850. In Patricia Zakreski; Kyriaki Hadjaifxendi (Ed.), Crafting the Woman Professional in the Long Nineteenth Century. (pp. 89-104). Farnham: Ashgate.
  3. Surface Recognition: Light and Reflection in mid nineteenth-century Drawing Rooms. In Glenn Adamson; Victorian Kelley (Ed.), Surface Tensions: Surface, Finish and the Meaning of Objects. (pp. 166-180). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  4. Lighting Practices in Art Galleries and Exhibition Spaces, 1750-1850. In Michelle Henning (Ed.), Museum Media: The International Handbook of Museum Studies. (pp. 191-213). Hoboken: Wiley.
  5. Sensing Light: The Bio-Cultural Practices if Illuminated Aesthetics in Nineteenth-century Britain. In Mauricio Sanchez Sanchero (Ed.), Sciences and the Humanities. (pp. 129-152). Mexico University.

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  • EN-100 Monsters, Theories, Transformations

    Literary works open up different meanings depending on the questions we ask them and the assumptions we bring to them. Literary meaning is in continual transformation. This module examines some of the ways in which this occurs through critical reading and intertextual revision. The first half of the module looks at two works, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Bram Stoker's Dracula, that have been plurally interpreted by critics; the second half of the module considers the transformation of narrative and ideology in the 'intertextual' revision of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre by Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea. The course looks at how meaning in literature is transformed and how it transforms the ways in which we see the world.

  • EN-240 Revolution and Romanticism

    In this module students will study some major texts of British Romantic poetry and prose in the historical context of contemporary debates on revolutionising society. We will trace a dialectic between Romantic individualism and social concern in poetry, revolutionary `propaganda¿, gothic fiction and the romantic novel. Through detailed critical analysis we will focus on the various ways in which writers sought to unmask bourgeois hypocrisy and political corruption; to portray lower-class life and sexuality honestly; or to invoke tradition and question change. The philosophical implications of such terms as `Romanticism¿, `Sensibility¿, and `Subjectivity¿ will be explored, and the ideology of different literary styles, contrasted. Though we will be reading a varied selection of texts, a continuing concern will be on the ways in which social changes are embodied in literary consciousness, and on the relationship between experience and perception.

  • EN-3031 Dissertation - English Literature

    The Dissertation is an optional, two-semester, 40-credit module designed to develop high-level academic skills and intellectual independence in the students. A first-semester skills-building programme will include: research skills, summary skills, bibliographic skills, ability to synthesise succinctly, planning and organisational skills, correct presentation of a thesis and bibliography, presentational skills and public speaking. Students conduct research on a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of the English literature staff. The topic will be devised to fall within staff research and teaching specialisms, broadly defined. Students attend group sessions on research skills in Semesters 1 and 2, and have individual meetings with supervisors in Semester 2.

  • EN-3046 Stuff: Victorian Literature and Material Culture

    Victorian modernity was defined by production and consumption. Objects were made, sold, bought, stolen, given, lost and found on an unprecedented scale. The Victorian period and its literature were stuffed full of things. For some, this proliferation of stuff signified progress, wealth and civilization. Others were less confident, or even critical, about this new materiality. Focusing on the years immediately after the Great Exhibition, this module examines how objects were represented in literature and how literature itself became an object of consumption. This module takes one literary text ¿ Charles Dickens¿ novel Our Mutual Friend (1865)¿ and studies it from a range of thematic and theoretical perspectives. The novel will be read alongside philosophical and theoretical writing that investigates the fluctuating and unsettled relationship between materiality and subjectivity. The module takes an object-centred approach which shifts emphasis away from the subject as unique generator of literary meaning. In so doing it engages with the recent `material¿ turn in Victorian studies.

  • EN-M31 Dissertation

    Individual project devised and defined in discussion between supervisor and student.

  • EN-M41 Research Practice in English / Contemporary Writing / Welsh Writing in English

    Supervised project on research methodology in practice. Students build a detailed bibliographical plan for their MA dissertation project.


  • Adaptive Transformations: Victorian Novels from Text to Stage (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Kirsti Bohata
  • Daphne du Maurier: Gendering the Gothic (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Marie-Luise Kohlke

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2011 2015 Senior Lecturer University of Bedfordshire

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Head of Department - English Literature and Creative Writing.

    2016 - Present