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Miss Katie Victoria Holdway BA, MA

PhD Researcher in Nineteenth-Century Literature

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Katie Holdway is a PhD Researcher in the Department of English at the University of Southampton.

Beginning my studies in 2014, I completed both my BA (2017) and my MA (2018) at the University of Southampton. After being awarded a Postgraduate Scholarship by the Wolfson Foundation, I commenced my doctoral studies in the English Department in October 2018. My project examines the ways in which Charles Dickens’s first serial—the Pickwick Papers—was appropriated by the newspaper press, through the politically strategic use of evocations, extracts and adaptations. Mapping these appropriations from Pickwick’s initial publication in 1836 to Dickens’s death in 1870, the project attends particularly to the significance of the serial’s deployment in the service of the debates about Reform politics that proliferated in the press at key moments during Dickens’s lifetime. The project urges thinking about fictional texts like Pickwick as being at the very heart of the composite, political, identity-shaping strategies employed by newspapers in the nineteenth century, as well as building a replicable, data-driven methodology capable of facilitating further research into the relationship between newspaper appropriation, politics and other literary texts.


B.A. English with French (First with Honours), University of Southampton, 2017

M.A. Nineteenth-Century Literature (Distinction), University of Southampton, 2018


Research interests

Specialising in the literature of the long-nineteenth century, my research examines the relationship between literature, politics, and periodical culture, with a particular emphasis on the strategic appropriation of literature by the newspaper press, and the political stakes of this phenomenon. My current project, funded by the Wolfson Foundation, is entitled ‘Pickwick in the Papers: Dickens and the Politics of Appropriation in the Newspaper Press, 1836-1870’.

Much of my research focusses on Charles Dickens and his contemporaries; however, I have also undertaken projects on George Gissing—specifically the spatial politics of his 1880s novels—and the radical poetry of the British Della Cruscan coterie. My article on the latter topic, entitled ‘Unstable Audiences in Della Cruscan Poetic Conversation’, was published in Romanticism in November 2020.

Since 2020, I have convened the Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research’s Postgraduate Research Forum for which I run a programme of events throughout the year, including opportunities to network, discuss research and practise conference papers.

I am also co-founder of the open access journal of nineteenth-century studies, 'Romance, Revolution & Reform', for which I worked as both inaugural Deputy Editor (2018-20) and Editor-in-Chief (2020-21).

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During the 2021-22 academic year, I will be leading ‘Introduction to the Victorian Novel’, a survey course I designed for Southampton’s Lifelong Learning programme. The module encourages students to challenge their assumptions about what Victorian novels—and their rich communities of readers—were like, covering a range of texts from Dickens and Gaskell, to Eliot and Gissing. These core texts are studied alongside a variety of other Victorian print media, including periodicals, newspapers, cheap fiction, reader testimonies and illustrations. More information about the module can be found here.

At undergraduate level, I have taught on the third year (Level 6) modules 'Victorian Bestsellers' and 'Radical England: from Shakespeare to Milton', as well as designing and delivering skills lectures on the Level 6 ‘Dissertation’ module for English finalists.

I also have a demonstrable commitment to Widening Participation (WP), and have worked with the Access to Southampton (A2S) team since 2015, most recently through the design and delivery of seminar and skills content for the summer school, which is organised for Year 12 students from WP backgrounds. In 2020, I re-designed these materials for asynchronous, online use.

Miss Katie Victoria Holdway
Student Office, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton. SO17 1BF United Kingdom
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