Dr Amber Pouliot
PhD, University of Leeds
Teaching Fellow in British Studies
I moved from the US to the UK in 2008 to study for an MA in Victorian literature at the University of Leeds, and stayed on to pursue my PhD. My doctoral thesis focused on the cultural significance of the Brontё family in the period between the First and Second World Wars, when they first appeared as fictional characters in plays, poetry, novels, and short stories. However the project was wider in scope than this implies, tracing the process of the family’s fictionalization from the earliest reviews of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey, in 1847, to the cusp of the Second World War. This work led to the organization, in 2010, of the ‘Re-imagining the Victorians’ conference at the University of Leeds. I was also recently invited to contribute an essay (on the Brontёs, graveyard poetry, and early protofictionalizations) to the edited collection Charlotte Brontё: Legacies and Afterlives, forthcoming from Manchester University Press. I am in the process of writing a monograph based on my doctoral research.
My decision to move to the UK for postgraduate study was partly practical. I wanted to write about the Brontёs; the University of Leeds has an outstanding collection of Brontёana, and it’s close to the Brontё Parsonage Museum and research library. However, it was also motivated by a desire to see the locations in which my favourite authors lived and worked, and which were said to have inspired their fiction and poetry. Years of reflection on this experience and research into the evolution of the ‘Brontё myth’ culminated in my latest research project, which I co-developed with colleagues from Keele University and the University of York. Together we co-organized Placing the Author: Literary Tourism in the Long Nineteenth Century, an interdisciplinary conference held in June of this year at the newly renovated Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. We have also developed a website that provides a forum for people to share their experiences of literary tourism, and we are in the process of developing educational resources, including an annotated bibliography of scholarly publications related to our theme.
In addition to organizing conferences, I have presented papers on a variety of subjects relating to the Brontёs’ literature, lives, and legacy, and on the intersections of literary tourism, the heritage industry, and fiction.
- Monograph proposal solicited by Palgrave Macmillan
- ‘Reading the Revenant in Charlotte Brontë’s Literary Afterlives: Charting the Path from the “Silent Country” to the Séance’, in Charlotte Brontë: Legacies and Afterlives, ed. by Amber Regis and Deborah Wynne (Forthcoming from Manchester University Press)
- ‘Re-imagining the Victorians: 1901 – 2010 (18 Sept. 2010)’, co-authored with Bethany Layne, Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies 3:1 (2010), pp 260-262