The Department of English is home to the College's longstanding Centre for Victorian Studies, one of the leading national and international Centres for Victorian Studies.
In 2009, Royal Holloway’s Centre for Victorian Studies was the venue for the first summit meeting bringing together all staff belonging to Victorian Studies Centres in the UK. This well-established Centre at Royal Holloway hosts dynamic lectures from UK and international scholars, and our symposia range from topics such as ‘Provincialism: Literature and the Cultural Politics of Middleness in Britain’ (2019) to ‘The Frozen Deep: Voices from the C19th Arctic’ (2020). The annual residential London Nineteenth-Century Postgraduate Conference is a popular, lively occasion for the meeting and exchange of ideas with postgraduate students and staff from the UK and abroad.
Our events take place in one of the most flamboyant and beautiful buildings of Victorian Britain, the Founder’s Building, which in turn houses one of the finest private collections of Victorian art. The Centre is a unique place for the meeting of academic scholars, artists, writers, students and the public, where we can enjoy a true immersion in a vibrant nineteenth century atmosphere. While the CVS works to celebrate the rich Victorian art and architecture of Royal Holloway, it is not simply a dramatic C19th backdrop to our activities: from 2019, we have collaborated richly on symposia and on jointly hosting speakers with the curators of our Art Collections. Historically the CVS has a strong scholarly base in C19th literature and art, but we have celebrated our transition into the Humanities school in 2019 by continuing and extending to wider disciplinary engagement and collaboration with our colleagues in History, Drama, Geography and the sciences.
The Centre provides a stimulating environment for a large, thriving and international postgraduate community, comprising doctoral research students and our students in the established and popular MA in Victorian Literature, Art and Culture, which is twinned with the Centre for Victorian Studies.
The Centre is currently under the direction of Dr Sophie Gilmartin.