Accessibility statement

Victoria Coulson



Victoria Coulson came to York from a Research Fellowship at Selwyn College, Cambridge.

Her interests lie in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American and British literature, in particular narrative representation, and in the material culture of the period. She is currently completing her book Women, Realism, and Henry James, which explores the relations between realist representation and feminine subjectivity in the lives and work of Henry and Alice James, Constance Fenimore Woolson, and Edith Wharton.

She is currently completing her first book, Women, Realism, and Henry James.



My work combines biography, literary criticism, and theoretical inquiry to map out a new understanding of the links between subjectivity and representation in a transitional period of Anglo-American art and society. My work aims to draw breadth and illumination from an interdisciplinary approach to cultural production; Women, Realism, and Henry James includes discussion of the lives and work of figures from feminist activism, the stage, interior design, and portraiture. My theoretical affiliations are correspondingly diverse, ranging from structuralist narratology through psychoanalysis to queer theory and feminism.


I am currently completing my first book, Women, Realism, and Henry James. The book focuses on the textually-mediated relationships between Henry James and three of his most important female friends - novelists Constance Fenimore Woolson and Edith Wharton, and Henry's sister Alice, career hysteric and author of a significant Diary - to argue that these writers drew together not only through their shared uneasiness towards dominant patterns of gender identity - and, on James's part, a long imaginative affiliation with women, but also in their affinity for a certain form of literary representation, which I term 'ambivalent realism'.

Future projects reflect my interest in the functioning of realism across different cultural forms, and include work on Sargent and the quintessentially realist art of portraiture; on the narrative dimension of Victorian historicist architecture; and on textile metaphors in late-realist/early-modernist literature.


I would welcome applications from graduate students interested in James, Wharton, or Woolson; in the study of nineteenth-century narrative; in interdisciplinary work on nineteenth- or early twentieth-century cultural production. I also have special interests in Nabokov, Cather, and Djuna Barnes.

Contact details

Dr Victoria Coulson
Department of English and Related Literature
University of York
Y010 5DD

Tel: 44 1904 323348