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Chloe Wigston Smith



Chloe joined the department in 2016 as a specialist in eighteenth-century literature and culture and is a member of the department’s Eighteenth Century and Romantic Research School and York’s interdisciplinary Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. Her research interests include material culture studies, the history of the novel, and the global eighteenth century, and her multidisciplinary scholarship draws on her training in literary studies (University of Virginia) and the history of dress (Courtauld Institute of Art).

Chloe was previously Associate Professor of English at the University of Georgia, where she was the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Outstanding Assistant Professor in the Arts and Humanities.



Chloe's research sits at the intersection of literary history and material culture studies, with a particular emphasis on writing about and by women. Her 2013 monograph (paperback 2016) Women, Work, and Clothes in the Eighteenth-Century Novel (Cambridge University Press), was shortlisted for the Millia Davenport Publication Award by the Costume Society of America. It studies clothes, accessories, narrative textiles, as well as a host of other material objects. It also explores a broad range of authors, including Jane Barker, Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Charlotte Lennox, John Cleland, Frances Burney and Mary Robinson.

Chloe has published articles and essays on a variety of topics, including servant dress, travel literature, theatrical portraiture, trade cards, it-narratives and most recently, the representation of small things in poetry and culture, and small trade in Frances Burney’s fiction. Her 2009 article 'Dressing the British' on costume books, visual culture, and nationalism was awarded the Percy G. Adams Article Prize for the best essay in eighteenth-century studies by the Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Her research has received funding from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Yale Center for British Art, the Huntington Library, the American Association of University Women, the Folger Institute, the Lewis Walpole Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities in the US. In the UK, she has given invited talks at QMUL, Oxford, and Warwick. She recently joined the editorial board of Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature.


Chloe’s co-edited collection, with historian Dr Serena Dyer, Material Literacy in Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Nation of Makers, looks anew at the maker’s knowledge and haptic skills that women, men, and children shared in Georgian Britain. Her chapter examines the cultural and economic values of women’s handiwork in Hannah Robertson's Young Ladies School of Arts; Robertson spent several years living and teaching in York.

For 2018-19, Chloe received mid-career fellowships from the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art and the British Academy to support the research and writing of her second monograph, a study of women and material entanglements in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. A portion of the project, which discusses embroidered maps and The Female American  (1767), appeared in the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Chloe is at work on a co-edited collection, with Professor Beth Fowkes Tobin, on Small Things in the Eighteenth Century: The Political and Personal Value of the Miniature, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press. 


Chloe would welcome hearing from prospective students in eighteenth-century studies with interests in the history of the novel, gender studies, women’s writing, visual and material culture, the global eighteenth century and transatlantic print culture. She has supervised a range of MA and PhD projects on material culture, fashion culture, the domestic interior, and women’s writing in eighteenth-century print and visual culture. She currently serves as Graduate Chair for the department.

External activities


External Activity 

Chloe Wigston Smith has collaborated with museums and heritage sites, including the V & A MuseumFairfax House and Mansion House

In York, she created the educational programme The Story of Things in partnership with Fairfax House. It teaches children how to write modern day versions of 18th century object narratives, a type of novel that told tales about things. She has helped to develop educational resources and education packs for Mansion House and the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond. She has also led immersive learning experiences on 18th century salon culture at Richmond's Georgian Festival and York's Mansion House.

Chloe has written short pieces for The Conversation UK and contributed a piece on Frances Burney to the British Library's Discovering Literature: Restoration and 18th Century.

In 2019, she co-organized two conferences in collaboration with US partners: Small Things in the Eighteenth Century (funded by the British Academy) and Crusoe at 300: Adaptations, Afterlives & Futures


Contact details

Professor Chloe Wigston Smith
Department of English
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323924