Dr Julian North

Senior Lecturer

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Dr Julian NorthBiography

My most recent book, The Domestication of Genius: Biography and the Romantic Poet (Oxford University Press, 2009), explores the biographical afterlives of the Romantic poets and the creation of literary biography as a popular form. It focuses on the first Lives of Byron, P. B. Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Felicia Hemans and Letitia Landon, published from the 1820s, by Thomas Moore, Mary Shelley, Thomas De Quincey and others, in the context of the development of biography as a genre from the 1780s to the 1840s.

Review: D. L. Patey writes in Choice that ‘in this superbly researched and written study, North…provides the first detailed study of Romantic literary biography, indeed almost the first of Romantic biography itself…. Packed equally with valuable insights and engaging gossip, North's book will find readers well beyond the literary students and faculty at whom it is primarily directed.' (June 2010) See Publications for further reviews.

I am also the author of De Quincey Reviewed (Camden House/Boydell and Brewer, 1997), a monograph on De Quincey’s critical reception from the 1820s to the 1990s, and the editor of vol. 11 and co-editor of vol. 20 of The Works of Thomas De Quincey, 21 vols, gen. ed. Grevel Lindop (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2000-2003) . Volume 11 includes Thomas De Quincey’s ‘Lake Reminiscences’, his auto/biographical essays on William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Southey and Coleridge. She has published articles on Victorian drug literature; Jane Austen adaptations; Romantic genius on screen; and the afterlives of Percy Shelley, amongst other subjects.

I am the co-organiser (with Dr. Felicity James) of Writing Lives Together a conference on Romantic and Victorian life writing, to take place on 18 September 2015 at the University of Leicester. She has also been involved in the organisation of  ‘Victorian Feeling: Touch, Bodies, Emotions’, The Ninth Annual Conference of the British Association for Victorian Studies, (September 2008), and ‘Victorian Studies: Pasts and Futures’, the 40th Anniversary Conference of the Victorian Studies Centre, Univesrity of Leicester (March 2007).

I have given public lectures on 'Drugs in Victorian Literature' ('High Society' Exhibition at the Wellcome Collection 2011); ‘Wordsworth in the Flesh: Portraiture, Biography and Romantic Genius’ at the National Portrait Gallery;and ‘Character and Caricature in Jane Austen Adaptations’ to the Jane Austen Society, at University College, London. She has been interviewed for BBC Radio 3 on De Quincey; and for videos on  Wordsworth and De Quincey at Dove Cottage (Open University); and Romantic and Victorian Poetry (Cromwell Productions).

I interviewed the Booker-Prize winning author, Alan Hollinghurst, at the Literary Leicester festival (November 2011).

I am currently working on 'Picturing the Author': a book exploring visual and verbal portraits of Victorian authors.


  • BA
  • MA
  • D.Phil (Oxford)

Administrative duties

  • Senior Tutor for Taught Postgraduate Degrees in English
  • Member of the organising committee for the 'Literary Leicester' Festival


My research bridges Romantic and Victorian literature, with special interests in:

  • life-writing (biography and autobiography);
  • Biography, the body and visual culture
  • the afterlives of the Romantic poets;
  • nineteenth-cenutry drug literature
  • the life and writings of Thomas De Quincey
  • Film adaptations and biopics (especially Jane Austen)
  • the literary culture of the 1830s


I teach on the MA in Victorian Studies and I lead an MA module on Victorian life-writing. I also lead a module on The Country House in Literature, on an MA run by the Centre for the Study of the Country House.

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate teaching


I supervise MA and PhD work in nineteenth-century literature. I would welcome the opportunity to supervise topics in the following areas:

  • Romantic and Victorian literature, especially biographical or autobiographical writing in the period c. 1790-1930
  • Biographical Projects
  • 19th-century literary and visual culture
  • 19th-century literary and visual portraiture
  • Drugs in Literature: especially 19th century
  • The literary culture of the 1830s
  • 19th-century domesticity
  • 19th-century authors e.g. Mary Shelley, Thomas De Quincey, Thomas Carlyle

Learn more and apply for research degrees in English


Conference papers include: ‘The Life/Works relationship in Literary Biopic’, at 3rd Annual Literature on Screen Conference, Amsterdam (2008); ‘Victorian Literary Biography and the Publication of Domestic Life’, at the Life and Works Conference, University of Keele  (June 2008); 'De Quincey's Autobiography and the Technologies of Resurrection' at Thomas De Quinvey, 1785-1859, University of Salford (2009);  'Romantic Genius on Screen: Jane Campion's 'Bright Star''. at The Writer on Film, University of York (2010); 'Charlotte Bronte and the Author Portrait', National Portrait Gallery, London (2013).

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