Emma Butcher

Undergraduate Brochure

BA MA (Brunel) PhD (University of Hull)

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Att 1401

Research Interests

My research interests lie in Romantic and Victorian literature and culture, specifically: war, childhood, the Brontës, and sensation fiction. My current Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellowship focuses on war and the culture of childhood in the nineteenth century, reviving the marginalised voice of the child writer within the broader context of war and reconsidering children as important social agents within the military family.

I was awarded my PhD for The Brontës and the Military at the University of Hull. My PhD was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and supported by Chawton House Library, who awarded me a Visiting Research Fellowship in 2015. This project explored the youthful writings of Charlotte and Branwell Brontë in the context of post-Napoleonic Britain. The thesis argued that both siblings should be considered as useful social and historical commentators on war, noting how their playful fantasy worlds of Glass Town and Angria provide important insights into post-war states of feeling, and how the contemporary periodical press ignited the public imagination. The project incorporated discussions relating to: war trauma, colonial warfare, civil unrest, war widows, military celebrity, and the rise of the military memoir.


In 2017 I was named as one of the BBC/AHRC’s New Generation Thinkers. I am regularly involved with the media and have worked on programmes for BBC 2 and BBC Radio 3. I have also written for The Guardian, BBC History Magazine, PN Review, and History Today. I have also worked closely with museums, such as The National Army Museum and The Brontë Parsonage Museum, where I curated their 2015 exhibition, ‘The Brontës, War and Waterloo’.

I am co-investigator with Dr James Rogers (University of York) on the interdisciplinary project ‘Legacies of War Trauma’, funded by the Wellcome Trust. This project brings together expertise from a variety of backgrounds, including academics, policy makers, curators, charity coordinators, and war correspondents through a number of workshops and publications.

I act as Vice-Treasurer for the British Association for Victorian Studies, and am the UK Representative of the Juvenilia Press.

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome enquiries from MA students who plan to write on war, childhood, trauma, sensation fiction, life writing, and the Brontës.

Recent Publications

The Brontës and the Military. Palgrave (forthcoming 2018)

Butcher, Emma and Simon Armitage, ‘It’s time to bring Branwell, the dark Brontë into the light, The Guardian. 26 June 2017.

Butcher, Emma and James Rogers, ‘Child Soldiers: A History’, BBC History Magazine. 18 June 2017.

 ‘War Trauma and Alcoholism in the Early Writings of Charlotte and Branwell Brontë’ Journal of Victorian Culture (forthcoming 2017)

Butcher, Emma and Valerie Sanders, ‘Mortal Hostility: Masculinity and Fatherly Conflict in the Glass Town and Angrian Sagas’. Lucy Morrison and Judith Pike (eds), Charlotte Brontë from the Beginnings: New Essays from the Juvenilia to the Major Works. Routledge, 2017.

 ‘Napoleonic Periodicals and the Childhood Imagination: The Influence of War Commentary on the Charlotte and Branwell Brontë’s Glass Town and Angria’, Victorian Periodicals Review. Vol. 28 No. 4, Summer 2015.

Butcher, Emma (ed.), Brontë Studies, Special Issue: The Brontës and the Condition of England. Vol. 40, No. 4, Autumn 2015

Share this page:

Contact Us

University of Leicester,
University Road,
Leicester, LE1 7RH.

T: 0116 252 2620
E: SchoolofArts@leicester.ac.uk



DisabledGo logo

The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for the Attenborough Tower.