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 currently the Vice-Treasurer for the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS)

Here my latest talk for BBC Proms here, and my latest article for BBC History Magazine here.

Recent Publications


Butcher, Emma, The Brontës and War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

Butcher, Emma, Children in the Age of Modern War (Oxford University Press, 2022)

Journal Articles and book chapters

Butcher, Emma ‘A Visit to Haworth’ in Charlotte Brontë: The Lost Manuscripts. Brontë Parsonage (Haworth: Brontë Society Press, 2018)

Butcher, Emma, ‘War Trauma and Alcoholism in the Early Writings of Charlotte and Branwell Brontë’ (2017), Journal of Victorian Culture, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 465-481.

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

Butcher, Emma, ‘Napoleonic Periodicals and the Childhood Imagination: The Influence of War Commentary on the Charlotte and Branwell Brontë’s Glass Town and Angria’ (2015), Victorian Periodicals Review, vol. 48, no. 4, pp. 469-486


I have previously taught:

EN3020: Romantics to Victorians

EN3030: Victorians to Modern

EN1020: The Novel


I currently supervise BA and MA dissertations relating to the Brontës, the fin-de-siècle, and Victorian masculinities.

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