Dr Claire Wood

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Supervision | Media

Lecturer in Victorian Literature

Dr Claire Wood

Department: English

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2626

Email: claire.wood@leicester.ac.uk

Office: Room 1510, Attenborough Tower

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details


My research centres on Victorian fiction and death culture, with a particular focus upon the contradictions and complexities inherent in the Victorian ‘celebration of death’. My first book on this subject, Dickens and the Business of Death, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. This explored Dickens’s fascination with the many different ways that you could make money from a corpse in Victorian England, from anatomy to authorship. I am currently working on ‘Dead Funny’, a project that examines death comedy in the work of Dickens and a range of other nineteenth-century writers.

Before joining the University of Leicester, I was a research associate at the University of York and worked at the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. I am passionate about engagement and have led a number of public engagement initiatives, including the AHRC-funded Sensory Stories project that trained postgraduates to communicate complex research ideas using multi-sensory hooks.


  • BA Hons, English, University of York
  • MA in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture (Distinction), University of York
  • PHD English, University of York
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic and Professional Practice, University of Leicester
  • Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy



Dickens and the Business of Death

Articles and book chapters

  • Victoriographies 10.3 (2020) Special Issue: Dickens, Death, and Afterlives, eds. Emily Bell and Claire Wood. Including a co-written introduction and an article on 'Dickens and the Art of Epitaph'.
  • 'From Movable Book to iPad App: Playing A Christmas Carol', in Reading Dickens Differently, eds. Leon Litvack and Nathalie Vanfasse (Wiley Blackwell, 2019)
  • ‘Material Culture’, in The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens, eds. Robert L. Patten, John O. Jordan and Catherine Waters (OUP, 2018)
  • ‘Playful Spirits: Charles Dickens and the Ghost Story’, in The Routledge Handbook to the Ghost Story, eds. Scott Brewster and Luke Thurston (Routledge, 2017)
  • ‘Death’, in Oxford Bibliographies Online: Victorian Literature, ed. Juliet John (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Selected reviews

  • Jeremy Tambling, Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby, and the Dance of Death (2020)
  • Pamela K. Gilbert, Victorian Skin, in The Dickensian (2020)
  • ‘An Academic on Tour’, reviewing Homes and Haunts: Touring Writers’ Shrines and Countries by Alison Booth, in Journal of Victorian Culture (online 2018)
  • Peter Merchant and Catherine Waters (eds.), Dickens and the Imagined Child, in Dickens Quarterly 33.4 (2016)
  • Mary Hammond, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations: A Cultural Life, 1860-2012, in Review 19 (2016)
  • ‘Delicacy above all’, reviewing Forget Me Not: The Rise of the British Literary Annual, 1823–1835 by Katherine D. Harris, in Times Literary Supplement (4 December 2015)
  • Patrick Parrinder, Andrew Nash and Nicola Wilson (eds.), New Directions in the History of the Novel, in Literature and History 24.1 (2015)


My research interests include death, mourning and commemoration; material culture; ghosts and afterlives; and the body. Current projects include:

  • ‘Dead Funny’, a research project that explores what is and isn’t funny about death, dying and disposal in nineteenth-century literature and culture
  • Co-editing the Edinburgh Companion to Dickens and the Arts for Edinburgh University Press

I have written pieces on material culture and Dickens’s ghost stories, and published various reviews in journals including the Times Literary Supplement, Literature and History, and Dickens Quarterly. In 2013 I completed a postdoc at the Charles Dickens Museum, London, which examined the reach and diversity of activities organised to celebrate the Dickens 2012 Bicentenary.

I am a member of the editorial board for Dickens Quarterly and an Associate Editor of Research for All. Since 2009 I have served on the British Association for Victorian Studies Executive Committee in a series of roles, including postgraduate representative, Web and Publicity Officer, and Public Engagement Officer.



  • EN2036 Charles Dickens  (convenor)
  • EN3328 Victorians: From Oliver Twist to The Picture of Dorian Gray (convenor)
  • EN3209 The Living and the Dead in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture (convenor)
  • EN3010 Dissertation
  • EN7021 MA Approaches to Victorian Literature and Culture
  • EN7022 MA Dissertation


I would welcome postgraduate students with research interests in any of the following areas:

  • Charles Dickens
  • Death, mourning and commemoration
  • Victorian fiction more broadly


  • 'Dickens and Christmas' radio spot on BBC Radio Leicester (21 December 2017)
  • 'Celebrating Dickens' radio spot on BBC Radio Leicester (21 November 2017)

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