Dr Julian North

Associate Professor

Email: jrn8@leicester.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2776

Personal details

Dr Julian North

  • BA
  • MA
  • D.Phil (Oxford)

My teaching and research focuses on nineteenth-century literature, with particular interests in

  • life writing (biography and autobiography)
  • ideas of authorship
  • the literary portrait

My publications include The Domestication of Genius: Biography and the Romantic Poet (Oxford University Press, 2009), which 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.

See publications for reviews.

I am the editor, with Felicity James, of a special issue of the Journal Life Writing, 17.2  (June 2017) Writing Lives Together: Romantic and Victorian Auto/biography.

I am also 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.

I have published articles on

  • Jane Austen adaptations
  • Romantic genius on screen
  • the afterlives of Percy Shelley
  • Thomas Carlyle, biography and portraiture
  • Charlotte Bronte and the author portrait

amongst other subjects.

I was the co-organiser (with Dr. Felicity James) of Writing Lives Together, a conference on Romantic and Victorian life writing, which took place in September  2015 at the University of Leicester.

I was also 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, University 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
  • ‘Character and Caricature in Jane Austen Adaptations’ to the Jane Austen Society, at University College, London

I have been interviewed

  • for BBC Radio 3 on De Quincey
  • for videos on Wordsworth and De Quincey at Dove Cottage (Open University)
  • on Romantic and Victorian Poetry (Cromwell Productions)

I interviewed the television writer Sally Wainwright at the Literary Leicester festival (November 2016) and 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, with a focus on Dickens.


I teach on the MA in Victorian Studies and I lead MA modules on the Brontes and 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

Administrative duties

  • Director of Taught Postgraduate Degrees in the School of Arts
  • 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
  • portraiture (visual and verbal)
  • 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

Conference presentations

Conference papers include:

  • 'Portraits for the People:Dickens’s Image and the Democratisation of Portraiture in 19th-Century Print Culture', University of Melbourne, Australia (2016)
  • 'Charlotte Bronte and the Author Portrait', National Portrait Gallery, London (2013)
  • 'Romantic Genius on Screen: Jane Campion's 'Bright Star''. at The Writer on Film, University of York (2010)
  • ‘'De Quincey's Autobiography and the Technologies of Resurrection' at Thomas De Quincey, 1785-1859, University of Salford (2009)
  • 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).


I supervise MA and PhD work in nineteenth-century literature. I 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
  • the literary culture of the 1830s
  • ideas of authorship in the nineteenth century
  • 19th-century domesticity
  • 19th-century authors e.g. Mary Shelley, Thomas De Quincey, Thomas Carlyle, the Brontes

Learn more and apply for research degrees in English

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