Dr Julian North

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

Associate Professor in Nineteenth-Century English Literature

Department: EnglishDr Julian North

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2776

Email: jrn8@leicester.ac.uk

Office: Room 1308, Attenborough Tower

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

Personal details


I am an Associate Professor in Romantic and Victorian Literature. I read English as an undergraduate at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, where I also studied for my DPhil., during which time I was a Senior Scholar of the college. Before coming to the English Department at the University of Leicester, I held posts as a Lecturer at the University of Reading and a Senior Lecturer at De Montfort University. My doctorate was on the work of Thomas De Quincey, who spanned the Romantic and Victorian periods in British Literature and my research has continued to range across and challenge these boundaries. As well as editing and publishing on the work of De Quincey, I have published widely on ‘life writing’ in the period, often on the biographical afterlives of nineteenth-century writers. My interest in biographical media has extended to film and the visual arts, and to my research on portraiture and the author’s image. I am the co-editor, with Professor Joanne Shattock, of Routledge’s Nineteenth-Century Series.


  • BA Hons, English Language and Literature, University of Oxford

  • DPhil., University of Oxford



  • The Domestication of Genius: Biography and the Romantic Poet (Oxford University Press, 2009)

  • Editor of volume 11 and co-editor of volume 20 of The Works of Thomas De Quincey, 21 vols, gen. ed. Grevel Lindop (Pickering and Chatto, 2000-2003)

  • De Quincey Reviewed: Thomas De Quincey’s Critical Reception, 1821-1994 (Camden House/ Boydell and Brewer, 1997)

Journal articles, book chapters, and special issues

  • ‘Recollections, Conversations and Biography of Lord Byron’, in Byron in Context, edited by Clara Tuite (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2019)

  • ‘How to be an Author: Literary Biography c.1830-1880’, Blackwell Companion to Literary Biography, edited by Richard Bradford (Wiley/Blackwell, 2019): 45-61

  • ‘Lake Poets’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (published online 9 May 2018)

  • Editor, with Felicity James, of Special Issue: 'Writing Lives Together: Romantic and Victorian Auto/biography', Life Writing, 17.2 (June 2017)

  • ‘Intertextual Sociability in Victorian Lives of the Romantic poets: Thomas De Quincey's Lake Reminiscences and Edward John Trelawny's Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron', Life Writing, 17.2 (June 2017): 155-69

  • 'Appearing before the Public: Charlotte Brontë and the Author Portrait in the 1830s’, Brontë Studies 41.1 (2016): 60-74

  • 'Portraying Presence: Thomas Carlyle, Portraiture and Biography’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 43.3 (March 2015): 465-88

  • 'Romantic Genius on Screen: Jane Campion's Bright Star and Julien Temple's Pandaemonium', in The Writer on Film: Screening Literary Authorship, edited by Judith Buchanan (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2013): 77-91

  • ‘Jane Austen’s Life on Page and Screen’, in Uses of Jane Austen, edited by Gillian Dow and Claire Hanson (Palgrave, 2012): 92-114

  • 'De Quincey and the Inferiority of Women', Romanticism 17.3 (2011): 327-339

  • 'Shelley Revitalized: Biography and the Reanimated Body', European Romantic Review 21:6 (December 2010): 751-70

  • ‘Literary Biography and the Making of the Poet’s House’, in Literary Tourism and Nineteenth-Century Culture, edited by Nicola J. Watson (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009): 49-62

  • ‘Wooing the Reader: De Quincey, Wordsworth and Women in Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine’, in Thomas De Quincey. New Theoretical and Critical Directions, edited by Robert Morrison and Daniel Sanjiv Roberts (Routledge, 2008)

  • '"I change but I cannot die": The Metamorphoses of P. B. Shelley’, in Proteus. The Language of Metamorphosis, edited by Carla Dente et al (Ashgate, 2005)

  • ‘Self-Possession and Gender in Romantic Literary Biography’, in Romantic Biography, edited by Arthur Bradley and Alan Rawes (Ashgate, 2003)

  • ‘Radical Austen, Conservative Austen: Sense and Sensibility from Text to Screen’, in Adaptations: From Text to Screen, Screen to Text, edited by Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan (Routledge, 1999): 38-50

  • ‘The Opium-Eater as Criminal in Victorian Writing’, in Writing and Victorianism, edited by  J. B. Bullen (Longman, 1997): 120-136

  • ‘Autobiography as Self-Indulgence: De Quincey and his Reviewers”, in Mortal Pages, Literary Lives. Studies in Nineteenth-Century Autobiography, edited by Philip Shaw and Vincent Newey (Scolar Press, 1996): 61-70

  • ‘Leeches and Opium: De Quincey Replies to "Resolution and Independence" in Confessions of an English Opium-Eater’, The Modern Language Review, 89:3 (July, 1994): 572-80


My research bridges Romantic and Victorian literature, with special interests in:Cover design, Julian North, The Domestication of Genius

  • life-writing (biography and autobiography)
  • visual culture, especially portraiture
  • the afterlives of the Romantic poets
  • the life and writings of Thomas De Quincey

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. 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 and led to a special issue of the Journal Life Writing, 17.2  (June 2017). I edited vol. 11 and co-edited 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 am currently working on 'Author Portraits', a book exploring visual and verbal portraits of Victorian authors, with a focus on Dickens.

Conference papers/keynote lectures include:

  • ‘Romantic Recollections and the Language of Allusion: De Quincey and Trelawny Quote from the Poets’, keynote lecture at the Wordsworth Summer Conference, Rydal Hall (2018)
  • '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)
  • 'Drugs in Victorian Literature' ('High Society' Exhibition at the Wellcome Collection 2011)
  • '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)


Undergraduate teaching

  • EN1010 Reading English
  • EN2131 Gothic (Convenor)
  • EN3010 Compulsory Dissertation
  • EN3158 Jane Austen: Novels, Contexts, Adaptations (Convenor)
  • EN3020 Romantics and Victorians: Literature 1789-1870

Postgraduate teaching

  • EN7021 Approaches to Victorian Literature and Culture
  • EN7128 The Brontes (Convenor)
  • EN7125 Victorian Lives (Convenor)
  • EN7112 Editing and Textual Criticism
  • EN7001 Research Methods and Writing Skills (Convenor)


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
  • nineteenth-century literary and visual culture (especially portraiture)
  • ideas of authorship in the nineteenth century
  • nineteenth-century authors e.g. Mary Shelley, Thomas De Quincey, Thomas Carlyle, the Brontes


I was one of the historical advisors for ‘Beecham House’ (ITV forthcoming 2019). 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 have been interviewed by BBC Radio 3 on De Quincey; on Wordsworth and De Quincey at Dove Cottage for a video made by the Open University; and on Romantic and Victorian Poetry for a video made by Cromwell Productions.

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