My research interests lie in nineteenth-century fiction and print culture, the development of literary genre, the connections between fiction and non-fiction texts, literary history and, more specifically, popular crime and detective fiction.
I am currently researching intersections between Victorian print culture, periodicals, newspapers and magazines and their impact on the formation of taxonomies of popular genre, with a number of research projects underway. I am currently exploring the cultural importance and position of the mid-Victorian ‘police memoir’. This is an under-explored, often-dismissed literary form which was wildly popular between approximately 1850 and 1875, and which (for a time) was synonymous with the term ‘detective fiction’. It recounted the activities, adventures and exploits of (usually retired or deceased) police officers and detectives for the reader’s amusement and entertainment, and allowed readers to gain an apparent insight into the closed world of policing, detection and criminality. The cultural history, importance and significance of the fictional ‘police memoir’ has often been overlooked purely because of its perception as ‘cheap, nasty and formulaic’, however this is a preconception which my research intends to redress.
Elsewhere, I am also looking closely at the 1877 ‘Great Detective Case’ as a significant moment in both police history and in public perceptions of uniformed law enforcement, juxtaposed with more widely-known cases such as the 1888 Whitechapel murders.
My previous projects have looked at the role of non-fiction journalism on the police in the construction of detective fiction, and also at the position of female characters in various examples of Victorian detective fiction.
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