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Dr Debbie Bark – University of Reading

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Dr Debbie Bark

Dr Debbie Bark
Job Title:
Teaching Fellow



I teach on the following modules:

Research and Criticism (EN1RC)

Genre and Context (EN1GC)

Writing, Gender and Identity (EN2WGI)

Critical Issues (EN2CRI)

Areas of Interest

My main research interest is in the nineteenth century, particularly the life and work of poet Ann Hawkshaw (1812-1885). I'm editor of The Collected Works of Ann Hawkshaw (2014), which brings together Hawkshaw's four collections of poetry for the first time since their original publication. The edition includes a biographical and critical commentary to her work as well as contemporary reviews and publication history. I first came across Hawkshaw's poetry, quite by chance, whilst studying a module on Victorian poetry as part of my undergraduate degree in English Literature here at Reading. As Hawkshaw's work had not been discussed since it was first published in the nineteenth century I decided to make this the subject of my Ph.D research. I have published several articles discussing Hawkshaw in a literary and cultural context and I am hopeful that The Collected Works will bring her writing to a wider readership and generate a critical conversation about her work.

My recent chapter 'Science for Children' in The Routledge Companion to Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Science (2017) discusses the ways in which science writing for children contributed to the popularisation of science in the nineteenth century. More broadly, I am interested in exploring constructions of identity in both prose and poetry and am currently working on an article which considers questions of disguise and performance in Jane Eyre.

I'm an LGBT+ ally.

Research groups / Centres



The Collected Works of Ann Hawkshaw, ed. Debbie Bark (London: Anthem Press, 2014).

Book chapters:

'Science for Children', in The Routledge Companion to Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Science, eds John Holmes and Sharon Ruston (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017), 187-200.

'Poetry of social conscience, poetry of transition: Ann Hawkshaw's "Introductory Stanzas" and "The Mother to her Starving Child"', Poetry, Politics and Pictures: Culture and Identity in Europe, 1840-1914, eds Ingrid Hanson, Jack Rhoden and Erin Snyder (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013), 45-65.

Journal articles:

'Mothers, wives and daughters speak: the recovery of Anglo-Saxon women in Ann Hawkshaw's Sonnets on Anglo-Saxon History', Women's Writing, 19, issue 4 (December 2012), 404-16.

'Ann Hawkshaw' in British Writers, Supplement XVIII, (2012), 127-143.

'Manchester and Early Victorian Literary Culture' in Literature Compass, vol.8, issue 6 (June 2011), 404-414.

'Reconfiguring the urban child: Ann Hawkshaw's Poems for my Children (1847)' in 'Victorian Childhoods' Leeds Working Papers in Victorian Studies, vol.11 (2010), 19-29.

'Sight, sound and silence: representations of the slave body in Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 'The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point', Ann Hawkshaw's 'Why am I a Slave?', and My Bondage and My Freedom, the autobiographical slave narrative of Frederick Douglass' in The Victorian Newsletter, 114 (Fall 2008), 51-68.

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