School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Dr Ella Dzelzainis

Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature


About me

I studied for an MA in Victorian Studies and a PhD at Birkbeck, University of London and was then awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship. After a spell as a post-doc at King's College, London, I joined the School of English at Newcastle.

My research is interdisciplinary, located in the intersection between literature, feminist history and economic history in the long nineteenth century. I am particularly interested in the impact of T.R. Malthus's thought on nineteenth-century literature, especially the condition-of-England novel and writing by women in the period. My work has also taken a transatlantic turn, focusing on the way in which Britain responded to the idea of American democracy in a range of literary and visual forms. 

I enjoy talking about my research with a general audience. I was a guest on a panel on Malthus as part of the British Academy's 'Thinkers for our Time' series and was also delighted to contribute to a public talk on the Victorian Pseudosciences after a performance of Shelagh Stephenson's new play, Harriet Martineau Dreams of Dancing at Live Theatre, Newcastle. I recently gave a talk on Dickens at Ripon Workhouse Museum and was a guest on Radio 4's 'In Our Time' programme on Harriet Martineau.

You can find the 'In Our Time' podcast here:

Editorial work and memberships

I am a Standing Advisory Editor for Oxford Bibliographies and am also on the editorial boards of Gaskell Journal, 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, and Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature

I am a board member of the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, Durham University. and am a member of British Association for Victorian Studies and The Gaskell Society 




Current work

Currently I am hard at work completing my book, Commerce Between the Sexes: Feminism and Political Economy in Industrial Fiction, 1832-1855. Once this is done, I'll be returning to my Malthus project, which considers the impact of Malthusian thinking on the literary representation of women, sex and money in the long nineteenth century.

Postgraduate Supervision

My own work is interdisciplinary, so I particularly welcome applications from postgraduate research students who wish to work in areas across or between disciplines. My work on Malthus means I am interested in supervising topics that explore sex, sexuality and/or economics in nineteenth-century fiction. Projects that think about literature’s engagement with political, historical and religious ideas, on nineteenth-century women’s writing in all its forms, on the transatlantic reception of texts and ideas, or on Victorian feminism would also be of interest. I am also a fan of major mid-century novelists such as Elizabeth Gaskell, the Brontës, and Charles Dickens.




Undergraduate Teaching

I am the module convener for a large, team-taught module, Victorian Passions, at Stage 2 and teach Sex and Money: Economies of the Victorian Novel at Stage 2. I also supervise Stage 3 dissertations on nineteenth-century topics.

Postgraduate Teaching

I teach on the Radicalisms and Research Matters modules on our newly launched MA in English Literature. I also supervise dissertations.

PhD Supervision

I am co-supervisor (with Dr Kirsten MacLeod) of Pat Beesley's project whose working title is Imaginary Spaces and Subjectivity: Femininity and Selfhood in Late Nineteenth-Century and Early Twentieth-Century Literature'.