School of English

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Rebekah Scott

Assistant Professor in 19th- and 20th-Century Literature, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I gained my BA in English Literature (Hons) from the University of Queensland before winning a Commonwealth Scholarship to undertake my MPhil (2005) at Cambridge University, where I went on to complete my PhD (2010) with a doctoral thesis entitled "On Complex Terms: James Among the Ethical Critics". After that, I held a post-doctoral fellowship sponsored by the University of Ghent and based in Cambridge, working on The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James. In 2011 I was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship in English Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford University. I left Oxford in 2013 to take up a permanent Lectureship in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature at Nottingham University.

Expertise Summary

English and American Literature of the Victorian and Modernist periods; transatlantic literary and philosophical relations; periodical reading communities; variant editions; voice and aurality; music and literature; style; vulgarity; ethical criticism and ecocriticism, the medical humanities.

I have been a member of the Henry James Society since 2005 and am editing "The Lesson of the Master" and Other Tales, volume 28 of The Cambridge Edition of The Complete Fiction of Henry James. I have published essays on Shakespearean afterlives in the nineteenth century; the concept of "gruff" in Charles Dickens; the keyword "form" in Henry James; "drops" in the lyrics of Benjamin Britten; and the deranged aphorisms of Wilde and Beckett. I have two articles in press, both on James: one on "the minor key" and the other on abstraction.

At present I am turning my PhD on Henry James into a monograph, entitled "On Complex Terms: Henry James and Abstraction", and working on two new projects: "Hearing Voices: Literature and Aurality from Austen to Joyce" and "'The Special Case': A Modern Literature of Morbidity".

Teaching Summary

I teach texts and topics in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American Literature, with a focus on novels and poetry of the Victorian period, transatlantic literary relations in the… read more

Research Summary

I recently completed a monograph draft entitled "On Complex Terms: Henry James and Abstraction", a study of James's encounter with cultural modes of abstraction in the late Victorian and early… read more

Recent Publications

I welcome research proposals on texts and topics in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American Literature, especially those with a focus on the novels and poetry of the Victorian period, transatlantic literary relations in the nineteenth century, and British and American modernism.

My particular areas of expertise include Henry James, Charles Dickens, Samuel Beckett, and, more broadly, style (and vulgarity), the auditory imagination, ethical criticism and textual editing/editions.

I teach texts and topics in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American Literature, with a focus on novels and poetry of the Victorian period, transatlantic literary relations in the nineteenth century, and British and American modernism.

Undergraduate modules taught: I teach across all levels of the undergraduate English degree, including modules such as Studying Literature; Regional Writers; Victorian & Fin-de-Siecle Literature; and Oscar Wilde and Henry James: British Aestheticism & Commodity Culture. I also supervise undergraduate dissertations and distance learning students.

Postgraduate modules taught: I teach various Masters seminars, including Textualities; Modernism & the Avant-Garde in Literature and Drama; Place, Region, Empire; and Poetry: Best Words, Best Order.

I welcome Masters and PhD students with dissertation topics in the C19th and early C20th, and have a special interest in supervising on Henry James. I am currently supervising PhD students in the fields of literary pedestrianism (Wordsworth and Dickens); the health humanities (sensation fiction and monomania), part of the AHRC-sponsored, interdisciplinary Florence Nightingale Project; and Victorian print culture (Dickens and Mayhew).

Current Research

I recently completed a monograph draft entitled "On Complex Terms: Henry James and Abstraction", a study of James's encounter with cultural modes of abstraction in the late Victorian and early modernist period and the positive value in James's work of obscurity, obliquity, and other forms of literary "abstraction", such as withdrawal, generalisation, vagueness, intangibility, preoccupation, distraction, bewilderment, and engrossment.

I am also editor of Vol. 28 of The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James: "A Lesson of the Master and Other Tales", a scholarly edition of 9 tales by James written in the late 1880s and early 1890s, contracted to Cambridge University Press.

Future Research

My future research interests are located in two different fields: the auditory imagination and the health humanities.

The first is a survey of "voice" in prose fiction in the long nineteenth century (1789-1914), tentatively entitled "Hearing Voices: Literature and Aurality from Austen to Joyce...", in which I take into account the physical, audible properties of voice as well as the politics of different narrative genres and modes, with their implications of having a voice and being heard, steering a course between vocalisation that is literate (e.g. eulogy, denunciation), semi-literate (babbling, mumbling, hectoring, gushing, rambling), and sub-literate (whimpering, snarling, growling, groaning). Authors discussed will include: Austen, Thackeray, Dickens, Gaskell, Collins, George Eliot, Henry James, Woolf, Mansfield and Joyce.

The second, entitled "'The Special Case': A Modern Literature of Morbidity", is more loosely conceived at this stage, but takes up Oscar Wilde's remark that "No artist is ever morbid; the artist can express everything" to examine the tension between morbidity and vitality in forms of mental illness found in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century prose fiction, including texts by Trollope, the Brontes, Dickens, Collins, Braddon, Gissing, Wilde, Vernon Lee, Henry James, Woolf, and Beckett. I hope to develop applications of this subject in a post-Covid 19 setting, exploring the related topics of waiting, deteriorating, expectancy, remission and recovery.

School of English

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