Modernity / Technology / Gender / Aesthetics / The City

I am an early career researcher specialising in literary and cultural studies of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century, with a particular focus on the intersection between modernity, technology, gender, and aesthetics in the city. Following the completion of my D.Phil. in English Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford, I joined the English Department at Queen's University as an adjunct Lecturer in Literary Modernism and, later, an adjunct Assistant Professor. Returning to live in the UK in the summer of 2018, I became an active member of the admissions and outreach community in the University of Oxford, working at Magdalen College and for the Medieval and Modern Language Faculty’s Creative Multilingualism project. I hold an MA in English Literature (2011), a BA (Hons) in English Literature (2010), and an MA in Classics (2008) from Queen's University, Canada, as well as a BA (Hons) in Classical Studies from the University of British Columbia.

My research specialises in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century British literature, with an emphasis on trans-Atlantic modernism, book history, literary London, genre fiction, and the field of literature and science, technology, and medicine. I am interested in questions of continuity and discontinuity in the twentieth century, which manifest in conflicts between generations of authors, movements, and genres, or as intersections, where the past and present engage with one another. My monograph, Reading London’s Lightscape: A Literary and Cultural History of Artificial Light in London from 1880 to 1950, is currently in preparation. Drawing on my doctoral research, it is the first book to consider literary and cultural responses to the electrification of London in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Drawing on my doctoral research, Reading London’s Lightscape explores continuities and discontinuities in technology, gender, and the urban experience across a wide range of literary texts and cultural materials, including Virginia Woolf, Arnold Bennett, Dorothy Richardson, George Orwell, Djuna Barnes, Aldous Huxley, Elizabeth Bowen, Mina Loy, T. S. Eliot, and Wyndham Lewis. 

My interest in continuity and discontinuity is a theme that runs through many of my publications, including my book chapter in the edited collection Dark Nights, Bright Lights: Night, Darkness and Illumination in Literature (De Gruyter Mouton, 2015), which examines the generational conflict between Victorian and Edwardian ideologies that take place in private, domestic, and publicly illuminated spaces in Virginia Woolf’s 1919 novel, Night and Day. My most recent article, published in a special issue of the Royal Society journal Interface Focus on sleep and stress, reconsiders claims that the introduction of widespread street lighting in the late-nineteenth century radically interfered with sleep and sets a reading of the disruptive use of ‘total illumination’ in dystopian fiction alongside nineteenth-century research on sleep deprivation and the use of improved lighting in industrial work places. I write about how the vague understanding of electricity at the end of the nineteenth century contributed to modernist avant-garde movements’ volatile conception of creative potential in both England and Italy in a chapter for The Edinburgh Companion to Modernism and Technology, forthcoming in late 2020.

I have substantial experience in higher education teaching and assessment. At Queen’s University, I developed and taught lecture and seminar courses for upper-year undergraduate students as well as seminar courses for MA students and first-year PhD candidates in nineteenth and twentieth-century literature. At St Anne's College, Oxford, I gave tutorials and classes for the ‘Literature in English, 1830– 1910’ and ‘Literature in English, 1910–present’ papers as well as designing and delivering small-group modules for visiting students on Victorian literature, on Virginia Woolf, and creative writing. Since 2015, I have supervised undergraduate dissertations in my areas of expertise for a number of college at the University of Oxford. I have particular expertise in teaching, leading, and developing modules on trans-Atlanticnineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and visual culture.

Topics I have supervised include:

  • gift economy in the poetry of Isabella Whitney and Anne Carson;
  • cyborgs in women’s early-twentieth century science fiction;
  • representations of filth in late-Victorian urban fiction;
  • light in the fiction of Aldous Huxley;
  • literary representations of the 2007/8 financial crisis;
  • G.E. Moore and the Bloomsbury group;
  • gardens in the poetry of T. S. Eliot and Vita Sackville West;
  • censorship and literary form in twentieth-century fiction; and
  • emotions in the novels of Virginia Woolf.

I am actively involved in the British Society for Literature and Science and was recently awarded funding from its Small Grants Scheme for the second series of LitSciPod: the Literature and Science Podcast, which I co-host with Dr Catherine Charlwood.

Contact

I am happy to discuss any aspect of my research. Please contact me by e-mail, or come and chat with me on Twitter (@Lady_Electric). I’m also on Instagram (@leludtke), where I post about knitting, cycling, books, gardens, and nature.