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Department of English Studies

Academic Staff

Professor Simon James, MA. PhD. (Cantab.)

Personal web page

Head of Department and Chair of Board of Studies in the Department of English Studies
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42583
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 42501
Room number: Stables 3, Hallgarth House

Contact Professor Simon James (email at

Personal Details

My research interests are largely in the literary culture of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century periods, especially late Victorian and Edwardian fiction.

I have co-curated the following exhibitions at Palace Green Library: Outrageously Modern!' Avant-garde magazines 1884-1922, Robots! and Books for Boys: Heroism, Adventure & Empire at the Dawn of the First World War.

Unsettled Accounts: Money and Narrative in the Novels of George Gissing was published by Anthem Press in 2003, the centenary year of Gissing's death. I have also published in The Gissing Journal and in four edited collections; I co-edited, with Christine Huguet, George Gissing and the Woman Question: Convention and Dissent (Ashgate, 2013), and, with Pierre Coustillas, George Gissing's Charles Dickens: A Critical Study.

In 2012, OUP published my second monograph Maps of Utopia: H. G. Wells, Modernity and the End of Culture, the first full-length study of H. G. Wells's aesthetics. I have also edited four H. G. Wells novels for Penguin. Until the 2016 issue, I am the editor of The Wellsian, the scholarly journal of the H. G. Wells Society. I have published with Nicholas Saul a collection of essays on literature and Darwin, The Evolution of Literature.

I have also recently completed articles on Victorian best-selling authors Marie Corelli and George du Maurier. I am presently editing Wells's The First Men in the Moon and Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall for Oxford University Press. Current research also includes a monograph on the male bond in fin-de-siècle literature, and an interdisciplinary project on time, memory and consciousness in Dickens.

I am happy to supervise work on Victorian, Edwardian and contemporary fiction, on psychoanalysis, the fantastic and the Gothic, on masculinity and narrative theory. I will be on research leave 2017-18.


I teach in most areas and periods offered by the Department, from Classical and Biblical Background to the Postwar Period. The largest parts of my teaching commitments are my undergraduate Special topic in Fin-de-Siecle Fiction and Taught MA Module Literary Masculinity at the Fin-de-Siecle. I have supervised or am supervising research students working on the Literature of the Fantastic, H. G. Wells, Decadence, Henry James, Victorian Children's Writing, Censorship and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Research Groups

  • Twentieth-Century Studies
  • Victorian Studies

Research Interests

  • Victorian and Twentieth-Century Fiction, especially Fin-de-Siècle Literature, George Gissing, H.G.Wells
  • Literature and Gender, especially masculinity in late-Victorian and Edwardian writing
  • Literary Theory, especially Narrative Theory, Psychoanalysis and Gender; Theories of Pleasure

Selected Publications

Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

  • James, Simon J. (2015). 'Ugly Meanings in Beautiful Things': Reading the First Wilde Trial. In The Persistence of Beauty: Victorians to Moderns. O'Neill, Michael, Sandy, Mark & Wootton, Sarah Pickering and Chatto. 45-58.
  • James, Simon J. (2014). Afterword. In The Time Machine by H. G. Wells; with an Introduction by Greg Bear and a New Afterword by Simon J. James. New York: Penguin. 119-128.
  • James, Simon J. (2014). Q is for Queen: The Reading Nation. In Books for Boys: Literacy, Nation and the First World War. James, Simon J. Durham: Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University. 6-9.
  • James, Simon J. (2013). Island of Memory. In Desert Island. James, Simon J. Institute of Advanced Study. 10-13.
  • James, Simon J. (2011). H. G. Wells's The Time Machine and the End of Literature. In The Evolution of Literature: Legacies of Darwin in European Cultures. James, Simon J. & Saul, Nicholas. Rodopi. 113-123.
  • Saul, Nicholas & James, Simon J. (2011). Introduction: The Evolution of Literature. In The Evolution of Literature: Legacies of Darwin in European Cultures. Saul, Nicholas & James, Simon J. Rodopi. 9-18.
  • James, Simon J. (2011). Realism and the Fiction of Modern Life: From Meredith to Forster. In The Reinvention of the British and Irish Novel 1880-1940. Parrinder, Patrick. & Gasiorek, Andrzej. Oxford University Press. 4: 87-102.
  • James, Simon J. (2008). The Mystery of Edwin Drood. In A Companion to Charles Dickens. Paroissien, David. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 444-451.
  • James, Simon J. (2008). Fin-de-Cycle: Romance and the Real in The Wheels of Chance. In H. G. Wells: Interdisciplinary Essays. McLean, Steven. Amersham: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 34-48.
  • James, Simon J. (2005). 'The Discontents of Everyday Life: Civilization and the Pathology of Masculinity in The Whirlpool'. In George Gissing: Voices of the Unclassed. Ryle, Martin. & Bourne Taylor, Jenny. Aldershot: Ashgate. 93-105.
  • James, Simon J. (2005). In Public: George Gissing, Newspapers and the City. In Gissing and the City: Cultural Crisis and the Making of Books in Late-Victorian England. Spiers, John. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 189-188.
  • James, Simon J. (2004). 'Pip's Counterfeit Money: Forgery and Great Expectations.'. In Fakes and Forgeries. Knight, Peter. & Long, Jonathan. Amersham: Cambridge Scholars Press. 41-49.
  • James, Simon J. (2001). 'Experiments in Realism: How to Read a George Gissing Novel'. In A Garland for Gissing. Bouwe Postmus Amsterdam: Rodopi. pp. 11-21.
  • Simon J. James (2000). 'George Gissing'. 'Demos'. 'In the Year of Jubilee'. 'The Odd Women'. In The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Margaret Drabble. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • James, Simon J. (1999). 'Pathological Comsumption: Commodities and the End of Culture in H G Wells' Tono-Bungay'. In Consuming for Pleasure: Selected Essays on Popular Fiction. Julia Hallam & Nickianne Moody. Liverpool: Liverpool John Moores University Press. 44-61.

Edited book

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • Simon J. James & Walker, David. (1993). Sissinghurst.

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