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Durham University

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Dr Fraser Riddell, BA (Hons), MA, PhD (Dunelm)

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Research and Teaching

Fraser Riddell is Lecturer in English and Medical Humanities in the Department of English Studies and the Institute for Medical Humanities. He teaches literature in English from Shakespeare to the present day. His research is broadly focussed on questions of gender, sexuality and embodied experience in Victorian and early-twentieth century literature.

He is currently completing his first monograph, provisionally entitled Music and the Queer Body in Fin-de-Siècle Literature. This takes as it focus works by John Addington Symonds, Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf, and draws upon the work of psychoanalytic, phenomenological and queer theorists to suggest new ways of understanding the significance of spatial, temporal and material encounters with music at the fin de siècle for the formation of non-normative subjectivities.

His other current project builds upon recent debates in Victorian studies on cognition and the senses, investigating the place of tactile sensory perception in nineteenth-century literature and culture. The project examines a range of literary, medical and scientific discourses, looking at works by authors such as George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, Richard Jefferies and Lafcadio Hearn.

Other recent and current research has included work on: post-Victorian cultures of decadence, looking at the place of music in the literature of the Harlem Renaissance; late-Victorian theories of translation, drawing upon research on embodied cognition; the relationship between aesthetics and ‘attention’ in British object relations psychology (particularly Marion Milner and Donald Winnicott).

A number of articles and book reviews are published or forthcoming in Victorian Literature and Culture, Journal of Victorian Culture, Victorian Review, and Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism.

His room number is Room 002, Hallgarth House.


Before arriving at the Department of English Studies in 2019, Dr Riddell was Departmental Lecturer in the Faculty of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, where he taught at Trinity College. He has also taught Comparative Literature in the School of Modern Languages at the University of St Andrews. He completed his doctoral studies at Durham University, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (Northern Bridge DTP). Prior to commencing his career in Higher Education, he worked as a solicitor in the City of London and (briefly) as an intern in the Houses of Parliament.

Research Interests

  • Victorian literature
  • Music and literature
  • Theories of embodiment and the senses
  • Medical humanities
  • Queer theory
  • History of sexuality
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Decadence and aestheticism

Selected Publications

Book review

Chapter in book

  • Riddell, Fraser (Submitted). Bodies Resounding: Writing Music in Decadent Literature. In Oxford Handbook of Decadence. Desmarais, Jane & Weir, David Oxford University Press.
  • Riddell, Fraser (Planned). Music, Decadence and Queerness. In Reading Texts in Music and Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century. Ellis, Katharine & Weliver, Phyllis Boydell and Brewer.
  • Riddell, Fraser (2020). ‘Now—For a Breath I Tarry’ Breath, Desire and Queer Materialism at the Fin de Siècle. In The Life of Breath in Literature, Culture, and Medicine: Classical to Contemporary. Saunders, Corinne, Fuller, David & Macnaughton, Jane Palgrave Macmillan.

Journal Article


  • Riddell, Fraser (2021). Music and the Queer Body in English Literature at the Fin de Siècle. Cambridge University Press.

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

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