Skip to main content

Ms Deborah Siddoway

Member of the Department of English Studies


I graduated with a BA and an LLB (Hons) from Sydney University, and then worked as a legal researcher for the Honourable Justice Beazley of the Court of Appeal of New South Wales, before beginning my career as a dual-qualified solicitor in leading legal firms in both Sydney and London.


I was awarded an MA by research in Dickens Studies with the University of Buckingham for my paper entitled The Twisting of the Ring: Dickens, Divorce and the Evolution of his Views on Marriage. I was awarded the 2019 Partlow Prize for my paper ‘Misfortnet Marriages’: Discussing Divorce in Household Words.


I commenced my PhD in 2020, supervised by Dr Simon Grimble and Dr Andy Hayward. My research examines how the nineteenth century English novel was both informed by and influenced the path of divorce law reform in England, with a focus on the works of authors such as Mary Shelley, Anne Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, Caroline Norton, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, and Wilkie Collins in the context of a specific consideration of the social and legal imperatives leading to the enactment of the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, one of the most comprehensive and significant reforms of the archaic system governing the marital relationship of the era.


I am a postgraduate representative on the advisory board for the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies.


My podcast series, The Story of Divorce, tells the stories of the bigamists, the bastards, the feminists, and the fornicators that helped give us the law of divorce that exists in England today.


Conference Presentations


Dickens Symposium: July 2019. Paper presented: ‘Misfortnet marriages’: Discussing Divorce in Household Words.


The Impact of Dickens: September 2020. Paper presented: ‘Bleak House, the fact that Esther gets smallpox…’: Dickens in Ducks, Newburyport.


Gender and Justice in Scotland: Historical and Legal Perspectives: May 2021. Paper presented: The Marriages of Captain Campbell of Carrick: How a Scottish Bigamist Changed English Marriage Law.


Dickens Symposium: July 2021. Paper presented: ‘We Must Have Law and Lawyers: Dickens, Caroline Norton and the Campaign for Women’s Rights.


Twitter @debsiddoway