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Dr Rebecca Spence

Former Research Student

Rebecca Spence

Current Research

Setting nineteenth-century literature in conversation with contemporaneous scientific and philosophical thought, my PhD thesis argues for an associative relationship between listening and sympathy in the nineteenth-century novel. With a focus on prose works by George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Henry James and Marie Corelli, the project considers the ways in which these authors were thinking (and writing) about what it means to sympathise and what it means to listen, and how these activities were often considered synchronously in novels of the long nineteenth century.

My PhD is co-supervised by Dr Jo Carruthers and Dr Brian Baker. It is funded by an AHRC NWCDTP award. Before starting the PhD, I read English at the University of Cambridge, and completed the MA in English Literature at Lancaster, for which I received the Chancellor's Medal and Departmental Prize. 

Current Teaching

I currently teach on the first year undergraduate ENGL100 module. 

Research Grants


Sally Ledger Memorial Bursary Award awarded by BAVS/ NAVSA

AHRC NWCDTP funding to present at NAVSA Conference 


AHRC NWCDTP +3 (PhD) Full-time award 

AHRC NWCDTP funding to present at the Thomas Hardy Society International Conference


Department Prize for outstanding achievement

Chancellor’s Medal for ‘exceptional performance in academic studies’


FASS Bursary for MA in English Literary Studies

Thesis Title

All Ears: Listening and Sympathy in the Nineteenth-Century Novel

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