Associate Professor Kate Mitchell

PhD (literary studies) from University of Melbourne; BA (hons) from ANU
College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Literary Studies 2005
  • British And Irish Literature 200503
  • Literary Theory 200525
  • Australian Literature (Excl. Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Literature) 200502

Research interests

Neo-Victorian fiction

Historical fiction, especially contemporary British and Australian

Victorian fiction

19th and 20th century literary and cultural history

Cultural Memory

Theory and philosophy of History

Teaching interests:


ENGL2074 Jane Austen History and Fiction
ENGL2067 Adaptation: from text to screen
ENGL3036 Victorian Literature
ENGL8019 The Victorian Novel Then and Now



Kate Mitchell is Associate Professor, Literary Studies, and is currently Head of the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics. She holds a BA (hons) from ANU and a PhD in literary studies from the University of Melbourne. Her research is focused on nineteenth- and twentieth - century literary and cultural history with a particular interest in neo-Victorian fiction and historical recollection in fictional narratives. She is author of History and Cultural Memory in Neo-Victorian Fiction: Victorian Afterimages (Palgrave Macmillan in 2010) and co-editor, with Dr Nicola Parson,  of Reading Historical Fiction: the revenant and remembered past (Palgrave 2013). Her articles on historical fiction have appeared in journals including Neo-Victorian Studies and Victoriographies, and in a number of edited collections.

Researcher's projects

Nineteenth-Century Australia Then and Now: Remembering Australia’s Past in Neo-Victorian Fiction

The historical novel is a highly popular and critically-significant genre among contemporary Australian novelists and readers alike, with examples dominating bestseller and literary award lists. Among these historical novels, the nineteenth century recurs with an insistence that identifies, or indeed, constructs, the period as central to the Australian historical imaginary.

This project explores how we remember the past in Australia in today. It provides new ways of understanding the operation of literature as a form of cultural memory, opening up the critical debate beyond whether novels constitute ‘good’ or ‘bad’ history to consider how they function in relation to a range of discourses about the past and how it is remembered today.

Current student projects

Primary Supervisor:

Ashely Orr, 'Breaking the Mould: Neo-Victorian Fiction, Female Corporeality, and the Politics of Resistance.'

Kate Oakes. 'Altruism and Agriculture: The Ethics of the Farmyard in Thomas Hardy's Novels.'

Supervisory Panel Member:

Chung-Yen Yu, '"The House of Waiting": An Epistolary Novel and Dissertation.'

Kathryn Hind, 'Ugly Feelings and Passive States in the Works of Gabriel Tallent and Anne Enright.'

Luisa Moore, Textual Critique Through the Artist's Eye: John Austen's Illustrated Hamlet.'

Meredith Trinko, 'A Well-Lived Death: Taxidermy in Victorian Material Culture 1850-1900.'

Louisa Kirk, ‘Through stories and secrets’: Female friendship as displaced intimacy.'

Past student projects

PhD Projects:

Primary Supervisor:

Kathryne Ford, 'I lost courage and burned the rest’: Biofiction, Legacy, and the Hero-Protagonist Split in Charles Dickens’s Life-Writing Novels. 2018.

Jessica Hewenn, 'Unsettling: Settler-Colonial Environments in Neo-Victorian Fiction.' 2018.

Matthew Thompson, 'The figure of Jack the Ripper in Victorian and Neo-Victorian Fiction.' 2017.

Supervisory Panel Member:

Tania Evans, 'Cripples and Bastards and Broken Things: Masculinity, Violence, and Abjection in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones.' 2019.

Suzanne Faigan, An Annotated Bibliography of Maria Yakovlevna Frumkina (Esther). 2019.

Stephanie Kizimchuk, Mizrahi Memoirs: History, Memory, and Identity in Displacement.

Rebecca Clode, 'Critical Celebrations: Metatheatre in Australian Drama of the Late Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Centuries.' 2014.

Lucy Neave, Who We Were: A Novel and Dissertation by Publication. Dissertation title: ‘Writing Process: Writers’ Practices, Mystique and Pedagogy.’ 2013.

Hamish Dalley, 'Contemporary Historical Fiction in Nigeria, Australia and New Zealand.' 2011.


Fourth-Year Honours Projects:

Music in Jane Austen’s Emma. 2019.

Representations of the figure of the psychopath in gothic fiction. 2019.

Reimagining Agnes: Burial Rites as a Restorative Literary Act. 2018.

Subjectivity and Self in the Victorian Novel: Focusing on the Boundary. 2016.

Romancing the Environment in Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. 2015.

Transitioning Gender in Vampire Fiction from the nineteenth century to the present. 2015.

Illness and the Gothic in Wuthering Heights. 2015.

Adventuring with Austen. 2013.

Neo-Victorian Graphic Novels: Alan Moore’s The Lost Girls. 2012.

Weather in the (Neo)Victorian Novel. 2012.

The Preface in the Victorian Novel (M.A.). 2012.

Victorian Masculinities: The Experienced Hero. 2012.

The Outsider and the Orphan: Educators and Motherless Heroines in the Victorian home. 2011.

Preservation and the Historical Imagination in The Remains of the Day and Atonement. 2010.




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