Profile of Rebecca Butler

Rebecca Butler
Tutor and Graduate Research Student
Room 305 New Arts


Prof. Andrew Hiscock


  • Jan 2012: PhD Candidate (125 Scholarship), English Dept., Bangor University, Wales
  • Sept 2010 - Jun 2011: Masters of Studies in ‘English Literature 1800-1914’, University of Oxford
  • Oct 2004 – Jun 2008: BA (Joint Honours) in English Literature and Psychology, Trinity College Dublin


My research analyses British women’s travel writing on Italy between 1844 and 1858. It focuses on how Victorian women travel writers exploited the genre’s hybridity and Italy’s literary associations in order to engage with contemporary political debates surrounding the Italian Risorgimento, while simultaneously contributing, in different and often conflicting ways, to arguments over women’s rights back in Britain. 


I am a seminar leader for the second-year module ‘The Romantic Period in Britain and have given lectures on Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility.

I am a seminar leader for the first-year module ‘Travellers’ Tales’ and have given lectures on Alexander Pope’s The Dunciad, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh and Florence Nightingale’s, Letters from Egypt.

Selected Conference Papers:

  • ‘‘Only Offensive Food, Second-Hand Goods, or Dusty Worm-Eaten Furniture’: The Political Economy of Amelia Edwards’s Italy (1857)’, presented at Travel in the Marketplace Conference, 17-18 September 2014, co-organised by Dr Maureen McCue, Dr Stephen Colclough and Rebecca Butler, Bangor University.
  • ‘Periodical Politics: Frances Minto Elliot and The New Monthly Magazine (1853-1857): Italy and Authorial Identity’, presented at PhD Workshop on Travel Writing, 4-5 September 2014, led by Prof Elisabeth Oxfeldt and Prof Tim Youngs, University of Oslo.
  • ‘‘Professionally speaking’: Frances Minto Elliot’s Periodical Publications and the Circumnavigation of the Critic’, presented at New Horizons: Reassessing Women’s Travel Writing, 1660-1900, 10-11 July 2014, organised by Dr Carl Thompson, Chawton House Library.
  • ‘‘Matchless Mother[hood]’: Female Community and Competition in Mrs Henry Stisted’s Letters from the Bye-Ways of Italy (1845)’, presented at Navigating Networks: Women, Travel, and Female Communities: An Interdisciplinary Conference, 4 October 2013, organised by the Travel Cultures Seminar Series, Wolfston College, University of Oxford.
  • ‘‘Lone Mother of Dead Empires’?: Rome’s Rebirth in British Women’s Travel Accounts, 1844-1848’, presented at AISU Annual Conference: Visible and Invisible: Perceiving the City between Descriptions and Omissions, 12-14 September 2013, organised by AISU at Monastero dei Benedettini, Catania
  • ‘Pi[o]us Intentions: The Political Pilgrimages of Selina Bunbury, Fanny Kemble and Florence Nightingale to Rome, 1846-1848’, presented at Borders and Crossings/Seuils et Traverses: An International and Multidisciplinary Conference on Travel Writing, 22-24 July 2013, organised by Dr Zoe Kinsley at Liverpool Hope University
  • ‘‘From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step’: Mariana Starke’s Guidebooks and the Limits of the Lady-Like and the Literary’, presented at Travel Writing as a Mode of Literature: A Colloquium, 24 Nov 2012, organised by Dr Carl Thompson at Brasenose College, University of Oxford


  • ‘Martyrdom or Militancy? Florence Nightingale’s Pi[o]us Pilgrimage to Rome (1847-1848),’ in Women Rewriting Boundaries: Victorian Women Travel Writers, ed. by Precious McKenzie (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, forthcoming)


  • Review of Jane Stabler, The Artistry of Exile: Romantic & Victorian Writers in Italy (2014), MLR, 110.4 (forthcoming)
  • Review of Judith Johnston, Victorian  Women  and  the  Economies  of  Travel,  Translation  and  Culture,  1830-1870 (2013), MLR, 110.3 (forthcoming)
  • Review of Matthew Reynolds, Likenesses: Translation, Illustration, Interpretation (2013), MLR, 110.3 (forthcoming)
  • Review of Churnjeet Mahn, British Women’s Travel to Greece, 1840-1914: Travels in the Palimpsest (2012), MLR, 110.2 (2015), 535-36
  • Review of Jens Martin Gurr and Berit Michel, eds., Romantic  Cityscapes:  Selected Papers  from  the  Essen  Conference  of  the  German  Society  for  English Romanticism (2013) and Paul  Westover, Necromanticism: Travelling  to  Meet  the  Dead, 1750-1860 (2012), The BARS Review, 45 (Spring 2015) Available at: <>   
  • Review of Naghmeh Sohrabi, Taken for Wonder: Nineteenth-Century Travel Accounts from Iran to Europe (2012), MLR, 109.4 (2014), 1053-54

Other Roles:

  • Coordinator and General Editor of The Dovetail, postgraduate e-journal, 2014-2015. Issue 1 available at:
  • Editorial Assistant, East Asian Journal of Popular Culture (EAJPC), 2014
  • Co-organiser of Travel in the Marketplace Conference, Bangor University, 17-18 Sept 2014
  • Postgraduate Ambassador for English PhD Candidates, 2013-2014
  • Administrative and Editorial Assistant to the journal English, 2012-2014
  • Coordinator of ‘Theatre of Thoughts’: Cross-Faculty, Critical Theory Discussion Group, 2012-2014
  • Course Representative for English PhD Candidates, 2012-2013