Dr Karin Koehler

Dr Karin Koehler
Lecturer in English Literature
Room 303 New Arts


I hold an MA (Hons) in English and French and a PhD in Victorian Literature from the University of St Andrews. Before joining Bangor, I taught at St Andrews and at the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School at Edinburgh University. My research focuses primarily on the role and representation of communication media and technologies – especially letters, telegrams, and the postal service – in Victorian and early-twentieth-century writing. I have further research interests in the cultural history of sexual knowledge and in literary constructions of privacy from the Romantic period to the present. I would be pleased to supervise postgraduate research related to any of these subjects.


I teach across a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules, and I convene the following modules:

Year One:
QXE-1014: The Gothic in Literature/Film

Year Two:
QXE-2005: Victorian Literature

Year Three:
QXE-3109: Victorian Networks

QXE-4041: Revolution and Modernity (co-convenor)


My first monograph, Thomas Hardy and Victorian Communication, was published by Palgrave in 2016. Expanding upon my doctoral work with original material on Hardy’s short stories and poems, the book encompasses such themes as the nineteenth-century shift from oral tradition to written culture; the tensions inherent in Victorian conceptions of privacy; and the broader significance of the letter as a literary device.

More information here: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319291017

Related research – on epistolary elements of novels and stories by Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, and Anthony Trollope – has been published, or accepted for publication, in Brontë Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture and Victorian Review, as well as in two edited collections.

My new monograph project explores the many links between poems and letters, poetry and the post, and poets and postmen in nineteenth-century life and literature. This book will be transnational in scope, and pay particular attention to the work of non-canonical poets.

I am also working on a smaller project that explores the development of attitudes toward sexual knowledge in Victorian print culture and I am currently writing an essay about the significance of handwriting in Victorian fiction and periodicals.



  • Thomas Hardy and Victorian Communication: Letters, Telegrams and Postal Systems (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2016). 250pp.
  • Private and Public Voices: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Letters and Letter Writing, ed. with Kathryn McDonald-Miranda (Oxford: Inter-disciplinary Press, 2015). 255pp.

Articles and Chapters

  • ‘Judging by the Hand: The Meanings of Handwriting in Victorian Literature and Culture’, in Judgment in the Victorian Age, ed. by Annika Bautz, James Gregory, Daniel Grey. Under contract for 2018 publication with Routledge.
  • ‘Immaterial Correspondence: Letters, Bodies, and Desire in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette’. Forthcoming in Brontë Studies.
  • ‘Valentines and the Victorian Imagination: Mary Barton and Far from the Madding Crowd’, Victorian Literature and Culture 45.2 (June 2017): 395-412.
  • ‘“Imaginative Sentiment”: Love, Letters, and Literacy in Thomas Hardy’s Shorter Fiction’, in Thomas Hardy’s Short Stories: New Perspectives, ed. by Siobhan Craft Brownson and Juliette Schaefer (New York: Routledge, 2016), pp. 84-102.
  •  ‘“essentially separated in spite of all uniting factors”: Thomas Hardy and the Community of Letter Writers’, Victorian Review 41.1 (2015): 32-49.
  •  ‘“A husband without suspicions does not intercept his wife’s letters”: Letters, Privacy, and Gender in the Victorian Novel’, in Private and Public Voices: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Letters and Letter Writing, ed. by Karin Koehler and Kathryn McDonald-Miranda (Inter-disciplinary Press, 2015), pp. 155-182.

Book reviews

  • Review of Writing the Locality on the Move in Nineteenth-Century British Literature by Ruth Livesey. Forthcoming in
  • Review of Postal Pleasures: Sex, Scandal, and Victorian Letters by Kate Thomas, Victorian Network (Summer 2015).
  • Review of Thomas Hardy, Sensationalism and the Melodramatic Mode by Richard Nemesvari, Thomas Hardy Journal (2014), pp. 97-106.
  • Review of Thomas Hardy and the Comic Muse by J.K. Lloyd Jones, Thomas Hardy Journal (2011), pp. 143-7.

Invited Talks:

  • ‘Thomas Hardy and Sex Education’, 2017 Thomas Hardy Public Lecture Series, hosted by the Dorset County Museum, University of Exeter, and the Nation Trust, Dorchester (2017)
  • ‘A modern Wessex of the Penny Post’: Thomas Hardy’s Postal Imagination’, 22nd International Thomas Hardy Conference and Festival, Dorchester (July 2016).

Selected Recent and Upcoming Conference Papers:

  • ‘“letters must increase”: Reading and Writing the Post Office as a Literary Institution’, Institutions of Literature, 1700-1900, York University (December 2017)
  • “The Poet’s Passion and the Postman’s Lot”: Or, How is a Poet Like a Postman?’, BAVS 2017, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln (August 2017)
  • ‘Consuming Old Selves: Consuming Old Selves: Re-reading Letters in Victorian Poetry’, BAVS 2016, Cardiff University (September 2016)
  • ‘“Large quantities of vinegar”: Nutritional Science in/and Victorian Culture’, ‘The Body and Pseudoscience in the Long Nineteenth Century’, Newcastle University (June 2016)
  • ‘The Materials of Privacy: Envelopes, Writing-Desks, Pillar Posts’, Centre for Studies in Literature, University of Portsmouth (March 2016)