Staff Profile


Dr Susan Civale

Senior Lecturer

School: School of Humanities & Educational Studies

Campus: Canterbury Main Campus

Tel: 01227 922265

Profile summary

Susan can be contacted at

Susan is a Romanticist with research interests in women’s writing of the long nineteenth century, life writing, and authorial and textual afterlives.  In 2008, she was awarded a three-year Overseas Research Studentship and an English and Humanities Department Bursary to pursue her doctoral studies at Birkbeck, University of London.  She completed her PhD in 2012, and taught at Birkbeck and at Middlesex University, before joining CCCU in 2013.

Susan recently published a monograph titled Romantic Women's Life Writing: Reputation and Afterlife (Manchester University Press, 2019). This book considers how the publication of women’s ‘private’ lives, through diaries, auto/biographies, letters, and memoirs, influenced their literary afterlives.  The project focuses on Frances Burney, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Robinson, and Mary Hays, each of whom authored and/or inspired works of ‘life writing’.  These four authors offer distinct case studies in the complex effects of life writing on formations of authorship and reputation.   

As part of the team of the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW) at CCCU, Susan also organises the Research Seminar series 'Women's Writing in the Nineteenth Century' and was one of the co-organisers of the "Brontë to Bloomsbury" annual summer conference.

Research and knowledge exchange

Susan has given public-facing talks, offering thoughts on Jane Austen for the SaveAs Writers Awards Ceremony in 2017, and speaking to students at the Abbey School about Mary Wollstonecraft's life and legacy in 2018.

Susan and fellow Romanticist Dr. Claire Sheridan (Greenwich) received grant funding to establish a London & Southeast Romanticism Seminar Series, which ran in 2017 as 'Romantic Novels 1817' and in 2018 as 'Romantic Novels 1818'.  Details can be found on the Romantic Bicentennials website (see here: and on the BARS Blog (see here:  These seminar series will culminate in a special issue of Romantic Textualities, edited by Claire Sheridan and Susan Civale, which is scheduled for publication inearly  2020.

Susan was awarded a Visiting Research Fellowship at Chawton House Library to pursue her research on Mary Robinson's fiction and Memoirs, which she took up in April 2016. 

Susan received a CCCU Faculty of Arts and Humanities Research Award in 2016.

Susan is Events Manager at the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW).

Teaching and subject expertise

Susan is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and has a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (Higher Education).  She teaches on the following modules:

  • The Art of Criticism: Writing about Literature (Year 1)
  • British Romanticism: 1785-1831 (Year 2)
  • Topics in British Romanticism: The Romantic Novel (Year 3)
  • Scandalous Romantics (Year 3)
  • Nineteenth-Century Crime Fiction (MA)
  • The 'Afterlife' of Nineteenth-Century Fiction (MA)

Susan is currently supervising postgraduate projects on Minerva Press gothic novels, clothing in Victorian short crime fiction, the interventionist writing of Dinah Mulock Craik, and the work of Victoria Holt as a neo-Victorian novelist.    

Susan is Programme Director for the MA in English Literature at Canterbury Christ Church University.

She would be happy to supervise MA and MPhil/PhD projects in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women writers, life writing, genre fiction, literary afterlives (including neo-Victorian and neo-Gothic narratives), and Romantic celebrity and print cultures.

External activities

Invited Talks

  • 'The "Form" of Improvement in Mary Hays's Female Biography (1803)', North West Long Nineteenth-Century Seminar, Manchester Metropolitan University. July 2017.
  • 'Mary Wollstonecraft: Life, Work, Impact.' School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania. October 2016. 
  • 'Women’s Life Writing and Reputation: A Case Study of Mary Darby Robinson.' Keynote at Romanticism on Edge / Edgy Romanticism Symposium. Edge Hill University. April 2016.
  • 'Catherine Jane Hamilton, Life Writing, and Literary Identity.' London Nineteenth Century Studies Seminar, Institute of English Studies. February 2016.

Selected Conference Papers

  • 'Poetry as Paratext in the Memoirs of the Late Mrs Robinson (1801): Biographical Facts and Fictions.' British Association of Romantic Studies International Conference, University of Nottingham, July 2019.
  • 'Educating Matilda Mary Hays: Romantic Life Writing and Legacy.'  Romanticism Goes to University Symposium.  Edge Hill University.  May 2018.
  • '"Living her own life, in her own way": Catherine Jane Hamilton's Biographies of Nineteenth-Century Women.' ICVWW Brontë to Bloomsbury Conference: Reassessing Women's Writing of the 1900s and 1910s. Canterbury Christ Church University. July 2017.
  • ‘"Beyond the power of utterance": Reading the Gaps in Mary Robinson’s Memoirs (1801).' Silence in the Archives Conference. Wolfson College, University of Oxford. November 2015.
  • 'Falkland’s Victorian Legacy: Caroline Clive’s revision of the Godwinian gentleman-murderer in Paul Ferroll (1855).' British Association of Romantic Studies Conference. Cardiff University. July 2015
  • '“The pioneers of the numerous authoresses of the present day”: Julia Kavanagh’s English Women of Letters and Catherine Jane Hamilton’s Women Writers: Their Works and Ways.'  ICVWW Brontë to Bloomsbury Conference: Reassessing Women's Writing of the 1860s and 1870s. ICVWW. Canterbury Christ Church University. July 2015.
  • 'Mary Wollstonecraft and the Early Nineteenth-Century Group Biographies.' Writing Women's Lives Colloquium.  Bath Spa University.  April 2015.

Publications and research outputs


  • Romantic Women's Life Writing:  Reputation and Afterlife (Manchester University Press, 2019)


  • '"Austentatious": Comedy Improv and Austen Adaptation in the Twenty-First Century,' Women's Writing, 4 (Special Issue - Bicentennial Essays on Jane Austen's Afterlives) (Forthcoming November 2018)
  • "Women's Life Writing and Reputation: A Case Study of Mary Darby Robinson," Romanticism, 24:2 (Special Issue - Edgy Romanticism) (Forthcoming July 2018)
  • '"Reader, I did not even have coffee with him": Lorrie Moore's Adaptation of Jane Eyre (1847) in A Gate at the Stairs (2009),' Studies in the Novel, 48:3, Fall 2016, 343-63.
  • ‘The Literary Afterlife of Frances Burney and the Victorian Periodical Press,’ Victorian Periodicals Review, 44:3, 2011, 236-66.

Other Outputs

  • "Catherine Jane Hamilton," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry (2018)

Last edited: 05/12/2017 10:54:00