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Dr Kate Scarth

Postdoctoral Associate, English & Comparative Literary Studies, Warwick.

I am currently working on a monograph, Romantic Suburbs: Greater London, Elite Urban Culture, and Fiction, 1780-1840 (under contract with the University of Toronto Press). In 2012-13, I was an Early Career Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, Warwick. My PhD in English at Warwick was conferred in May 2013. During my PhD, I was a Warwick Humanities Research Centre Postgraduate Scholar (2011-2012), a Warwick Humanities Research Centre Doctoral Fellow (2011-2012), and a Chawton House Library Visiting Fellow (2011). My research was funded by a Warwick Postgraduate Research Scholarship and a Stephen Copley Postgraduate Research Award from the British Association for Romantic Studies (2011).

Research Interests:

Romantic-period writing, literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel, criticial literary geography, urbanism (especially London and spa/seaside resort towns), environmental criticism, women's writing, medical humanities.

My main research focus is on Romantic-period London. This work is interdisciplinary, drawing from literary criticism, urban history, geography/spatial theory, and environmental criticism to explore representations of urban and suburban spaces in the period 1770-1840.

I am currently working on two major projects: Romantic suburbs and London's green geographies.

Romantic Suburbs:

Romantic Suburbs: Greater London, Elite Urban Culture, and Fiction, 1780-1840 (based on my PhD thesis, Near London and Brighton: Suburbs in Fiction, 1780s-1820s) explores the central question of why and how the elite ranks—the wealthiest middling ranks, the gentry, and the nobility—lived in Romantic-period Greater London. This critical literary geography project focuses on fiction by writers including Jane Austen and Charlotte Smith. It intervenes in pre-railway suburban history and suburban literary Romanticism in three primary ways. Firstly, I move beyond the social classes and lifestyles conventionally included in suburban scholarship, such as virtuous middle-class activity. Instead, I explore how elite urban culture, centred on London’s West End, significantly informed how the highest ranks experienced suburban domestic spaces. Secondly, this project challenges how scholars define the suburbs, since I complicate the existing emphasis on urban-suburban interpenetrations to consider how (via elite urban culture) non-metropolitan spaces—like the nation and the empire—shape suburban homes. For example, at a long eighteenth-century transatlantic studies conference, I presented on how through the movement of goods, people, and ideas, colonial spaces in the Americas impact the physical and social spaces of London suburbs. Thirdly, this project will be the first to argue for the central role of fiction in shaping cultural perceptions of Romantic suburbs.

London’s Green Geographies:

London’s Green Geographies: Environment, Health, and Metropolitan Identities, 1770-1840 employs methods from literary criticism, urban environmental criticism, and geography/spatial theory. Using a range of sources, including fiction, poetry, periodicals, and personal correspondence, I explore the central question of how the inhabitants of the first mega city used and imagined green spaces in a period of environmental change and crisis. This project shows that green spaces are key sites where Londoners worked out whether metropolitan environments were conducive to their physical, emotional, and mental health. I also reveal how these habitual experiences of green spaces shaped people’s sense of belonging in the metropolis—or in particular areas of it—and their identities as Londoners. I engage with recent literary and cultural work on the Romantic city and with Romanticists’ more traditional focus on the natural and rural, and I demand a realignment of how we define London, the urban, and the rural in the period. London’s Green Geographies thereby advances scholarship on urban and green Romanticisms.


Romantic Suburbs: Greater London, Elite Urban Culture, and Fiction, 1780-1840. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (Contracted. 85k words. Delivery Date: September 2014).

'Elite Metropolitan Culture, Women, and Greater London in Charlotte Smith’s Emmeline and Celestina.' European Romantic Review 25.5 (forthcoming, October 2014).

‘From Village to Suburb: Mr. Knightley’s Management of Highbury.’ In Jens Martin Gurr and Berit, Michel, eds. Romantic Cityscapes: Selected Papers from the Essen Conference of the Society for English Romanticism. Trier: WVT, 2013.

(edited with Ji Won Chung and Francesca Scott). Picturing Women’s Health, 1780-1914. Warwick Series in the Humanities. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014.

'It Narratives, Thing Theory, and "Trivial Things": Sophie Gee’s The Scandal of the Season and The Rape of the Lock.' In Donald Nichol, ed. Anniversary Essays on Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (forthcoming, 2014).

Charlotte Smith’s Eighteenth-Century Sensory Suburbs.’ Working Papers. Cultures of the Suburbs: International Research Network. Web. 15 March 2012.

Elizabeth Helme.’ Brief Lives: Early Modern Forum 1450-1850, University of Warwick, UK. Podcast. 9 Sept. 2010.

Items under Review

“From Anne of Green Gables to Anne of the Suburbs: Lucy Maud Montgomery Reimagines the Home in Anne of the Island.” Women’s Writing. (revised and resubmitted)

“At Home in ‘that gay bathing place’; or, Representing Brighton in the Early Nineteenth Century.” Nineteenth-Century Literature.

Manuscripts in Preparation

(with Morgan Gardner). “Moving Stories in Navigating the Complexity of our Educational Lives.”

“Sumptuous Dainties or Frugal Meals? Diet and Family Relations in Elizabeth Helme’s St. Margaret’s Cave; or the Nun’s Story.” (target journal: Eighteenth-Century Fiction).

“Elizabeth Helme, Romantic Novelist.” (target journal: Studies in Romanticism).

“J.C. Loudon’s Romantic Suburbs.” (target journal: Representations).

Book and conference reviews in British Society for Romantic Studies (bulletin), British Association for Victorian Studies (newsletter), Excursions (journal), and postscript (journal).


I have two years experience teaching on the module/course Modes of Reading (a core, first-year introduction to literary theory and criticism). I have consistently sought out opportunities to gain teaching experience relating to my research interests in literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and in critical literary geography/spatial theory. I have delivered lectures and seminars for the undergraduate modules/courses, The English Nineteenth Century Novel (second-year module/course), The Romantic Period Novel (third year), The Eighteenth Century (third year), and Literature of the Modern World (first-year survey). I also have experience teaching at the (post)graduate level: I delivered a lecture and co-led a seminar discussion for the module/course, Society, Economics and Empire in the British Novel, 1688-1815.

Conference Activity:

Invited Talks

2011 'The Origins of Suburbia in Nineteenth-Century London.' Atlantic Planners Institute Newfoundland and Labrador Branch Planner’s Plate, St. John’s City Hall, Canada.

Papers to be Presented

2014 'Re-imagining Anglo-Newfoundland Exchanges: Historical Fiction and the North.' Norden / The North: Anglo-Nordic Exchanges, 1700-1850, St. Mary’s University College, London, UK.

2014 'Fiction’s Romantic Suburbs.' Romantic Organizations: North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., USA.

Papers Presented

2013 'Villas near London, Furniture and Fortunes from America.' Roots, Routes and Routs: American and British Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century, Plymouth University, UK.

2012 'Locating Revolution: Suburban Space and London’s West End.' Locating Revolution: Place, Voice, Community 1780–1820, University of Aberystwyth, UK.

2012 'Suburban-scapes in Charlotte Smith’s Celestina.' British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference, University of Oxford, UK.

2011 'Charlotte Smith’s Eighteenth-Century Sensory Suburbs.' Cultures of the Suburbs:
International Research Network Symposium, NUI-Maynooth, Ireland.

2011 'Emergent Suburban Spaces in Jane Austen’s Emma.' German Society for English Romanticism International Symposium, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany.

2011 'Suburban Spaces in Romantic-Period Fiction.' Chawton House Library Fellowship Seminar, Chawton House Library, UK.

2011 'The Emergent Suburban Man in Jane Austen’s Emma.' British Association for Romantic Studies Postgraduate Conference, Senate House, London, UK.

2011 'Making a Suburban Home.' British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies Conference, University of Oxford, UK.

2010 ' "I wish they were…safe at home!": The West End as Suburban Safety Zone during the Napoleonic Wars.' Ordnance: War, Architecture and Space, Cork, Ireland.

2010 ' "[D]anger nor dishonour can never assail us": Soldiers, Seduction, and the Suburban (West End) in Elizabeth Helme’s Modern Times.' Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London, London, UK.

2010 'The "odious trammels of order and improvement?": Becoming Suburban in London’s West End.' Arts Faculty Postgraduate Seminar Series, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

2009 'Taking the Country to the City: Redefining "Home" in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of the Island.' Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, Boston, MA, USA.

Events Organized

2013 Suburbs before the Railway and the Automobile, Institute of Advanced Study, University
of Warwick, UK, 3 May 2013. Keynote speakers: Professor Stephen Daniels and Dr.
Elizabeth McKellar

2012 Exploring the Humanities: The Most Personal is the Most General, Humanities Research
Centre (HRC), University of Warwick, UK, 20 June 2012 (with Maria Hetzer, German
and Theatre Studies; Jonathan Durham, French Studies; and Christian Smith, English).
Invited Speakers: Professor Thomas Docherty and Professor Jacqueline Labbe

2012 Spaces of Work, 1770-1830, HRC, University of Warwick, UK, 28 April 2012
(with Joseph Morrissey). Keynote speakers: Dr. Jennie Batchelor (in absentia) and Dr. Karen Harvey

2011 Picturing Women’s Health, 1750-1910, University of Warwick, UK, 22 January 2011
(with Francesca Scott and Ji Won Chung). Keynote speakers: Professor Hilary Marland and Dr. Claire Brock

Kate Scarth

For more information about me, see my CV.(PDF Document)

For more information about my research, see my research statement.(PDF Document)

For information about my approach to teaching, see my teaching statement.(PDF Document)