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Emilie Taylor-Brown

BSc (Hons.) MRes (Dist.)

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Warwick funded by the Wolfson Foundation. I joined the university in 2012, after having completed a BSc (Biology and English, First Class Honours) and a masters by research (Distinction) at Keele University. My masters thesis entitled: 'A Parasite By Any Other Name: Depictions of Parasitism in Nineteenth Century Medicine, Literature and Culture' explored the figure of the parasite as a cultural symbol informed by both biology and historical religious practices.

My doctoral project tentatively entitled: 'Miasmas, Mosquitoes and Microscopes: the Emergent Field of Parasitology and its Dialogue with British Literary Imagination, 1885-1935' analyses significant exchanges between parasitology and British literary culture in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. I am particularly interested in the impact of parasitic disease on cultural understandings of British imperialism and the pressures (both medical and social) that led to the establishment of parasitology as a branch of tropical medicine.

Other research interests include: the literature-science debate, popular science writing, fin-de-siecle literature and culture, infectious disease narratives, Victorian, Romantic and Gothic literature, and Darwinism.

My Research

I am part of the department of English and Comparative Literary Studies and work in collaboration with the Centre for the History of Medicine. My research includes a broad range of sources from scientists' and doctors' research diaries, personal narratives and colonial office correspondance, to travel writing, news reports and popular fiction. Exploring the cultural framing of disease in conjuction with notions of colonial geographies, I attempt to elucidate the public understanding of British Imperialism at the turn of the twentieth century. I am particularly interested in the figure of the native as a source of social and somatic anxiety and ways of thinking about the 'tropical' colonial environment as one of parasites and vectors. Prominent figures in my research include Ronald Ross, Patrick Manson, and Mary Kingsley.


'(Re)Constructing the Knights of Science: Parasitologists and their Literary Imaginations' British Society for Literature and Science (University of Surrey) 10-12th April 2014. **Winner of the JLS/BSLS Essay Prize 2014**

'Pursuing the Plasmodium: the Significance of Empirical Evidence to Nineteenth Century Understandings of Parasitic Disease' North American Victorian Studies Association (Pasadena, California) 23-27th October 2013.

'Gregarious Gregarines and Vampiric Vectors: A Discussion of the Parasite as a Source of Numeric Anxiety' British Association for Victorian Studies (Royal Holloway, University of London) 29-30th Aug 2013.

'Dreden China and Fighting Machines: An Interrogation of the Parasitic Relationship and its Relevance to Victorian Social Biology in the Writings of H. G. Wells' Battle of the Books: Literature versus Science (Bristol University) 23rd April 2013.

'"Wriggling and Jiggling Inside Her": Anxieties of Trangression in the Host-Parasite Dichotomy' Body Horror: Contagion, Mutation, Transformation (Sydney, Australia) 11-13 Feb 2013.

'Death, Disease and Discontent: The Monstrous Reign of the Supervirus' 10th Global Conference for Monsters and the Monstrous - Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil (Mansfield College, Oxford) 10-12 Sept 2012.

'A Parasite by Any Other Name: Depictions of Parasitism in Contemporary Popular Culture' Humanities Postgraduate Research Symposium (Keele University) 24th May 2012.

'Byron and Chaos Theory: A Romantic Paradox' Student Byron Conference (Edgehill University) 25th May 2011.

Also attended:

British Academy Early Career Workship (University of Reading) 14th March 2014.
The British Society for Literature & Science: Eight Annual Conference (Cardiff University) 11-13 April 2013.
Victorian Things Revisited: MIVSS Meeting (Keele University) 29th June 2012.
Byron: Romantic Icon: Student Byron Conference (Edge Hill University) 23rd May 2012. [Review In Press]
Monsters: Subject, Object, Abject. (Manchester Museum) 12-13 April 2012. [Reviewed Online]
Borders in the Long 19th Century: MIVSS/MRS Meeting (Loughborough University) 12th January 2012.

Invited talks:

'From Comic Sycophant to Gothic Monster: Reflections on the Literary Parasite' Arts & Humanities Discussion Group St Annes, Oxford University 21st Nov 2013.


Two Cultures or Coevolution? Literature and Science 1800-Present (Keele University) 12th May 2012.
Departmental Postgraduate Symposium 2013 [Chair of the Steering Committee]
Arts Faculty Postgraduate Research Seminar Series 2013-2014 [Co-organiser]
(Re)Imagining the Insect: Natures and Cultures of Invertebrates, 1700-1900 to be held at the University of Warwick, 7th March 2015 [co-organised with Elisabeth Wallman]

Society Membership:

British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS)
North American Victorian Studies Asociation (NAVSA)
British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS)
Modern Languages Association (MLA)


Taylor-Brown, E. 'Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Parasite? "The Crimson Horror" and Victorian Social Angst in BBC's Dr Who' Journal of Victorian Culture Online (May, 2013).

Taylor-Brown, E. and Hurd, H., 'The First Suicides: a Legacy Inherited by Parasitic Protozoans from Prokaryote Ancestors' Parasites and Vectors (2013) 6:108.

Taylor-Brown, E. 'Student Byron Conference: 'Byron Now'. Edge Hill University. 23 May 2012' The Byron Journal 40(2012)2 pp171-74.

Taylor-Brown, E. 'Death, Disease and Discontent: The Monstrous Reign of the Super-Virus' Unnatural Reproductions and Monstrosity: The BIrth of the Monster in Literature, Film and Media eds. Andrea Wood and Brandy Schillace (New York: Cambria, 2014)

'"She has a parasite soul!" The Pathologization of the Social Monster as Parasitic Hybrid in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Parasite, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Richard Marsh's The Beetle' accepted for Shock and Horror: A New Look at the Gothic Monster eds. Sharla Hutchinson and Rebecca Brown.

Further Links:

I blog about my research and related interests at: VictorianParasites

My profile can be found here.



E dot A dot V dot Taylor-Brown at warwick dot ac dot uk
Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Humanities Building
University of Warwick
Gibbet Hill Rd
Coventry CV4 7AL

Dr. Emma Francis
Mentor: Prof. Thomas Docherty 
External Advisor: Dr. Roberta Bivins



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