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Dr Deborah Mutch

Job: Senior Lecturer

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Research group(s): Centre for Textual Studies and the Centre for Adaptations

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 257 8126




Personal profile

Dr Deborah Mutch joined the English Department at De Montfort in September 2005. Her primary research focuses on the fiction published by members of the British socialist movement between 1880 and 1914.  She has published a number of books and articles on this area of literature including a scholarly edition of John Law (Margaret Harkness) A City Girl (Victorian Secrets, 2015), British Socialist Fiction, 1884-1910 (Pickering & Chatto, 2013) and English Socialist Periodicals, 1880-1900 (Ashgate, 2005).  Deborah has recently contributed chapters to the Routledge Companion to Victorian Periodicals, ed by Alexis Easley, John Moreton and Andrew King (2016) and W. T. Stead: Newspaper Revolutionary, ed. by Roger Luckhurst, Laurel Brake and James Mussell (2016), and is currently working on a chapter on women's columns in the socialist press for The Edinburgh History of Victorian Women and Print Media, ed. by Alexis Easley, Beth Rodgers and Clare Gill (2017).  Longer term plans include a monograph on the use of material and abstract space in socialist fiction.

Deborah has also published on the modern resurgence of Gothic literature and edited a collection of essays on the subject, entitled The Modern Vampire and Human Identity (Palgrave, 2012).

Research group affiliations

Dr Mutch is a member of both the Centre for Textual Studies and the Centre for Adaptations.

Publications and outputs

  • 'Connie': Melodrama and Tory Socialism
    'Connie': Melodrama and Tory Socialism Mutch, Deborah This chapter will discuss the use of melodrama in creating a specific form of socialism: one based on the Tory narratives of duty, guidance and a harmonious relationship between the upper and lower social groups. In ‘Connie’ the characters who adhere to the ideology of Liberal capitalism are positioned as the melodramatic villains of the piece and it is these characters, rather than the traditional aristocratic group, who threaten and oppress the working-class Connie. Class position is presented as less important than the particular political narratives and the melodramatic villains are Connie’s Jewish employer and the upper-class Diana. Both place Connie under considerable pressure: the former to engage in sexual relations with him in exchange for financial reward and the continuation of her employment, the latter to separate her from Humphry and in the process making Connie homeless. Although Diana is a member of the gentry (Diana and Humphry’s father is the landowner, Squire Munro) her unsentimental business acumen and desire to increase her family’s wealth presents a sharp contrast to the Tory paternalism of the Squire and Humphry’s sense of honour and tradition. The publication of this serial within the pages of the Labour Elector will also be considered as the proprietor, Champion, and the editor at this period, Michael Maltman Barry, held Tory-socialist ideas. The chapter will consider the relevance of the serial to the periodical as a whole, the ambitions of Champion in the socialist movement, and some of the ways in which this unfinished piece may have been moving towards a conclusion.
  • Socialist Fiction
    Socialist Fiction Mutch, Deborah A brief overview of the fiction published through the British socialist movement between 1880 and 1900, which considers: the method of publishing (book, serialization); different attitudes to the publication of fiction between socialist groups; novel sub-genre; and short stories.
  • John Law (Margaret Harkness), A City Girl
    John Law (Margaret Harkness), A City Girl Mutch, Deborah A scholarly edited edition of A City Girl (1887) with Introduction, Author Biography and Timeline.
  • Ann Radcliffe
    Ann Radcliffe Mutch, Deborah Bibliographic entry for Ann Radcliffe and Gothic fiction.
  • Social Purpose Periodicals
    Social Purpose Periodicals Mutch, Deborah Discusses the use of the periodical during the Victorian period in promoting or resisting ideas and norms placed on British readers through religious, political, temperance and gendered periodicals.
  • ‘The Long Recuperation: Late-Nineteenth/Early-Twentieth Century British Socialist Periodical Fiction’
    ‘The Long Recuperation: Late-Nineteenth/Early-Twentieth Century British Socialist Periodical Fiction’ Mutch, Deborah This essay posits some explanations of why the phenomenally popular fictions of two socialist authors from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Charles Allen Clarke (1863-1935) and A. Neil Lyons (1880-1940)) are now largely forgotten. The serial and short fictions written by these authors had a large readership as they were initially published through the two best-selling socialist periodicals of this era: Clarke through his own Teddy Ashton’s Journal/Northern Weekly (1896-1908) and Lyons through Robert Blatchford’s Clarion (1891-1934). The essay applies some of Raymond Williams’s ideas and theories on the ‘judgment’ and hierarchy imposed on literature to discuss the reasons why these respected and popular authors have been buried by literary history. For Williams, ‘judgment’ separates the ‘good’, mainstream literature from the ‘poor’, dissident fiction and creates a hierarchy based on ‘deviations’ from the mainstream ‘norms’ of genre, community, shared history, global events and regionalism.
  • British Socialist Fiction, 1884-1910, 5 vols.
    British Socialist Fiction, 1884-1910, 5 vols. Mutch, Deborah Five volumes of fiction published in British socialist periodicals which will be annotated, theorised and contextualised.
  • Matt Haig's The Radleys: vampires for the neoliberal age.
    Matt Haig's The Radleys: vampires for the neoliberal age. Mutch, Deborah
  • Introduction: 'a swarm of chuffing draculas': the vampire in English and American literature.
    Introduction: 'a swarm of chuffing draculas': the vampire in English and American literature. Mutch, Deborah
  • "Are We Christians?”: W. T. Stead, Keir Hardie and the Boer War’
    "Are We Christians?”: W. T. Stead, Keir Hardie and the Boer War’ Mutch, Deborah


Click here for a full listing of Deborah Mutch's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs


ed. John Law (Margaret Harkness), A City Girl, Victorian Secrets (2015)

 British Socialist Fiction, 1884-1910, 5 vols., Pickering and Chatto (2013)

The Modern Vampire and Human Identity, Palgrave (2012)

ed. English Socialist Periodicals, 1880-1900: A Reference Source, Ashgate, Nineteenth Century series (2005)

Articles, Book Chapters and Bibliographic

'Making Space for Women: The Labour Leader, the Clarion and the Woman's Column', The Edinburgh History of Victorian Women and Print Media, 1830-1900, ed. Alexis Easley, Beth Rodgers and Clare Gill, Edinburgh University Press (forthcoming 2017)

‘Social Purpose Periodicals’, in Ashgate Companion to Victorian Periodicals, ed. Alexis Easley, John Moreton and Andrew King, Ashgate, (forthcoming 2016)

‘The Long Recuperation: Late-Nineteenth/Early-Twentieth Century British Socialist Periodical Fiction’, Key Words (12, 2014, 46-59)

The Encyclopedia of British Literature, 1660-1789, ed. Gary Day and Jack Lynch, Wiley-Blackwell (2013).  Contribution: Ann Radcliffe.

 ‘“Are We Christians?”: W. T. Stead, Keir Hardie and the Boer War’, in W. T. Stead: Newspaper Revolutionary, ed. Roger Luckhurst, Laurel Brake, James Mussell, Ed King, British Library Publications (2012)

‘Re-Humanising Marx: Theory and Fiction in the Fin de Siècle British Socialist Periodical’, in Towards a New Literary Humanism ed. Andy Mousley, Palgrave (2011)

‘Coming Out of the Coffin: The Vampire and Transnationalism in the Twilight and Sookie Stackhouse Series’, Critical Survey, (23.2, 2011, 75-90)

‘Re-Righting the Past: Socialist Historical Narrative and the Road to the New Life’, Literature and History (18.1, 2009,  16-34)

Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism, ed by Laurel Brake, British Library, Academia Press and ProQuest (2009).  Contributions: Henry Mayers Hyndman, Robert Blatchford, Henry Hyde Champion, Harry Quelch, Joseph Burgess, C. Allen Clarke, William Morris, Justice, The Labour Elector, Workman’s Times, Clarion, Labour and Socialist Periodicals.

‘Intemperate Narratives: Tory Tipplers, Liberal Abstainers and Nineteenth-Century British Socialist Fiction’, Victorian Literature and Culture, (36.2, 2008, 471-487)

‘“A Working Class Tragedy”: The Fiction of Henry Hyndman’, Nineteenth Century Studies (20, 2007, 99-112)

‘The Merrie England Triptych: Robert Blatchford, Edward Fay and the didactic use of Clarion fiction’, Victorian Periodicals Review, (38.1, 2005, 83-103)

Research interests/expertise

Victorian literature, serialised fiction, the periodical press, fin-de-siècle and contemporary Gothic.

Areas of teaching

The novel, Victorian literature, working-class literature, historicism, literary theory, Gothic and fin de siecle literature, employability.


Ph.D. 'Serial Socialists: The Discourse of Serialised Socialist Fiction, 1885 – 1895’, Universities of Nottingham and Derby, 2002

MA by Literary Research, 'Chartism is the Offspring of the Imagination: The Politics of Chartist Fiction', University of Lancaster, 1995

BA (Hons) English Literature, University of Lancaster, 1994

Courses taught

Engl 1011 Introduction to the Novel (module leader)

Engl 3019 The Working Class in Literature and Film (module leader)

Engl 3000 English Literature Dissertation

Membership of external committees

Colby Book Prize Judging Panel, Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, 2013 and 2014

Membership of professional associations and societies

British Association for Victorian Studies

Literary London Society

Research Society for Victorian Periodicals

Socialist History Society

Forthcoming events

Radical Women, 1880-1914, Working Class Movement Library Salford, 17 September 2016.

Conference attendance

Public Lectures

‘The Woman Worker and the Male Journalist’, Working Class Movement Library Invisible Histories season, Autumn 2016 (TBA)

‘Sex in the City: Margaret Harkness and Late-Victorian London’, States of Independence book festival, March 2016

‘Clarion Literature’, Public lecture for the Clarion exhibition, Working Class Movement Library, Salford, March 2012. 

‘Reading Across The Page: Socialism and Serialisation’, North-West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar, April 2010.  


Recent Conference Papers

'Wrapt in Advertisements at the Feet of Nelson: Margaret Harkness, Out of Work and Trafalgar Square', From Brontë to Bloomsbury: Realism, Sensation and the New in Women’s Writing from the 1840s to the 1930s, International Centre for Victorian Women Writers, Canterbury Christchurch University, July 2016

‘Margaret Harkness, ‘Connie’: Melodrama and Socialist Fiction’, Women’s History Network, University of Kent, Canterbury, September 2015

‘Sex in the City: The London Novels of Margaret Harkness’, Literary London Conference, Senate House, July 2015

‘Fiction, Feuilleton and the British Socialist Press’, Places, Spaces and the Victorian Periodical Press: Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, Delaware, September 2014

‘The Working Class and Public Space in British Socialist Fiction, 1884-1914’, Between Places and Spaces: Landscapes of Liminality, Trinity College, Dublin, June 2014

‘Breaking with Tradition: Socialist Fiction, Socialist Periodicals and Political Change’, Tradition and the New: Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, Salford University, July 2013

‘“Are We Christians?”: W. T. Stead, Keir Hardie and the Boer War’, W. T. Stead Centenary Conference, British Library, April 2012.

‘The Walking Tour: The Clarion Flaneur, Writers and Readers’, DMU History Seminar, April 2011. 

‘From Introductory to Valedictory: Serial Fiction and the Clarion’, British Association for Victorian Studies, University of Glasgow, September 2010.

‘‘No one suddenly announced that he was a gargoyle and wanted a place at the American table’: Transnationalism and Twenty-First Century American Gothic’, Angels and Demons Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University, June 2010.

‘From Local to Global: fin de siècle Socialist Periodical Networks’, Symposium, Centre for Textual Studies, De Montfort University, June 2009. 

'"The Women's Labour Problem" (Justice, 6 May 1893, 1): The role of the maternal in fin de siècle British Socialist Fiction, The Other Nineteenth Century, Chester University, June 2009.

‘Feeling Marx: Fin de Siècle British Socialism, Ideology and Periodical Fiction’, BAVS, University of Leicester September 2008.

‘Re-Humanising Marx: Theory, Praxis and the Literature of Fin de Siècle British Socialists’, Is There a Human in this Text Conference, De Montfort University, July 2008.

‘‘Nunquam’, ‘John Smith’ and the Character of Clarion Socialism’, Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, Roehampton University, July 2008.


Conference Organisation

James Keir Hardie 15 August 1856-26 September 1915, Working Class Movement Library, Salford, with the Society for the Study of Labour History and the Keir Hardie Society, 26th September 2015.

‘“Making It New”: Victorian and Modernist Literature and Periodicals, 1875-1935’, internationals one-day conference with Louise Kane, De Montfort University, 28 February 2015

‘The Monster Inside Us, The Monsters Around Us: Monstrosity and Humanity’, international three-day conference, De Montfort University, November 2011. Keynote speakers: Professor David Punter (Bristol), Dr Andy Mousley (DMU).

‘Vegetarians, VILFs and Fangbangers: Modern Vampire Romance in Print and On Screen’, international one-day conference, De Montfort University, November 2010.  Keynote speaker: Dr Nickianne Moody (LJMU).

‘Victorian Networks and the Periodical Press’, Minneapolis, USA, September 2009, Conference committee member for Research Society for Victorian Periodicals international conference.

Current research students

Second supervisor:

Maija Kuharenok, PhD.: Mathilde Blind’s The Ascent of Man: Text, Context, Themes

Post-Graduate Completions:

Elizabeth Penner, MPhil/PhD.: Masculinity and The Boy’s Own Magazine (2016)

Louise Kane, PhD.:  The Little Magazine: Constructing Literary Modernism(s) (2015)

Sue Petty, MPhil.: 20th Century Female Working-Class Autobiography (2015)

Externally funded research grants information

British Academy Small Grant, October 2015: £5327.26, awarded March 2016

Amiel and Melburn Trust Major Funding Award: £2580, for creation of pilot website of socialist periodicals.  Awarded June 2011

British Academy Overseas Conference Grant: £400, travel to Time and the Victorian Press: Research Society for Victorian Periodicals Conference, September 2007. Awarded June 2007

British Academy Small Research Grant SG-43822: £750.  Awarded June 2006.

Professional esteem indicators

Archive of Working-Class Writing: steering-group member with Prof. Timothy Ashplant (Liverpool John Moores University), Prof. Simon Dentith (Reading), Dr. Michael Sanders (Manchester) and Dr. Helen Rogers (Liverpool John Moores University).

External Examiner for BA English Programme, University of Hull at Doncaster.

Case studies

‘Clarion Literature’, Public lecture for the Clarion exhibition, Working Class Movement Library, Salford, March 2012. 

Invited by Trustees of the Working Class Movement Library in Salford to close their Clarion exhibition by delivering a public lecture at the library.
Deborah Mutch