Dr Richard Salmon

Dr Richard Salmon


I graduated with a BA in English and MA in Victorian Literature at the University of Leeds, before studying for a PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London. I then returned to the School of English at Leeds, first as a post-doctoral Research Fellow (1993-6) and subsequently as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Victorian Literature.


I have served as the Director for Taught Postgraduate Programmes (1998-2000), Director of International Student Programmes (2003-4), and Director of Postgraduate Research (2013-2015), amongst other administrative roles.

I am currently the Chair of the English subject cluster committee (2016-19) for the AHRC-funded White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities doctoral scholarship competition. From 2018-19, I am the research ethics leader in the School of English and a member of the Faculty AHC research ethics committee.


I have served as an external examiner for undergraduate programmes in English Literature at Kings College, University of London (2004-2007) and Romantic and Victorian Literature at Aberystwyth University (2011-2014), as well as acting as a PhD external examiner for various universities in the UK and abroad.


My first book, Henry James and the Culture of Publicity (1997), examined the relationship between James's fictional and critical prose writing and modern forms of mass culture (publicity, celebrity, spectacle) which emerged in late-nineteenth century Britain and America. More recently, I have published a monograph on professional authorship in the early-Victorian period, The Formation of the Victorian Literary Profession (2013), and am currently planning an extension to this research in a project on the late-Victorian Society of Authors.

My most recent major work is a scholarly edition of The Reverberator for the Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James, to be published in August 2018.

I have given keynote lectures and other invited presentations on my research to conferences in the UK, US, and Europe. Most recently, in February-March 2018 I was a visiting professor at the the Université Paul Valery Montpellier, and delivered a keynote lecture at the conference of the Société Française des Etudes Victoriennes et Edouardiennes.


  • School Ethics Lead

Research interests

Professional Authorship:

My work on the development of professional authorship in the early Victorian period culminated in the  publication of The Formation of the Victorian Literary Profession (Cambridge University Press, 2013). This book examines the figure of the author in narrative and iconographic texts of the mid-nineteenth century alongside the emergence of professional literary organizations. It discusses the work of a number of major Victorian writers, including Thomas Carlyle, William Thackeray, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Harriet Martineau, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Charles Kingsley. I am currently planning a sequel to this volume, which will examine the influence of Walter Besant’s Incorporated Society of Authors on late-Victorian literary culture and technologies of writing.

Henry James:

Stemming from doctoral research at the University of London, my longstanding interest in Henry James has focused on the response of his writing to forms of mass culture and modern publicity emerging in the late nineteenth century. This is a topic which I explored in my first monograph, Henry James and the Culture of Publicity (1997), and to which I have recently returned  for a forthcoming scholarly edition of James's satirical novel on the popular press, The Reverberator (1888), in the Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James (Vol.10). 

W.M. Thackeray:

A recent co-edited collection of essays on William Makepeace Thackeray, Thackeray in Time: History, Memory, and Modernity (2016), focussing on the temporal dimensions of his work, originated in a bicentenary conference held in Leeds back in 2011. My contribution to this volume developed ideas about the relationship between writing, modernity, and literary fashion in the Victorian period, which I continue to explore. 

Another focus of recent and ongoing research is the nineteenth-century genre of the Bildungsroman, on which I have published several essays, including a forthcoming contribution to the Cambridge History of the Bildungsroman. Future work in this field will consider the Victorian Bildungsroman in the context of the discursive history of 'self-culture'.

I have supervised doctoral research on a wide range of Victorian writers, including Dickens, Gaskell, Henry James, Swinburne, Hardy, Thackeray, George Meredith, and Wilde, and on topics as diverse as Victorian Medievalism, Empire, science fiction, historiography, masculinity, religion, and the radical press. I'm happy to consider proposals for PhD research on most aspects of Victorian literature, or in any of the areas of special interest outlined above.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD University of London
  • MA University of Leeds

Professional memberships

  • British Association of Victorian Studies
  • Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP)

Student education

I currently lecture and run seminars on Victorian and Modern literature in Levels 2 and 3 of the undergraduate programmes.

At postgraduate level, I teach on the MA in English Literature (Victorian pathway).  

Research groups and institutes

  • Textual Histories Research Group

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>