Professor Richard Salmon

Professor 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, Senior Lecturer, and Professor in Victorian Literature.

Leadership Roles:

From 2016 to 2019 I was the Chair of the English Subject Cluster Committee for the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities and a member of the Studentships Committee, responsible for assessing doctoral scholarship applications to the AHRC-funded White Rose consortium of universities (Leeds, Sheffield, and York). 

In recent years, I have served as the Director of Postgraduate Research (2013-2015), Acting Director of Research and Innovation (2019-20), and Acting REF UOA Lead (2020) in the School of English. Since 2018 I am also the School’s Research Ethics Lead and a member of the Faculty AHC Research Ethics Committee.

External Examining:

From 2019-2022 I have been appointed as an external examiner on both BA and MA English Literature degree programmes at the University of Birmingham, having previously served in a similar capacity at Kings College London (2004-2007) and University of Aberystwyth (2011-2014).  I have acted as an external examiner for PhD programmes at universities across the UK, as well as in India and Australia.

Research and Publications:

My first research monograph, Henry James and the Culture of Publicity (1997), examined the relationship between  HenryJames's fictional and critical prose writing and modern forms of mass culture (publicity, celebrity, spectacle) which emerged in late-nineteenth century Britain and the US. More recently, I completed a study on the development of professional authorship in the early-Victorian period, The Formation of the Victorian Literary Profession (Cambridge UP, 2013), and am currently leading a major Leverhulme-funded collaborative research project which extends my interest in this field, entitled ‘The Society of Authors, 1884-1914: Professional Association and Literary Property’ (2020-24).

My most recent major publications are a co-edited collection of essays on the Victorian novelist W.M. Thackeray (Routledge, 2016) and a scholarly edition of Henry James’s neglected novel The Reverberator (1888) for the Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James (2018).

I have given keynote lectures and other invited presentations on my research to international conferences in the UK, US, and Europe. In Spring 2018 I was a visiting professor at the Université Paul Valery Montpellier and delivered a keynote paper to the annual conference of the Société Francaise des Etudes Victoriennes et Edouardiennes. 


  • School Research Ethics Lead

Research interests

Authorship Studies:

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.

 The collaborative project which I am currently developing – ‘The Society of Authors, 1884-1914: Professional Association and Literary Propery’ – extends my research on literary professionalism and the history of authorship into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This project will examine the formation and early history of the Incorporated Society of Authors, founded by the novelist Walter Besant, the most successful professional literary association of the nineteenth century and still in existence today. Through extensive primary research on the Society’s archive and official publications, it will offer the first comprehensive scholarly assessment of the Society’s work in support of professional association, literary property, and members’ careers. Culminating in the publication of a collaborative critical study and an edited anthology of primary sources, the project will shed new light on late-Victorian and Edwardian literary culture, and on the wider professionalization of authorship in Britain. 

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 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, 2018). 

Other Recent Work:

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 literary genre of the Bildungsroman, on which I have published several essays, including a contribution to the Cambridge History of the Bildungsroman (2018).  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="">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="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>