Melissa Dickson

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

My doctoral thesis, entitled Under Its Spell: The Arabian Nights in Early Nineteenth-Century Culture, investigated the proliferation and reception of the Arabian Nights in the print and material culture of early nineteenth-century Britain. Tracing the presence and use of the Arabian Nights in British theatre, travel writing, children's literature, fiction, and poetry, I argued that this protean story collection, one that was known since childhood and intimately associated with the childhood consciousness, was not simply a fantastic other against which to measure and define the imperial self; it was an integral component of that self, its imagination, its memories, and its dreams. This research will be published as a monograph entitled Cultural Encounters with the Arabian Nights in the Nineteenth Century by Edinburgh University Press in August 2019.

As a Postdoctoral Researcher on ‘Diseases of Modern Life’, an ERC funded project based at St Anne’s College, Oxford, I was part of a team investigating nineteenth-century cultural, literary, and medical understandings of stress, overwork, and other disorders associated in the period with the problems of modernity. My own work within the project focussed on education and overpressure, and nervous disorders and phobias, and I am currently completing a monograph on explorations of the body’s physiological and psychological responses to sound and music in the nineteenth century, tentatively entitled Listening at the Threshold.

Biography

I joined the department in January 2018, having worked for nearly 4 years as a Postdoctoral Researcher on ‘The Diseases of Modern Life’, an ERC funded project based at St Anne’s College, Oxford, investigating nineteenth-century cultural, literary, and medical understandings of stress, overwork, and other disorders associated in the period with the problems of modernity. I have a PhD in English from King's College, London, and an MPhil, BA, and University Medal from the University of Queensland, Australia.

Willingness to take PhD students

Yes

PhD projects

I welcome research projects and postgraduate supervision in any of (and any combination of) the following areas within nineteenth-century studies:
• Literature and Science
• Literature and Medicine
• Literature and Music
• Representations of the Senses
• Empire and the Orient
• Material Culture