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School of English and Modern Languages
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 484098
Dinah Roe received her BA from Vassar College. Funded by the Overseas Research Scholarship award, she received her PhD. in English Literature from University College London in 2004 for a thesis on Christina Rossetti's devotional work. She specialises in nineteenth-century literature, but has taught across a variety of periods, including the eighteenth century, the Romantic period, Modernism, as well as contemporary literature.
I have examined a variety of PhDs on Pre-Raphaelitism, nineteenth-century poetry and the Victorian period.
Dinah is particularly interested in Victorian poetry, specifically that of the Pre-Raphaelites. Supported by an Oxford Brookes Research Excellence Award, she is currently writing a monograph on the interactions of literary and visual arts in Pre-Raphaelite art, taking into account the influence of nineteenth-century literature on book illustration, painting and the decorative arts from 1848 to the turn of the century. She is also editing The Complete Poems of Christina Rossetti (Longman Annotated English Poets).
This new study focuses on the critically neglected area of Rossetti's devotional poetry and her prose, offering a critical intervention in the feminist construction of an important Victorian woman poet.
Rossetti’s relationship to the material has always received critical attention, most recently in the work of Matthew Polotsky and Brian Donnelly. Eric Fontana has investigated the speech acts in his poems, but none has considered words themselves as material objects in Rossetti’s poetry. Focusing exclusively on instances of glass inscription in Rossetti’s poems, I show how the poet’s material words recognise reading and writing as visual experiences we sometimes forget we are having.
Analysing inscribed glass in three key Dante Gabriel Rossetti poems, ‘Words On The Window-Pane’, ‘Jenny’, and ‘Rose Mary’, I investigate the ways in which Rossetti’s glasstexts assume the duality of the surfaces on which they appear, arguing that they draw our attention to words as both things and pictures of things. I suggest that scratched, scrawled and engraved words enhance the contradictions and complications inherent in glass, and intensify the complex interplay between transitivity and reflection that defines the experience of reading itself. I also argue that these glasstexts are of their historical moment because, as Isobel Amstrong has shown, they are preoccupied with surface markings that betray glass as visible mediation, revealing its dual function as medium and barrier.
My research is concentrated in nineteenth-centuty British literature , with a specific focus on poetry and Pre-Raphaelitism. Poets in whom I take a particular interest are Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and Algernon Charles Swinburne. My work is heavily interdisciplinary, and my research often explores connections between nineteenth-century art and poetry. I am also interested in nineteenth-century material culture, as well as the art and literary criticism of the period. I would welcome research proposals in any of these areas.
Recent papers and talks