Mary L Shannon
PhD Topic: ‘Wellington Street, Strand: The Print Culture of a Victorian Street’
First Supervisor: Professor Clare Pettitt
Second Supervisor: Professor Josephine McDonagh
Mary completed her undergraduate degree in English at Cambridge University in 2004. She was awarded the Charlton Prize for Distinguished Work in English by Newnham College Cambridge, for her final-year dissertation. She subsequently worked at Sotheby’s, organising auctions in their Books and Manuscripts Department, and then trained as an English teacher. She came to King’s College London to study for an MA in English, and is now in the third year of a PhD in the department. She is also studying for the Associateship of King’s College London (AKC).
Summary of Current Research
Mary’s research focuses on a street in Victorian London, Wellington Street, between 1843-53. This street leads off the Strand, and during this period it contained, among others, the offices of Charles Dickens, of his largely-forgotten competitor G.W.M. Reynolds, of national newspapers and of the Lyceum Theatre. Her work is a detailed study of the way this street was a highly significant location for a wide range of activities to do with print culture, and a hub of relationships, influences and connections between writers, booksellers, newspaper editors, printers, theatre managers and spectators, and ultimately readers. The thesis uses archival research, literary criticism, and literary geography to explore Wellington Street at different times of the day and to examine the intersection between print culture, popular culture, the built environment and urban experience.
Her other research interest is readerly complicity in late nineteenth-century/early twentieth-century adventure fiction.
Paper 4AAE0205 ‘Classical and Biblical Contexts of English Literature’.
Qualified teacher of English to ages 11-18.
2010-12 Postgraduate Representative on the Executive Committee for the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS), and co-blog manager of The Victorianist, the BAVS postgraduate webpages.
Contributor for KCL’s JISC-funded Strandlines project on ‘The 19th Century Strand: Then and Now’ (http://www.strandlines.net/).
2010-11: Co-convenor of The Abstract, the English Department postgraduate seminar group, and co-manager of the online blog about the proceedings of The Abstract, accessed via Stet (the KCL English Department Journal, http://stetjournal.org/blogs/the-abstract/).
peer-reviewed for Stet and for The Victorian Network, an online 19th century postgraduate journal.
Member of the Shows of London Reading Group, and frequent speaker at The Abstract, and at Let’s Enhance!, KCL’s genre fiction Reading Group.
When she is avoiding writing her thesis, Mary is working on an adventure story for children set in 1600’s London!
‘A Tale of Two Communities: The Composition of Dickens’s Networks on Wellington Street, Strand’ (BAVS 2011)
‘Such a Game! Adventure Fiction and the Reader’ (‘Bad Writing’, KCL 2011)
‘The Fractured City: GWM Reynolds and The Mysteries of London’ (‘The Abstract’, KCL, 2010)
‘ “nightmare Life in Death”: A. H. Layard, Walter Pater, H. Rider Haggard, and the Dangers of Reanimating the Past’ (UCL Postgraduate Conference, 2010)
‘Wartime Children: Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies’ (KCL Postgraduate Conference, 2009)