Dr Melissa Fegan

Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature; Programme Leader, MA Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture


BA, MSt, DPhil, PGC Learning and Teaching (HE), FHEA


Melissa is a Reader in English Literature, specialising in nineteenth-century literature and Irish literature. 

She completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford on representations of the Great Famine in nineteenth-century Irish, British and American literature.


Melissa teaches on the BA in English and the MA in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture. Modules she teaches or lectures on include:

  • Approaches to Literature
  • Romantic Literature
  • Victorian Literature
  • Gothic Literature
  • Modernism and After
  • Nineteenth-Century Literature
  • Nineteenth-Century Culture
  • Irish Literature


Postgraduate supervision:

Melissa has supervised PhD students working on nineteenth-century Irish literature, and nineteenth-century travel literature. She welcomes enquiries about research projects on:

  • Nineteenth-century literature
  • Irish literature
  • Gothic literature
  • Literature and history
  • Neo-Victorian fiction
  • Travel literature


Melissa is currently working on twentieth- and twenty-first-century representations of the Great Famine in literature, and the Irish hotel in early nineteenth-century Irish fiction and travel books.


Published work



Literature and the Irish Famine 1845-1919 (Clarendon Press, 2002).

Wuthering Heights: Character Studies (Continuum, 2008).

Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

  • ‘The Moral Economy of the Irish Hotel from the Union to the Famine’, in Susanne Schmid and Monika Elbert (eds) Anglo-American Travelers and the Hotel Experience in Nineteenth Century Literature: Nation, Hospitality, Travel Writing (Routledge, 2017)
  • “Of every land the guest”: Aubrey de Vere’s travels’, Studies in Travel Writing, 20:2 (2016), 135-148.
  • ‘“The Tottering, Fluttering, Palpitating Mass”: Power, Hunger and Representation in Nineteenth-Century Literary Responses to the Great Famine’, in Enda Delaney and Breandán Mac Suibhne (eds) Ireland’s Great Famine and Popular Politics (New York and London: Routledge, 2016), 34-58.
  • ‘Waking the Bones: the Famine in Contemporary Irish Literature’, in Ruud van den Beuken, Marguérite Corporaal, Christopher Cusack and Lindsay Janssen (eds) Global Legacies of the Great Irish Famine (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2014), 157-174.
  • ‘“Every Irishman is an Arab”: James Clarence Mangan’s Eastern “Translations”’, Translation and Literature, 22:2 (Summer 2013), 195-214.
  • ‘William Carleton and Famine’, William Carleton Summer School, August 2012 http://www.williamcarletonsociety.org/site/talks/talksunderconstruction.html
  • ‘"That heartbroken island of incestuous hatreds": Famine and Family in Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea', in Neo-Victorian Families, eds. Marie-Luise Kohlke and Christian Gutleben (Rodopi, 2011).
  • ‘The Great Famine in Literature, 1845-1896', in Julia M. Wright (ed.), A Companion to Irish Literature, vol. 1 (Blackwell, 2010).
  • ‘"Like a wail from the tomb, / But of world-waking power": James Clarence Mangan's "A Vision: A. D. 1848", The Great Famine and the Young Ireland Rising', in 1848: The Year the World Turned?, eds. Kay Boardman and Christine Kinealy (Cambridge Scholars, 2007).
  • ‘"Something so utterly unprecedented in the annals of human life": William Carleton and the Great Famine', in Peter Gray (ed.), Victoria's Ireland?: Ireland and Britishness, 1837-1901 (Four Courts Press, 2004).
  • ‘"Isn't it your own country?": The Stranger in Nineteenth-Century Irish Literature', Yearbook of English Studies, 34 (2004), 31-45.
  • ‘The Traveller's Experience of Famine Ireland', Irish Studies Review, 9:3 (2001), 361-71.

Melissa has reviewed for journals including: Irish Studies Review, English Historical Review, Journal of British Studies, Media History, Modernism/Modernity, Journal of Tourism History and Victoriographies.