skip to primary navigationskip to content

Abigail Sage

Abigail Sage

Department: History

Supervisor: Professor Peter Mandler

College: Newnham

AHRC Subject Area: History

Title of Thesis (provisional): Fiction Writing, Class, and the Conditions of Authorship, 1870–1901


I hold a first-class BA in American Studies from the University of Sussex (2008) and an MA (Distinction) in History of Ideas from Birkbeck, University of London (2015). My MA dissertation, which received a High Distinction, was entitled ‘The Estrangement of the Artist: The Künstlerroman, the Writer and the Painter in England, 1880–1903’. Using ‘artist’ novels as historical sources, it examined the estrangement of writers and painters in the late Victorian and early Edwardian period, exploring ideas such as sociality and physical integration, as well as changes within the publishing and art industries.

Taking the study of writers and authorship further, my doctoral research will look at the social effects of the changes in the publishing industry in the late nineteenth century. It will examine the new writing opportunities that arose, and the extent to which these opportunities involved new social strata. Focussing specifically on non-elite male fiction writers, it will look at the place of literary activity in these individuals’ lives, the reasons they wanted to write, and the circumstances that enabled them to do so. Exploring issues relating to class, education, social mobility and political economy, it will aim to increase understanding about the lives and literary experiences of working-class writers in the late Victorian period.

Other academic interests

Nineteenth-century social and cultural history, Victorian literature, Victorian art, crime and punishment in Victorian England, poverty and the Victorian workhouse, health and hygiene in Victorian England, the history of London, British history since 1800