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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



My research focuses primarily on nineteenth-century literature, with a particular interest in the works of Charles Dickens, compositional practices, and reading cultures in the period. I have a keen interest in compositional processes and how our understanding of them may be shaped by the resurgent field of textual hermeneutics. I am especially preoccupied with questions of form and note-taking and how manuscripts address these areas of thought. 

I read English at King's College London, graduating with First Class Honours in 2015. During this time I also served as an Undergraduate Research Fellow in King's College London Cultural Institute. Following this I studied the MPhil in Modern and Contemporary Literature at the University of Cambridge, from which I graduated in 2016. My MPhil thesis was entitled 'The Dickensian Surplus: Dickens, Harriet Martineau and the ethics of Political Economy'.

My doctoral thesis focuses on the compositional practices at work in the making of Charles Dickens's performance readings. Through work with the manuscripts of these performances I seek to interrogate the new textual practices Dickens undertook in editing his works for public readings. Tracking the fluctuations in text that occur in the process of adaptation, the interrelations between writing and voice, the bodily experience of performance and the material compositional processes behind the ephemeral and unrecorded public readings will form the central considerations of my thesis.

Other academic interests

I am especially interested in the field of textual studies; textual hermeneutics; commonplace books and note-taking practices. More broadly my work has focussed on issues of gender in nineteenth-century literature, particularly on cultural conceptions of daughterhood across several genres of writing in the period. This work has also led to an interest in form and social and moral responsibility, particularly in the political economic writing of Harriet Martineau. I also work on twenty-first century performance culture and its relation to composition, with a particular emphasis on spoken word poetry.



Department: Faculty of English
Supervisor: Dr Ruth Abbott
College: Newnham
AHRC Subject Area: English
Title of Thesis:Dickens and the Making of His Readings
 Megan Clare Beech