Dr Helen Goodman is a Visiting Lecturer in the English Department at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she completed her PhD (‘Mad Men: Borderlines of Insanity, Masculinity and Emotion in Victorian Literature and Culture’) in 2015.

She is currently writing her first monograph, which is based on this doctoral research. Her interdisciplinary research examines intersections between literary studies, the history of psychiatry, and gender studies. Departing from numerous publications on insanity and femininity, Helen’s doctoral project illuminates the relatively neglected subject of masculinity. Her work draws on material including fiction (by Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Wilkie Collins, Charles Reade, John Galsworthy, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and others), psychiatric journals, asylum photographs, etiquette and advice manuals, personal diaries, legal reports and medical case notes from lunatic asylums in the London area (including Holloway Sanatorium, Hanwell Asylum, Colney Hatch Asylum, Camberwell Asylum, St Luke’s Hospital, Bethlem and Broadmoor).

Helen’s research interests are primarily in nineteenth-century social history, politics, psychology and literature. She is especially interested in the exciting recent developments in medical humanities, including the history of medicine and the history of emotions, and their relationship to masculinity and disability studies. Her new research project explores concepts of wellbeing, overwork and genius in the nineteenth-century scientific community, focusing on emotional and psychological responses to the challenges of stress, anxiety and nervous exhaustion faced by Charles Darwin, Francis Galton and others.

She has published book chapters and peer-reviewed articles on subjects including male patients in London’s lunatic asylums, monomania and marital violence, masculinity and late-Victorian adventure fiction. Helen has gained extensive teaching experience across a wide range of historical periods and genres at Royal Holloway, the University of Oxford and as part of various widening participation programmes. These areas include Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, eighteenth-century fiction, nineteenth-century literature, twentieth- and twenty-first-century fiction, and medical humanities.

For several years Helen was the coordinator of the Royal Holloway English Research Forum (ERF) and a critical submissions reviewer for the online journal, Exegesis. Helen is now a member of the project team at Nineteenth-Century Disabilities: Cultures & Cultures, peer reviewed by NINES. She is also a peer reviewer for Victorian Network.

In 2014 Helen completed working on the Language of Access Project, funded by the AHRC. This one-year training programme focuses on skills for doctoral students and early career researchers working on the history of medicine. The workshops are run by King’s College London Archives, the Royal Institution, the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Wellcome Library, providing training and interdisciplinary discussion on subjects including digital humanities, medical language, public engagement, and making research more visible and accessible to wider audiences.


Other profiles:

Royal Holloway    







Language of Access – project blog.

Royal Holloway English Research Forum (ERF) – blog for a series of talks on English and related interdisciplinary subjects given by invited speakers.

Gin, Brimstone, Onions and Disease – a light-hearted blog on nineteenth-century culture, run jointly with Jessica Hindes.   



One response to “

  1. For Helen .


    I am organizing a Conference on History of Psychology in Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife, Spain) from the 7th-9th May’15 becuase there is the Centennial of the experiments of Köhler (Gestalt) here. All subjects on history of psychology will be well accepted but the main questions will be directed to history of gestalt, history of comparative psychology, etc. I woud like you could expand and spread this news to your colleagues in Britain and America.

    We will be in touch

    The best

    Justo Hernández

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