Lucy Hanks

Twitter: @LucyHanks

Previous education

MSt English (1830-1914), University of Oxford – 2015-6
BA (Hons) English Language & Literature, University of Birmingham – 2011-14, First class

Thesis title

Mediated Expression: Self-Censorship in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Manuscripts


Dr Clara Dawson and Dr Michael Sanders

Research summary

My research explores how Victorian female expression is negotiated through prescriptions on behaviour, resulting in mediated expression. This both sub-consciously and consciously affects the way a text is produced and can be observed within manuscripts and post-publication editions. I explore how mediated expression manifests itself in the works of middle-class female writers, including Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, by analysing markings, crossings out and excisions on their manuscripts, and examining the interpretive implications for the literary text. I argue that deletions and excisions, which could be read as instances of self-censorship, in fact allow women to negotiate their expression and empower them to speak.

Research interests

Victorian literature, manuscript studies, Victorian women writers, gender studies, Charlotte Brontë


Hanks, Lucy, ‘Self-Censorship and the (Im)possibilities of Female Representation in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette’, Birmingham Journal of Language and Literature, 7, (2015), 10-19.

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