Professor Joanne Claire Wilkes

BA (Sydney), DPhil (Oxford)


Joanne Wilkes did her undergraduate degree in English and French at the University of Sydney, before embarking on her doctoral studies at Oxford. She wrote her thesis on how nineteenth-century novelists, particularly Sir Walter Scott, W. M. Thackeray and George Eliot, dealt with what was to them recent history. The nineteenth-century novel continues to be a major focus of her research, and she has published on Jane Austen, as well as on Elizabeth Gaskell, whose novel Mary Barton she  edited in 2005. She has also kept up a long-standing interest in the Romantic poets, especially Keats and Byron. In this context, she has drawn on her expertise in French literature, looking at how Byron was influenced by, and influenced, French writers. More recently, she has published on nineteenth-century women who wrote literary criticism - the practice of anonymity among critics of the period enabled female practitioners to evade contemporary prejudices by concealing their sex if they so wished.

Joanne Wilkes taught for three years at Monash University in Melbourne, before coming to this University in 1987.

Research | Current

  • 19th-century literature and criticism - especially women’s fiction and criticism
  • Poetry of Byron and Keats
  • The links between British and French literature

I have lately published a book on the reception by nineteenth-century women critics of the fiction of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot (see below). I am currently working with UK-based academics on the literary criticism and fiction of one of  the most prolific women critics and novelists of the century, Margaret Oliphant (1828-97). The  volumes of literary criticism appeared 2011-13  with Pickering & Chatto, while my edition of the novel At His Gates is due out in 201.  am also working on the influence of Lord Byron’s life and works on the output of the French writer Alfred de Musset (1810-57).

Teaching | Current

ENGLISH 219 Nineteenth-Century Literature

ENGLISH 313 From Romantics to Victorians

Postgraduate supervision


Supervision interests concentrated on nineteenth-century British literature, especially writing by women and Romantic poetry; also has an interest in some modern Australian novelists, and British and Australian historical metafiction.

Recent Masters/Honours-level supervision topics include Emily Bronte's poetry and fiction; illness in nineteenth-century women's fiction; women characters in Trollope's novels; Shelley's Prometheus Unbound; comparison of nineteenth-century novels by British and Australian women; religion and the church in Trollope's fiction.

Recent doctoral supervision includes: A. S Byatt's historical metafiction; Wordsworth and the Imagination; the Material Life in Dickens' Novels; the novels of Mona Caird; Byron and Religion; a comparative study of Maurice Gee and David Malouf (with Peter Simpson); disability in nineteenth-century sensation fiction; women as aesthetic commodities in mid to late-Victorian fiction (last two with Rose Lovell-Smith); the Dickens circle in neo-Victorian biofiction (with Frances Kelly).

Professor Joanne Wilkes's Postgraduate Supervision


Formerly Head of the English Department (January 2011 to June 2013), I am currently Director, Postgraduate, for the new School of Humanities.

I also represent academic women on Equity Committee.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Wilkes, J. (2013). Romanticism. In M. Harris (Ed.) George Eliot in context (pp. 248-254). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wilkes, J. (2013). Historiography. In M. Harris (Ed.) George Eliot in context (pp. 145-152). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sanders, V. R., & Wilkes, J. C. (Eds.) (2013). The Selected Works of Margaret Oliphant, Part III, Vol. 14, Essays on European Literature and Culture London: Pickering & Chatto.
  • Sanders, V, Shattock, J, & Wilkes, J. (Eds.) (2012). The selected works of Margaret Oliphant. Part 2, Literary criticism, autobiography, biography and historical writing , Vol. 5. Literary criticism, 1887-97 London: Pickering & Chatto.
  • Wilkes, J. C. (2011). Pride and prejudice: the critical reception. In L. Mazzeno (Ed.) Pride and Prejudice (pp. 86-105). Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press.
  • Wilkes, J. C. (2011). The Selected Works of Margaret Oliphant, vol. 2, Literary Criticism 1870-6 London: Pickering & Chatto.
  • Wilkes, J. C. (2010). Women reviewing women in nineteenth-century Britain: the critical reception of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and George Eliot. Farnham, Surrey and Burlington VT: Ashgate. Pages: 183.
  • Wilkes, J. C. (2008). The rivals of George Eliot: French fiction as interpreted by Margaret Oliphant. In P. Gay, J. Johnston, C. Waters (Eds.) Victorian turns, neovictorian returns: essays on fiction and culture (pp. 124-134). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.


Contact details

Primary office location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 6, Room 654
New Zealand

Web links