The Queer Woman Reader in the Nineteenth Century

My project aims to recover the reading practices and bookish experiences of queer women and gender-nonconforming people in the nineteenth century. I work with the diaries, letters, and book reviews of some key queer figures, such as Anne Lister, Geraldine Jewsbury, and Mary Diana Dods/Walter Sholto Douglas. I draw on queer/trans theory, theories of lifewriting, and the digital humanities in reinterpreting these people’s lives and work. I hope that this research will contribute to queering the history of reading and to making book history research practices more inclusive.

I have previously spoken at various book history conferences, including SHARP 2021 and CHAPTER Con 2022. My paper “‘I feel the mind enlarging itself’: Anne Lister’s gendered reading practices” will be published in a forthcoming edition of the Journal of Lesbian Studies. My research interests also include the gothic novel, reading practices and the development of the novel, and publishing history.

You can find out more about my research on my research profile or by contacting me at

Charley Matthews, University of Edinburgh.