Research Professor of English
Professor Bernstein’s research and teaching interests focus on Victorian literature and gender studies. Her first book, Confessional Subjects: Gender and Power in Victorian Literature and Culture (1997) explored the relationship between confessional modes, informed by Foucault and Freud, and gender in novels by Charlotte Brontë, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy. Her second book, Roomscape: Women Writers in the British Museum from George Eliot to Virginia Woolf (2013), argued that in contrast to Virginia Woolf’s claim in A Room of One’s Own that in order to write, women needed money and a room of their own, that many women in London found the national library and reading room a generative space for creative work and professional networking. More recently, she has been working on seriality in Victorian literature, not just as a form of print culture but also as a way of reading related to realism and the psychoanalytic concept of transference. She has used digital studies to analyze Victorian serials. She is also embarking on a project about Victorian death thinking, which links theories and practices around death to forms of narrative like closure. Professor Bernstein is also at work on a memoir titled Unlikely Loves.