Dr Helena Ifill

Dr Helena Ifill
Dr Helena Ifill
Dr Helena Ifill

Senior Lecturer

Accepting PhDs

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 272671
Office Address

F12, Old Brewery 

School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture


Helena Ifill received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Sheffield (where she also took an MA in Nineteenth-Century Studies) in 2009. She taught at the University of Sheffield from 2010-2019 before taking up a lectureship at the University of Aberdeen in 2019. Her research centres on Victorian popular fiction, sensation fiction and the Gothic, especially in connection with issues of gender, genre, science and medicine.

Dr Ifill is Co-Director of the Centre for the Novel, and Secretary of the Victorian Popular Fiction Association. She is Co-Series-Editor for the critical monograph series, Key Popular Women Writers and is Co-Editor of Victorian Popular Fictions.


Research Overview

My research centres on Victorian popular fiction, especially sensation fiction and the Gothic. I am particularly interested in how these genres engage with issues concerning gender, science and medicine. My exploration of “science” reflects the Victorians’ own flexible, multifaceted conceptions of the term and ranges from physiological textbooks through to periodical debates over the unclear boundaries between (pseudo)science and the supernatural. I am particularly interested in the representation of unusual medical conditions and mental states, and deterministic factors (such as heredity, education and upbringing) in Victorian popular fiction. I am also interested, more broadly. in the relationship between concepts of genre and literary classification, and the production of popular fiction.

I welcome applications for PhDs relating to Victorian literature and culture, including: popular fiction; sensation fiction; the Gothic; genre; the interaction between science/medicine and literature; the periodical press.

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in English.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me


Accepting PhDs

Current Research

I am currently working on two projects. One concerns the representation of doctors and patients in nineteenth-century Female Gothic texts. The other is a study of the Victorian popular author and journal editor, Charlotte Riddell, part of which has resulted in an article on the representation of professional female authors in Victorian Britain.  


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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications

Working Papers