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Areas of Interest: Victorian Fiction and Autobiography, Empire Studies, Narratology, Women’s Writing, and Literary Theory

Contact Information
Office: PAHB 410
Office Number: 410-455-2166


Jean Fernandez, Associate Professor of English and Department Chair, received her PhD from the University of Iowa, where she was a Seashore Dissertation Fellow and a Freda Dixon Malone scholar.

She is the author of Victorian Servants, Class, and the Politics of Literacy (Routledge, 2009), a study that examines nineteenth-century literacy wars in the context of domesticity by exploring Victorian cultural discourses on servant literacy and its impact on narrational politics in fiction by Mary Wollstonecraft, Catherine Crowe, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell,William Wilkie Collins, R.L. Stevenson, and servant autobiography. Her work has appeared, or is scheduled to appear, in LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory, Victorian Poetry, Victorian Literature and Culture, New Hibernia Review, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature,  Victorian Review, The Gaskell Journal, and Nineteenth Century Gender Studies. 

Dr. Fernandez has presented her work internationally and is currently working on her second book project tentatively titled, “The Poetics of Imperial Space: Geography and the Literary Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Imperial Fiction.”


Victorian Servants, Class, and the Politics of Literacy
Routledge, 2009

In this volume, Fernandez brings the under-examined figure of the Victorian servant out of obscurity in order to tell the story of his or her encounter with literacy, as imagined and represented in nineteenth-century fiction, autobiography, pamphlets and diaries. The study reads canonical fiction by Mary Wollstonecraft, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, and R.L. Stevenson alongside popular detective fiction by Catherine Crowe, the diaries of Hannah Cullwick, and best-selling pamphlets of the age.