Centre for Studies in Literature


Photo of Ms Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott

Ms Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott

  • Qualifications: BA English Literature & MA Victorian Art, Literature and Culture (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • Role Title: PhD Student
  • Address: Milldam, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, Hants PO1 3AS
  • Telephone: 023 9284 6033
  • Email: beatrice.ashton-lelliott@port.ac.uk
  • Department: School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
  • Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


My academic background is based in Literary and Victorian Studies and my doctoral thesis is entitled: ‘Magical Lives: biography, conjuring and selfhood in Victorian literature and culture’. It explores the autobiographies of nineteenth-century magicians and the analogous representations of fictional magicians and conjuring in Victorian literature, specifically in relation to domesticity, criminality and identity. I also consider the superfluity of magical imagery in the works of typically realist Victorian authors, such as Anthony Trollope.

The main focus of the autobiographical aspect of my thesis is Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, one of the first celebrity magicians of the nineteenth century, alongside other prominent Victorian conjurers, such as John Henry Anderson and John Nevil Maskelyne. I explore the manipulation of their legacies through memoirs, and how this may affect concepts of selfhood in conjunction with the inherent deception involved in performance magic. More widely, my research interests range from Fantasy (my MA dissertation examined Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast series as NeoVictorian texts) to Romanticism.

I teach on undergraduate modules in the CSL, am a peer reviewer for Victorian Network, and a member of the interdisciplinary Supernatural Cities project.




  • Victorian fiction;
  • Conjuring and magic;
  • Occulture;
  • Romantic and Symbolist poetry;
  • Magical Realism;
  • Fantasy fiction

Research clusters:

  • Culture and Community
  • Body Politics