Anna Vaninskaya

Senior Lecturer


Anna Vaninskaya is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature and a Fellow of the Edinburgh Futures Institute.  She is the author of William Morris and the Idea of Community: Romance, History and Propaganda, 1880-1914 (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), named Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011; Fantasies of Time and Death: Dunsany, Eddison, Tolkien (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), winner of the 2021 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies; and editor and co-translator of London Through Russian Eyes, 1896-1914: An Anthology of Foreign Correspondence (Boydell and Brewer, 2022). She has published over forty articles and book chapters on Victorian and twentieth-century topics including socialism, education, popular reading, historical cultures, immigration and Anglo-Russian cultural perceptions, as well as individual authors such as William Morris, G. K. Chesterton, George Orwell , Victor Serge and Korney Chukovsky.  She has edited special issues of Studies in Scottish Literature, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, the Journal of William Morris Studies, the Oscholars, and 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, and is on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of William Morris Studies, the Bloomsbury Academic Perspectives on Fantasy series, and Oxford Bibliographies Online (Victorian Literature).  She is also the creator of the 'Scotland-Russia: Cultural Encounters Since 1900' archive.  Anna came to the University of Edinburgh in 2010, after holding a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship with the Cambridge Victorian Studies Group and a Junior Research Fellowship in English at King's College, Cambridge.


University of Oxford: Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature (Marshall Scholar)

University of Denver: Master of Arts in English Literature

University of Denver: Bachelor of Arts in English Literature

Responsibilities & affiliations

Deputy Head of English and Scottish Literature

Founding Programme Director of the Edinburgh Futures Institute 'Narrative Futures: Art, Data, Society' MSc.

Undergraduate teaching

  • Literary Studies 2B
  • Reading Theory 2
  • ‘The Making of Modern Fantasy’ (Year 3 Option)
  • ‘George Orwell and the Politics of Literature’ (Year 3 Option)
  • ‘Modern Love: Victorian Poetry and Prose' (Year 4 Core and MSc Option)
  • Disseration supervision

Postgraduate teaching

  • ‘Romanticism and Victorian Society 1815-1900’ (MSc Core)
  • 'The Victorians and the Past' (MSc Option)
  • 'The World of Story: Narrative, Creativity and the Arts' (MSc Core)
  • 'The World as Story: Narrative, Self and Society' (MSc Core)
  • Disseration supervision

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Kunyu Tan - 'The Aesthetics of George Eliot’s Social and Moral Philosophy: Navigating the Relationship between Self and Other'

Mohammed Alqarawi - Nineteenth-Century English Fiction and Travel Literature in the Near East

Past PhD students supervised

Elliott Greene (2023) - '(De)Constructed Binaries: Dialogue and Monologue in Contemporary Popular Fantasy'

Rupert Spurrier (2020) - 'Currents of Hope: Connecting the Socialist Literature of William Morris with The Radical Works of William Cobbett, Robert Owen and Ernest Jones'

Anahit Behrooz (2020) - 'Mapping Middle-earth: Tracing Environmental and Political Narratives in the Literary Geographies and Cartographies of J.R.R Tolkien's Legendarium'

Muireann Crowley (2020) - 'The Hand that traced the First Line of this Ferrago: Cosmpolitan Authorship and Artistry in the Early Novels of Sydney Owenson'

Emily Doucet (2014) - '"Us Poor Singers": Victorians and The Earthly Paradise - Audience, Community, and Storytelling in William Morris' First Success'

Maxim Shadurski (2013) - 'The Nationality of a World State: (Re)Constructions of England in Utopian Fiction'

Simon Mernagh - 'The Irish Weird'

Research summary

Anna Vaninskaya's research focuses on literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially the intersection between literature and left-wing politics; fantasy literature; and Anglo-Russian cultural relations.  Other topics she has worked on include utopia/dystopia; Englishness and patriotism; views of the past, especially in Victorian historical and anthropological writing; working and lower-middle class writing; the 'middlebrow'; children's literature; the history of reading and education; the rise of English; and immigrant writing in Britain. She is interested in intellectual, cultural, and book history, genre, and reception studies, as well as individual authors such as William Morris, Oscar Wilde, H. G. Wells, G. K. Chesterton, Lord Dunsany,  E. R. Eddison, Hope Mirrlees, George Orwell, Victor Serge, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and Ursula Le Guin. She welcomes research proposals in late-Victorian and Edwardian literature and culture, as well as any of the topics listed above.

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

Anna Vaninskaya is working on a new book entitled 'The Left Dissenters: Revolutionary Moods in Literature', focusing on George Orwell, Victor Serge, John Dos Passos, André Malraux, Ignazio Silone, Arthur Koestler and Doris Lessing.

Past project grants

Anna Vaninskaya was PI of the research project 'Scotland and Russia: Cultural Encounters Since 1900', funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh Arts and Humanities Network Award and the University of Edinburgh College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Challenge Investment Fund.