Olivia Ferguson

Thesis title: Literary Forms of Caricature in the Early Nineteenth-century Novel


  • M.A. English Literature, University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada)
  • B.A. English Literature (Hons) and Linguistics, McGill University (Québec, Canada)

Responsibilities & affiliations


  • Web administrator for the Marshallese Arts Project
  • Editorial assistant for the new Edinburgh edition of the collected works of Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Member of Scottish Writing in the Nineteenth Century (SWINC)
  • Member of the British Society for Eighteenth-century Studies (BSECS)


  • Coordinator of the James Tait Black Prize for biography (2016-18)
  • Administrative assistant, Centre for the History of the Book (2014-16)
  • Organiser of the postgraduate 19th Century Reading Group (2016-18)
  • Co-organiser of the English Literature postgraduate Work in Progress seminar series (2015-16)
  • Organiser of postgraduate writing groups and retreats, including LLC Writes (2014-16) and EdJoWriWe (2015, 2016)

Undergraduate teaching

  • Tutor for Pre-honours course Scottish Literature 2

Research summary

My doctoral research examines the status of caricature in the literary culture of early nineteenth-century Britain. I test the assumption that graphic caricature and the single-sheet satirical print were central to conceptions and practices of caricature in this period, and distinguish various literary forms of caricature in the published writings and manuscript drafts of Thomas Love Peacock, John Gibson Lockhart, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Walter Scott.

My general research interests include:

  • Caricature portraiture, particularly the work of John Kay
  • Biography and prosopography
  • Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Gothic
  • Satire and parody
  • Book history and bibliography
  • Comics and the graphic novel
  • Textual criticism and critical editorial practice

Current project grants

Wolfson Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities (2014-2017); Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2014-2018)


  • Historicizing Austen's 'Caricatures'. (Forthcoming 2018 in Persuasions On-Line.)
  • Venus in Chains: Slavery, Connoisseurship and Masculinity in The Monk. (Forthcoming 2018 in Gothic Studies.)


  • "The Unwelcome Guest": A Poem on John Kay, Caricaturist. (Forthcoming 2019 in Notes and Queries.)
  • Wellington’s Rats in the Illustrated Devil’s Walk. Notes and Queries 61.1 (2014): 54-56.


  • Camp Ulysses: Versioning, Collation, and the Digital Ulysses at the University of Victoria, 6-15 June 2013. James Joyce Quarterly 49.2 (2012): 217-20.


  • 'This Prented Lible': Poems Answering the Pastoral Admonition. Presented at BSECS 2018, St Hugh's College, University of Oxford, 3-5 January 2018.
  • Historicising Austen's 'Caricatures'. Presented at 'Sanditon at 200' conference: Trinity College, University of Cambridge, 29-31 March 2017.
  • King of the Bean: Saturnalia in Graphic Satires on the Congress of Vienna, 1815. Presented at 'Scotland and France in 1815' symposium organised by Scottish Writing in the Nineteenth Century (SWINC): Edinburgh, 24 March 2017.
  • Gigantic Dwarfs: Caricature and its Discontents in Mary Shelley's Fiction. Presented at 'Romanticism and its Discontents' conference organised by North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR): Berkeley CA, 11-14 August 2016.
  • Lyric, Liberty, and Contaminating Associations in Robert Peddie’s Dungeon Harp. Presented at  ‘Victorian Communities’ conference organised by Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada (VSAWC): Banff AB, 26-7 April 2014.