Owen Holland

Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature


Owen Holland is a Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature. He is the author of Literature and Revolution: British Responses to the Paris Commune of 1871 (Rutgers University Press, 2022) and William Morris’s Utopianism: Propaganda, Politics and Prefiguration (Palgrave, 2017). His articles have appeared in Textual Practice, ELH, Victorian Poetry, Utopian Studies, Key Words and elsewhere. He is also the editor of The Journal of William Morris Studies, and he published an edited selection of William Morris's political writings with Verso in 2020. Owen took up his lectureship at the University of Edinburgh in 2022, having previously taught at Jesus College in Oxford, UCL and XJTLU. 


University of Cambridge, 2015: PhD in English Literature

University of Sussex, 2010: MA in Critical Theory

University of Cambridge, 2008: BA in English Literature

Research summary

Owen Holland's research pursues historically contextualised and cultural materialist approaches to the literature and culture of Britain during the long nineteenth century. His recent book (Rutgers UP, 2022) examines literary responses to the Paris Commune of 1871, extending earlier work on fin-de-siècle cultural politics by exploring the global contexts of literary production in Victorian Britain. His research on British responses to the Commune encompasses discussion of several writers, including George Gissing, Henry James, H. G. Wells, Eliza Lynn Linton, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Gerard Manley Hopkins, James 'B.V.' Thomson and various others. His earlier monograph draws on a range of critical theorists of utopia to advance a new interpretation of William Morris’s utopianism as a strategic extension of his political writing, arguing that the play of topical and historical allusion in Morris’s utopianism is not merely incidental but structurally crucial to its form and function.

More broadly, he is interested in fin-de-siècle cultural politics, utopian studies, intersections of aesthetics and politics, as well as literary and critical theory. He is currently developing new research projects on 1.) nineteenth-century heliotropic poetics and 2.) the nature of the relationship between utopia and nineteenth-century novelistic realism. 

Project activity

Owen edits The William Morris Society's scholarly journal, and, in this capacity, he has assisted in organising public events. Recent events include a symposium on the Kelmscott Press and its Legacies, held at the St Bride Foundation in London in November 2021.

View all 14 publications on Research Explorer