Professor Jane Thomas

Professor of Victorian and Early 20th Century Literature/ Head of Subject for English and Creative Writing

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education

01482 465643

Professor Thomas is an internationally-recognised expert and author of several book and articles on the life and work of Thomas Hardy.

Her media appearances include Radio 4's In Our Time and Woman's Hour, BBC 2's Great British Railway Journeys and BBC 4's Books that Made Britain.

Professor Thomas also publishes on Victorian sculpture and visual arts, modern and contemporary women's writing, and literature and place.

Her research has been funded by the British Academy and the AHRC, she was appointed Research Fellow of the Henry Moore Institute in 2013 and she has been Academic Director of the International Thomas Hardy Conference since 2010.


Research Interests

  • The life and work of Thomas Hardy

  • The literature of place

  • Modern and contemporary women writers including Beryl Bainbridge, Penelope Mortimer, Caryl Churchill, Carol Ann Duffy, Michele Roberts and Irene Handl

Research groups

  • The Thomas Hardy Society

  • The Henry Moore Foundation

  • AHRC-funded 'Being Human' project investigating the relationship between Hull-born writer Hubert Nicholson and Sunk Island which inspired his 1956 novel Sunk Island.

  • British Academy-funded Cambridge edition of Thomas Hardy's A Pair of Blue Eyes


Thomas J, Thomas Hardy and Desire: Conceptions of the Self, Palgrave (2013).

Thomas J, Thomas Hardy, Femininity and Dissent: Reassessing the ‘Minor’ Novels, Palgrave (1999).

Thomas J, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Hamo Thornycroft’s The Mower (1884) and Matthew Arnold’s ‘Thyrsis’ (1866)’, in Ekphrastic Encounters: New Interdisciplinary Essays on Literature and the Visual Arts, eds. Meek R and Kennedy D, Manchester University Press, pp. 169-184 (2017)

Thomas J, ‘The Mower, The Sower and The Mayor: Thomas Hardy and Hamo Thornycroft, Encounters and Affinities’, Word and Image, special issue onLiterature and Sculpture at the Fin de Siècle (forthcoming 2017)

Thomas J, ‘“The Chant of Magic Words Repeatedly”: Gender as Linguistic Act’, in The Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy: Choosing Tough Words, (ed) Michaelis A and Rowland A, pp 121-142, Manchester University Press (2003)

Full list


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • The 1890s: Race, Class and Gender (level 6 specialist ‘research’ option)

  • Dissertation (level six)

  • Thomas Hardy Special Study (level six)

  • The Victorians: Secrets and Lies (level five)

  • Introduction to Poetry

  • Victorian Literature and the Visual Arts (level seven)

Research PhDs

Prof Thomas welcomes applications in the life and work of Thomas Hardy; modern and contemporary women's writing; literature and the visual arts; mid to late Victorian literature.

Completed PhDs

  • Sue Kennedy, 'Sleeping Beauty'? Elizabeth Taylor and her Peers (2017)

  • Ellie Cope, Mapping the Mind: Men, Madness and Masculinity in Victorian Fiction (2015)

  • Sarah Berry, Cults, Sororities and Fraternities in Fin de Siècle Literature (2012)

  • Claire Drewery, Women Modernists and the Short Story (2007)

  • Julie Ellam, Love in the Novels of Jeannette Winterson (2003)

  • Amanda Greenwood, Representations of Femininity in the Novels of Edna O’Brien 1960-1996 (1999)

Current PhD supervisions

  • Jackie Goodman, Architectural Symbolism in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Literature

  • Andrew Hewitt, Thomas Hardy and the Emotions

  • Rebecca Devine, Philip Larkin: Epistolary Performances

  • Helen Alexander, Thomas Hardy and Music

  • Rachel Allen, Financial Environments and Ecological Incentives in Poetry: A Creative-Critical Investigation

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • Research Fellow of the Henry Moore Institute (2013-14)

  • PhD, Women in the ‘Minor Novels of Thomas Hardy: Social Conditioning versus Biological Determinism’, University of Hull (External Examiner: Dame Professor Gillian Beer, Girton College, Cambridge)

  • BA (Hons), University of Hull