Helen Goodman is in her third year of a PhD in the English Department at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her thesis is provisionally entitled, ‘Mad Men: Insanity and Masculinity in Victorian Literature and Culture’. This interdisciplinary research examines intersections between literary studies, the history of psychiatry, and gender studies.

Departing from numerous publications on insanity and femininity, this project seeks to illuminate the relatively neglected subject of masculinity. Helen’s work draws on material including fiction (by Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Wilkie Collins, Charles Reade, John Galsway, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and others), psychiatric journals, asylum photographs, etiquette and advice manuals, personal diaries, legal reports and medical case notes from lunatic asylums in the London area (including Holloway Sanatorium, Hanwell Asylum, Colney Hatch Asylum, Bethlem Hospital, Camberwell Asylum, St Luke’s Hospital and Brookwood Asylum).

Helen’s research interests are primarily in nineteenth-century social history, politics, psychology and literature. She is especially interested in the exciting recent developments in medical humanities, including the history of medicine and the history of emotions, and their relationship to masculinity and disability studies. She is also co-coordinator of the Royal Holloway English Research Forum (ERF) and is a critical submissions reviewer for the online journal, Exegesis.

Helen is currently participating in the Language of Access Project. This training programme, funded by the AHRC, focuses on skills for students and early career researchers working on the history of medicine. The workshops are run by King’s College London Archives, the Royal Institution, the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Wellcome Library, providing training and interdisciplinary discussion on the subject of public engagement and making research accessible to wider audiences.

Other profiles:

Royal Holloway





Royal Holloway English Research Forum (ERF) – blog for a series of talks on English and related interdisciplinary subjects given by invited speakers, run jointly with Lia Deromedi.

Gin, Brimstone, Onions and Disease – a light-hearted blog on nineteenth-century culture, run jointly with Jessica Hindes.

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