Universiteit Leiden

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Michael Newton

University Lecturer

Dr. M.S. Newton
+31 71 527 2165

Michael Newton is a University Lecturer at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society.

More information about Michael Newton

Fields of interest

My research to date situates me as, primarily, a literary and cultural historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and as a genuinely interdisciplinary writer whose work operates across the academic/popular divide. I am particularly interested in: prose fiction from Charles Dickens to Flanery O’Connor, especially the short story; Gothic and ghost stories from Elizabeth Gaskell to Elizabeth Bowen; children’s literature from Lewis Carroll to C. S. Lewis; American and British film from the 1930s to the 1970s; the history and representation of feral children, and theories of ‘the state of nature’; and the history and representation of political violence and assassination from the 1850s to the early 1980s.



I am currently completing an edition of Victorian and Edwardian fairy stories for Oxford University Press. For the near future, I am planning (and have made a start on) further books on cinema history and on the history of political violence. In the longer term, I hope to write a book on literary and cinematic culture and the Second World War.


Curriculum Vitae

I attended state schools in Brighton and Hove. I was both an undergraduate and postgraduate at the Department of English in University College London, where I attained my PhD on The Child of Nature: The Feral Child and the State of Nature. In 1994-95, I was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University. In London, between 1992 and 2003, I taught on a part-time or temporary full-time basis at UCL, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Roehampton University, the University of North London, the Workers Educational Association, The Open University and Birkbeck College’s Centre for Extra-Mural Studies. In 2003-4, I was a visiting lecturer at the Department of English at Princeton University. From 2004-6, I spent two years as a freelance writer based in Berlin. I have worked at Leiden since 2006.


Teaching activities

At Leiden I am responsible for the teaching of nineteenth-century British and Irish literature, and also a course introducing Anglo-American film. I have also strong teaching interests in prose fiction from the 1840s to the 1950s from Britain, Ireland and America, and in Shakespeare. I have convened MA courses on:

  • London in Literature and Film, 1800-2000
  • Gothic Fictions from Poe to David Lynch
  • An Introduction to Comedy
  • The Short Story in English, 1870-1970
  • The Literature of the Fantastic, 1880-1980
  • Alfred Hitchcock


Key Publications


  • October 2012: Age of Assassins: A History of Assassination in Europe and America, 1865-1981 (London: Faber and Faber)(726 pages). (Paperback edition due out in September 2013.)
  • August 2003: Kind Hearts and Coronets (in the BFI Film Classics series) (London: BFI Publishing) (87 pages).
  • February 2002: Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children (London: Faber and Faber); British paperback edition (2003); American hardback edition, St Martin’s Press (2003); paperback edition, Picador USA (2004); German edition, Magnus Verlag (2005); Korean edition, Jung Sim (2003); Latin American edition, Editorial Oceano (2004). (284 pages)

Selected edited books

  • February 2010: The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories: From Elizabeth Gaskell to Ambrose Bierce (London: Penguin) (introduction, selection, notes on the texts, chronology, glossary, endnotes).
  • August 2007: Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent for Penguin Classics (London: Penguin) (introduction, note on the text, appendix, endnotes)

Selected scholarly articles

  • Autumn 2013: ‘“Nihilists of Castlebar!” Exporting Russian Nihilism in the 1880s and the Case of Oscar Wilde’s Vera, or the Nihilists’, in RussiainBritain,1880-1940: From Melodrama to Modernism, eds. Rebecca Beasley and Philip Bullock (Oxford: Oxford University Press). (10,000 words)
  • June 2010: An essay on ‘Lodging’ in film and literature for Restless Cities, eds. Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart) (London: Verso), pp. 173-190. (Other contributors include Rachel Bowlby, Geoff Dyer, Iain Sinclair, Marshall Berman and David Trotter.)


Other publications
I write essay reviews on film and literature for The Guardian, and on occasion for the London Review of Books. In the past, I reviewed regularly for the Times Literary Supplement, and very occasionally for the Times Higher Education Supplement. I have also written an essay on assassination for the New Statesman and various interviews with figures from the arts for Arts International

University Lecturer

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • Moderne Engelstalige letterkunde

Work address

P.N. van Eyckhof 4
2311 BV Leiden
Room number 2.05b



  • inter-university Netherlands Secretary for the Harting Scheme
  • leiden university on the Examencommissie (ALAS) for Literary Studies (MA)
  • leiden university Harting co-ordinator / study-abroad co-ordinator
  • leiden university SAP for English Literature section

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