Dr Clare Walker Gore, Lucy Cavendish




Biographical Information

I am a College Assistant Professor and Director of Studies in English at Lucy Cavendish.

As an undergraduate, I read English at Selwyn, where I went on to study for my MPhil and PhD. Before coming to Lucy, I held a Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity, where I was also a College Lecturer and Director of Studies, and I have also held a lectureship at the Open University.

Research Interests

My current project examines life writing by and about female novelists in the Victorian period, including Elizabeth Gaskell, Margaret Oliphant, Charlotte Yonge, Harriet Martineau, George Eliot and Eliza Lynn Linton. I am particularly interested in how women novelists 'plot' their lives in their auto/biographies, and how they responded to one another's fictional and non-fictional portrayals of women writers' lives.

My previous project, Plotting Disability in the Nineteenth-Century Novel, grew out of my doctoral thesis, and explored the role of disabled characters in the nineteenth-century novel, investigating whether characters' capacity to function in narrative terms is curtailed by the attribution of a social identity based on incapacity. In fact, I found the opposite to be the case: disabled characters perform a host of necesary narrative roles in the Victorian novel, and disability functioned as an enabling concept for nineteenth-century novelists, used to test the possibilities and limitations of the marriage plot, to explore questions of social and narrative justice, and to probe the connection between embodiment and identity. The monograph version mainly focuses on the work of Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Charlotte M. Yonge, Dinah Mulock Craik, George Eliot and Henry James.

More generally, I am interested in the nineteenth-century novel - especially in popular fiction, broadly defined, and in fictions by and about women - in disability studies, and in nineteenth-century cultural history. I mainly teach Part I Papers 1 (practical criticism), 6 (1660-1870), and 7a (1830-1945), and Part II Papers 1 (practical criticism) and 10 (1847-1872). I supervise dissertations on a range of eigtheenth-, nineteenth- and twentieth-century topics.

Selected Publications


  • Plotting Disability in the Nineteenth-Century Novel (Edinburgh University Press, 2019)

Edited Collection

  • Charlotte Mary Yonge: Writing the Victorian Age, co-edited with Clemence Schultze and Julia Courtney (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023)

Critical Edition

  • Dinah Mulock Craik, A Noble Life (Victorian Secrets, 2016)


  • ‘Why don’t he send the girl to the Asylum?’: Adaptation, Disability and the Social Body in Boucicault’s Dot and The Colleen Bawn’, Nineteenth-Century Theatre and Film, 49.2, Special Edition on Dion Boucicault (November, 2022), 126–143
  • ‘Unbroken health and a spirit almost criminally elastic’: Women’s Work and Women’s Bodies in the Autobiographies of Harriet Martineau and Margaret Oliphant”, Women's Writing, 27.4, Special Edition on Women and Labour in the Nineteenth Century (December 2020), 473-483
  • ‘The Additional Attraction of Affliction: Disability, Sex and Genre Trouble in Barchester Towers’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 3 (August 2017), 629-643
  • ‘Noble Lives: Writing Masculinity and Disability in the Late Nineteenth Century’, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 36.4 (September 2014), 363-375
  • ‘“Setting Novels at Defiance”: Novel Reading and Novelistic Form in Charlotte M. Yonge’s The Heir of Redclyffe’, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, 10.1 (Spring 2014)

Book Chapters

  • ‘“My chair is me”: Mobility Devices in the Victorian Novel’, The Oxford Companion to Disability and English Literature, ed. Essaka Joshua (forthcoming from Oxford, 2024)
  • ‘Bodily Suffering and Peculiar Glory: Deafness, Isolation and Identity in the Writings of Harriet Martineau’, in Ear Pieces: Literary Fiction and Hearing Technology, ed. Edward Allen (forthcoming from Routledge, 2024)
  • ‘“They all revolved about her”: Disability, Femininity and Power in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing’, The Routledge Companion to Literature and Feminism, ed. Rachel Carroll and Fiona Tolan (Routledge, 2023),
  • ‘“A lady with a profession”: The Governess, the Invalid, and the ‘Woman Question’ in the Novels of Charlotte M. Yonge’, in Charlotte M. Yonge: Writing the Victorian Age, co-edited with Clemence Schultze and Julia Courtney (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), pp. 85–103
  • ‘“Our Ordinary Lot”: The Cross, the Crutch and the Theology of Disability in the Novels of Charlotte M. Yonge’, in The Figure of Christ in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Elizabeth Ludlow (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), pp. 195-207
  • ‘“Of wonderful use to everybody”: Disability and the Marriage Plot in the Nineteenth-Century Novel’, in The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability, ed. Alice Hall (Routledge, 2020), pp. 120–131
  • ‘“That very ugly saddle”: Disability, Adaptation and Paternal Inheritance in The History of Sir Richard Calmady’, in Lucas Malet, Dissident Pilgrim: Critical Essays, ed. Alexandra Gray and Jane Ford (Routledge, 2019), pp. 52-68
  • ‘“Excluded from a woman’s natural destiny”: Disability and Femininity in Dinah Mulock Craik’s Olive and Charlotte M. Yonge’s The Daisy Chain’, in Reassessing Women’s Writing of the 1840s and 1850s, Adrienne E. Gavin and Carolyn W. de la L. Oulton (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 153-166
  • ‘“The Awful Individuality of Suffering”: Disabled Characterisation in Dinah Mulock Craik’s Olive and A Noble Life’, in The Variable Body in History, ed. Chris Mounsey and Stan Booth (Peter Lang, 2016), pp. 203-229
  • ‘“The right and natural law of things”: Disability and the Form of the Family in the Fiction of Dinah Mulock Craik and Charlotte M. Yonge’, in Queer Victorian Families: Curious Relations in Literature, ed. Duc Dau and Shale Preston (Routledge, 2015), pp. 116-133

Encyclopedia Entries

  • Hopes and Fears’, The Literary Encyclopedia, Vol English Writing and Culture of the Victorian Period 1837-1901, ed. Grace Moore and Gillian Fenwick (2023)
  • ‘Charlotte M. Yonge’ and ‘The Daisy Chain’, in The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women’s Writing, ed. Lesa Scholl and Emily Morris (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)
  • The History of Sir Richard Calmady’, ‘The Pillars of the House’, ‘A Noble Life’, for the annotated online database Nineteenth-Century Disability: Cultures and Contexts (2015)

Review Essays

  • Reading Bodies in Victorian Fiction: Associationism, Empathy, and Literary Authority’, Review of English Studies, 74.314 (April 2023), 370-372
  • ‘Thinking back through her mothers: Virginia Woolf and Nineteenth-Century Women Writers’, Journal of Victorian Culture, 28.2 (April 2023), 337-340
  • Articulating Bodies: The Narrative Form of Disability and Illness in Nineteenth Century Fiction’, Nineteenth Century Contexts, 43.4 (Winter 2021), 507–509
  • ‘“Everybody’s dear, Jane”: Claiming and Contesting Austen’s Legacy in the Victorian Period’, Journal of Victorian Culture, 24.3 (July 2019), 403-406
  • Replotting Marriage in the Nineteenth-Century Novel’, Review of English Studies, 70.294 (January 2019), 376-378
  • ‘From “Afflicted Man” to “Member of an Oppressed and Persecuted Race”: Rethinking Blindness in the Nineteenth Century’, Journal of Victorian Culture, 24.1 (November 2018), 123-127
  • ‘Reconsidering the Familiar: A Fresh Approach to the Victorian Marriage Plot’, Journal of Victorian Culture, 22.2 (March 2017), 277-280
  • ‘The Sensational Eliza Lynn Linton’, Women: A Cultural Review, 27.3 (February 2017), 329-331
  • The Measure of Manliness’, Critical Quarterly, 58.2 (July 2016), 127-130
  • ‘“Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837–1901” at Tate Britain’, 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 22 (July 2016)
  • Reading Victorian Deafness’, Wilkie Collins Journal, 16 (April 2016)
  • ‘Buried Treasure: Rediscovering Forgotten Women Writers’, Women: A Cultural Review, 26.3 (February 2016), 343-346
  • ‘Return to the 1950s: Rachel Cooke’s Her Brilliant Career and the Novels of Mary Renault and Barbara Pym’, Glasgow Review of Books (June 2015)
  • ‘A Life More Ordinary’, Women: A Cultural Review, 26.1 (June 2015), 163-166
  • ‘Writing from the Heart of the House’, Women: A Cultural Review, 25.3 (December 2014), 305-307
  • ‘Coming out of the Attic: Re-examining Disability in Jane Eyre, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, 10.1 (Spring 2014)

Shorter Pieces

  • ‘Reading Bodies in The Woman in White’, English Review (February 2024)
  • ‘Monsters and Martyrs: Disability in Frankenstein and A Christmas Carol’, English Review (January 2023)
  • ‘A Deadly Obsession in Victorian London’, BBC History Magazine (August 2017), 40-43
  • ‘The Amazing Life of Arthur Kavanagh’, BBC History Magazine (March 2016), 28-29


  • The Heir of Redclyffe’, Radio 3, The Essay, 9 February 2023
  • ‘Wilkie Collins and Disability’, Radio 3, Free Thinking, 5 January 2023
  • John Halifax, Gentleman’, Radio 3, The Essay, 16 March 2021
  • ‘Depicting Disability’, Radio 3, Free Thinking, 4 November 2020
  • ‘Margaret Oliphant’, Radio 3, The Essay, 4 March 2020
  • ‘Forgotten Authors’, Radio 3, Free Thinking, 26 October 2017
  • ‘Hearing Voices’, Radio 3, Free Thinking, 6 December 2016
  • ‘George Eliot and Germany’, Radio 3, Proms Extra, 2 August 2016
  • ‘Politician and Pioneer: Writing the Life of Arthur Macmurrough Kavanagh’, Free Thinking Festival, 8 November 2015, and then broadcast on Radio 3, The Essay, 10 November 2015
  • ‘Invalidism in Barchester Towers’, Radio 3, Free Thinking, 4 July 2015