Dr Lloyd Meadhbh Houston, Trinity




Biographical Information

I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Faculty of English and a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher at Trinity College. My work explores the cultural politics of sexual health, queer history and culture, and the history of erotica and obscenity, with a particular focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Originally from County Down in the north of Ireland, I read English at the University of Oxford, where I also completed my master's and doctorate. Prior to joining the faculty at Cambridge in 2023, I held a Banting fellowship at the University of Alberta, and taught at Oxford, Goldsmiths, the University of West London, and the London Centre of Fordham University.

Alongside my academic research and teaching, I also engage in outreach and consultancy around gender diversity and trans inclusion for schools, charities, and arts organizations, co-host the podcast Censored, and occasionally moonlight as a gaming journalist.

I am a queer, non-binary person, and take they / them pronouns.

Research Interests

Sexual health; censorship and obscenity; modernisms; middle-brow and popular culture; queer culture and history; Irish culture and history

My first monograph, Irish Modernism and the Politics of Sexual Health (OUP, 2023), explored the ways in the ways in which authors, politicians, and activists in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Ireland harnessed debates over sexual hygiene, venereal disease, birth control, fertility, and eugenics to envisage competing models of Irish identity, culture, and political community. In the process, it demonstrated the ways in which a medicalized conception of sex informed the intellectual trajectories of a range of major and minor Irish writers (Yeats, Synge, Shaw, Joyce, Beckett, George Moore, Oliver Gogarty, Kate O'Brien, Flann O'Brien), and shaped the emergence and development of both Irish modernism and the modern Irish state.

My current research project, Sexual Health Beyond Modernism: Early Twentieth-Century Literary Culture and the Medicalization of Sex, seeks to document how ‘popular’ and ‘middle-brow’ culture in Britain, North America, and the Caribbean responded to the emergence of sexual health as a concept, discourse, and subject of debate in the first half of the twentieth century. In doing so, it aims to chart how different audiences were addressed concerning sex and its relationship to health in this period, what role literature and drama played in shaping their sexual knowledge, and how notions of healthy and unhealthy sex came to shape modern conceptions of cultural value.

Selected Publications


Peer-Reviewed Articles

Book Chapters

  • “London” in Sean O’Casey in Context, ed. James Moran (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming, c. 2026).
  • “‘… the real Oxford manner’: Teaching Dubliners on the Foundation Year” in Teaching James Joyce in the Twenty-First Century, eds. Barry Devine and Ellen Scheible (Anthem Press, Forthcoming, c. 2024).
  • “Irish Modernism and the Sexually Pathological Corpse” in The Corpse in Modern Irish Literature, eds. Chris Cusack, Matthew Reznicek, and Aimée Walsh (Liverpool University Press, Forthcoming, c. 2024).
  • “Survival of the Unfittest: Yeats, Synge, and the Rhetoric of Health” in Irish Modernisms: Gaps, Conjectures, Possibilities, eds. Paul Fagan, John Greaney, and Tamara Radak (Bloomsbury Academic, 2021), 115–28.
  • “Dear Dr Kirkpatrick: Recovering Irish Experiences of VD, 1924-47” in Patient Voices in Britain, 1840-1948: Historical and Policy Perspectives, eds. Anne R. Hanley and Jessica Meyer (Manchester University Press, 2021), 255–98.
  • “‘Veni, V.D., Vici’: Flann O’Brien, Sexual Health, and the Literature of Exhaustion” in Flann O’Brien: Gallows Humour, eds. Ruben Borg and Paul Fagan (Cork: Cork University Press, 2020), 146-62.

Selected Journalism and Media