Lucy Sixsmith, Trinity

Degree: PhD
Course: 1830-PD
Supervisor: Dr Ruth Abbott
Dissertation Title: The Bible as a Material Text in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Biographical Information

I obtained my BA in English from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2010, and an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in 2011. I then trained to teach English as a foreign language, and taught for four years in Moscow, Russia, and for one year in Reggio Calabria, Italy. I returned to Cambridge in 2016 for an MPhil in Modern and Contemporary Literature and stayed on for a PhD.

Research Interests

My PhD project is about the Bible and bibles in history and literature, in nineteenth-century Britain and beyond. I am interested in: the variety of bibles printed, handled, bought and sold, and carried around the world; signs of use, annotations, marked-up bibles, typographical experiments; reading practices, memorising practices, literacy, education; the British and Foreign Bible Society; readers of the Bible in and out of literary texts; bibles extant in archives, and archiving practices; cutting, dividing, excerpting, binding and re-binding bibles; the Bible as a limit case for material texts; the Bible in its context within the social history of nineteenth-century Christian communities.

I also like to think about the possible uses of techniques from English Language Teaching in literary-critical practice, believing that the habits of language analysis employed by teachers and students of English could be beneficial to literary scholars. I am interested in pedagogical practice, how learning happens, language acquisition, and the representation of learner English in literature.

More broadly (very broadly) I am interested in: literature and faith; verse technique and poetic form; the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novel; reading practices, composition practices, drafts, revisions and annotations; the history of scholarship; environmentalism; Christian feminism; comedy and wit; T. S. Eliot, George Eliot, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Geoffrey Hill, and other writers not connected by similar-sounding names. 

Areas of Supervision

I have co-supervised a Part I dissertation on Christina Rossetti, and presented a graduate lecture on the English phonemic chart.

I would love to supervise undergraduate work on nineteenth-century topics and/or at the intersections of literature, faith and material texts. I would also like to gain experience in teaching practical criticism classes, perhaps drawing on my ELT training to develop students' language analysis skills, to help them handle grammar, lexis and phonology with confidence and accuracy in close reading.

I am especially keen to encourage mature students and international students, and I'd love to talk to students considering ELT as a profession, or anyone with interests similar to mine: please drop me an email if you'd like a chat.