Wanne Mendonck, St John's

Degree: PhD
Course: 1830-PD
Supervisor: Dr Marcus Waithe
Dissertation Title:

Nature and the Agency of Literature: Writing Holistically among the Ethical Left, 1880-1914


Biographical Information

I obtained my BA in English and Latin from KU Leuven, Belgium. I then did an MA in Western Literature at the same university, graduating in 2017 with a thesis on feminism and the politics of the short story 1890-1910. In 2018, I graduated with an MPhil in Modern and Contemporary English Studies from the University of Cambridge, with a dissertation on epistemology and botany in Darwin, Ruskin, and Swinburne. 

Research Interests

Victorian and Edwardian literature, literature and the environment (ecocriticism, sort of), late nineteenth-century ethical socialism and the 'New Life', the 'Back to the Land' and 'Back to Nature' movements, cultural authority and authorial persona, literature and politics (especially 1880-1914), performativity and literary activism, Olive Schreiner, Edward Carpenter, Henry Salt, John Ruskin, Louisa Bevington. Figures of secondary interest include (at the moment) Edith Lees, Walt Whitman, William Morris, Darwin, Spencer, Kropotkin, Shelley and Thoreau.

Other areas of interest, outside current research: the Victorian animal, New Woman and suffrage literature (especially short fiction - George Egerton, Evelyn Sharp, Ella D'Arcy, Ella Hepworth Dixon), the botanical (trees, flowers and fruit), aestheticism, the short story (Fin-de-Siècle and Modernist), nineteenth-century children's literature, Meredith's poetry, Grant Allen, the Grossmiths, nonsense (Carroll, Lear), classical reception, The Yellow Book and magazine culture, Victorian fairy tales.

Areas of Supervision

I'd be very happy to hear from any students working on my areas of interest. From Michaelmas 2019, I'm supervising part II dissertations on late Victorian suffragism and on Hardy and geography.