Professor Paul Young

Research interests

In my research career to date I have taken a lead in showing how critical consideration of ‘globalization’ can illuminate the way scholars understand Victorian literature, culture and society. My first book, Globalization and the Great Exhibition: The Victorian New World Order, argued that the Great Exhibition of 1851 was a decisive moment in the formation of a capitalist world picture that became extensively and durably embedded in Victorian society, that was transmitted throughout the nineteenth-century world, and that has exerted a strong hold over global politics and culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Since then I have published essays and articles considering how a range of literary and cultural forms – from Dickens’s novels to the Gothic mode to the Adventure story to geographical board games – can be understood with relation to nineteenth-century Britain’s global expansion. An Andrew W. Mellon fellowship at the Huntington Library in 2010 enabled me to carry out research on the relationship between nineteenth-century literature and technologies of globalization, particularly with regard to the overseas expansion of Victorian railways.

I am currently researching and writing a monograph entitled Carnivorous Empire: Adventure Fiction and the Global Growth of Britain’s Meat Markets, 1865-1915. The book explores adventure fiction as culturally significant, socially pervasive literature that excited as well as reflected the various attitudes, expectations, hopes and fears that arose as ever larger numbers of British people looked to distant parts of the earth to put meat on their tables. Carnivorous Empire is contracted to Johns Hopkins University Press and scheduled for publication in 2021. Funding from the Wellcome Trust allowed me to lead an international, interdisciplinary symposium entitled ‘Protein Pressures and Carnivorous Crises: Human Health, Animal Welfare and the Global Growth of C19th and C21st Meat Markets’ in 2018.

Away from the subject of Victorian globalization, I have published work on Charles Dickens and Political Economy, Modernist literature and the world system, and co-edited a double special issue of the journal Literature Interpretation Theory entitled Neo-Victorianism: The Politics and Aesthetics of Appropriation. Together with colleagues from Exeter’s Centre for Victorian Studies I edited Victorian Literature: A Sourcebook (