Professor John Plunkett

Research interests

My main research interests are print and visual media between 1800-1910. I'm especially interested in popular fiction, optical devices and shows, new technologies, the periodical press, and journalism and book history. My first book, Queen Victoria - First Media Monarch was published by Oxford University Press in 2003. It examined the influence of the development of popular media upon the character of the British monarchy. I continued my work on print media through two co-edited collections with Professor Andrew King. The first of these is a three-volume reference set, Popular Print Media 1820-1900, was published by Routledge in 2004. The second, Victoria Print Media: A Reader was published by Oxford University Press in 2005. In collaboration with a number of Victorianist colleagues at Exeter, I was lead editor on the multi-authored Palgrave Sourcebook to Victorian Literature (Palgrave, 2011).

My current work is on nineteenth-century moving projected and 3D images, and examines panoramas, dioramas, peepshows, stereoscopy and the magic lantern, as well as a host of other optical devices and shows. I have published a number of articles and chapters in this area. In 2007, I published Multimedia Histories: From the Magic Lantern to the Internet (2007), a co-edited collection of essays with James Lyons, on the history of new media and the way nineteenth-century visual technologies related to contemporary media. In 2008, my colleague, Joe Kember, and myself were awarded £204,000 from the AHRC for a research project, Moving and Projected-Image Exhibition in the South-West 1820-1914. This project mapped the exhibition of visual shows in a number of selected south-west locations between 1820 and 1914. One output from the project is the volume, Popular Exhibitions, Science and Showmanship 1820-1910 (Pickering and Chatto, 2012), which was co-edited with Joe Kember and Jill Sullivan. We also have a multi-authored book forthcoming, Picture Going: Visual Shows 1820-1914.

I was also scholarly editor for a digital resource published by Adam Matthews in 2012, based on the archives of the Bill Douglas Museum, entitled 'Moving Pictures, Optical Entertainments and the Advent of the Cinema'. It consists of 35,000 images drawn from items in the Bill Douglas Collection. Click here for details,

In 2012, I was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship for further work on optical devices and recreations, and am working on a second book made up of case studies of individual media.

I'm interested in supervising research students in any of the above areas.