Mary Jean Corbett

Mary Jean Corbett

University Distinguished Professor of English
Affiliate of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Affiliate of Global and Intercultural Studies

366 Bachelor Hall
Oxford Campus


  • PhD, English, Stanford University, 1989
  • BA, English, Smith College, 1984

Teaching Interests

  • Nineteenth and twentieth century anglophone fiction
  • Victorian literature
  • Women’s writing
  • First-year composition

Research Interests

  • Nineteenth-century English and Irish writing
  • Feminist and postcolonial theory
  • Women’s writing

Selected Publications

  • "Real Figures." Afterword. Replotting Marriage in Nineteenth-Century British Literature, edited by Jill Galvan and Elsie Michie, Ohio State UP, 2018, pp. 229-37.
  • 'The Great War and Patriotism: Vernon Lee, Virginia Woolf, and ‘Intolerable Unanimity.'" Virginia Woolf Miscellany, no. 91, Spring 2017, pp. 20-22.
  • "Behind the Times? Virginia Woolf and 'the Third Generation.'" Twentieth-Century Literature 60 (2014): 27-58.
  • "No Second Friend? Perpetual Maidenhood and Second Marriage in In Memoriam.” ELH 81 (2014): 299-323.
  • "Cousin Marriage, Then and Now.”  Invited essay for Extending Families.  Spec. issue of Victorian Review 39:2 (2013): 74-78.
  • “Two Identities: Gender, Ethnicity, and Phineas Finn.” The Politics of Gender in Trollope: New Readings for the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Regenia Gagnier, Deborah Denenholz Morse, and Margaret Markwick. Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2009. 117-29.
  • Family Likeness: Sex, Marriage, and Incest from Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008. Paperback, 2010.
  • “Orphan Stories and Maternal Legacies in Charlotte Brontë.” Other Mothers. Ed. Ellen Rosenman and Claudia Klaver. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2008. 227-47.
  • “‘The Crossing o’ Breeds’ in The Mill on the Floss.” Victorian Animal Dreams. Ed. Deborah Denenholz Morse and Martin Danahay. Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2007. 121-43.
  • “Husband, Wife, and Sister: Making and Remaking the Early Victorian Family.”Victorian Literature and Culture 35 (2007): 1-19.
  • “Postcolonial Theory and the Case of Castle Rackrent.” Rpt. In Two Irish National Tales: Castle Rackrent, Maria Edgeworth, and The Wild Irish Girl, Sydney Owenson. New Riverside Editions. Ed. James M. Smith. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2005. 391-407.
  • “Performing Identities: Actresses and Authobiography.” The Cambridge Companion to Victorian and Edwardian Drama. Ed. J. Kerry Powell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 109-126.
  • “Between History and Fiction: Plotting Rebellion in Maria Edgeworth’s Ennui.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 57 (December 2002): 297-322.
  • Allegories of Union in Irish and English Writing, 1790-1870: Politics, History and the Family from Edgeworth to Arnold. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  • “Reading Mary Shelley’s Journals: Romantic Subjectivity and Feminist Criticism.” InThe Other Mary Shelley. Ed. Anne K. Mellor et. al. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. 73-88.
  • Representing Femininity: Middle-Class Subjectivity in Victorian and Edwardian Women’s Autobiographies. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Web Publications

Grants and Awards

  • American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship, 2014-2015.
  • Distinguished Scholar Award, Miami University, 2014-2015.

Work in Progress

In Behind the Times: Virginia Woolf in Late-Victorian Contexts (forthcoming in 2020 from Cornell UP), offers a new account of Woolf's multiply mediated outlook on her mid- and late-Victorian predecessors. Through biographical, literary, and cultural analysis as well as archival research, it reconstructs the varied networks in which members of her immediate and extended families participated, demonstrating the imbrication of these networks with those of earlier and later generations. Illuminating how Woolf’s point of view on the past changed over the course of her career, it explores the impact of her writing on modernist constructions of the late Victorians, while also situating the concerns and circumstances of her feminist elders as continuous with, rather than sharply separated from, Woolf’s own persistent preoccupations.