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Tara MacDonald

Chair and Associate Professor


Brink 230



Mailing Address

English Department
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1102
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1102

Tara MacDonald teaches nineteenth-century British literature and women’s literature.

  • Ph.D., English Literature, McGill University, 2008
  • M.A., English Literature, Queen’s University, 2002
  • B.A. Honours, English Literature, Dalhousie University, 2001

Tara MacDonald joined the English Department at the University of Idaho in 2015 after teaching at the University of Amsterdam for five years. Her work focuses on nineteenth-century literature, gender, and emotion. She is currently completing a book on Victorian sensation novels and historical understandings of affect. Tentatively titled Body Reading: Narrative, Affect, and Victorian Sensation, it argues that sensation fiction was not only an emergent popular genre, but was a key part of a cultural conversation about free will, emotion, and the body in the 1860s.

Her first book, The New Man, Masculinity and Marriage in the Victorian Novel (Routledge, 2015), explored literary representations of the New Man, the male counterpart to the feminist New Woman. It argued that the New Man, though derided in the fin de siècle popular press, was imagined as a utopian figure by many New Women writers who saw him as a model of gentle, caring masculinity. She co-edited, with Anne-Marie Beller, Rediscovering Victorian Women Sensation Writers (Routledge, 2014). She co-organized the 2016 International Conference on Narrative in Amsterdam and is a member of the Executive Board of the Narrative Society.

  • Affect and Emotion
  • British Literature
  • Narrative Theory
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Women’s Writing

Books and Special Issues:

  • The New Man, Masculinity and Marriage in the Victorian Novel. Routledge, 2015. 
  • Rediscovering Victorian Women Sensation Writers: Beyond Braddon. Co-edited with Anne-Marie Beller. Routledge, 2014.
  • Beyond Braddon: Re-Assessing Female Sensationalists. Special Issue of Women’s Writing. Co-edited with Anne-Marie Beller. 20.2: 2013.
  • Neo-Victorianism and Feminism: New Approaches. Special Issue of Neo-Victorian Studies. Co-edited with Joyce Goggin. 6.2: 2013. 

Recent Articles and Book Chapters:

  • "Bodily Sympathy, Affect, and Victorian Sensation Fiction." A feel for the Text: Affect Theory and Literary Critical Practice. ED. Stephen Ahern. Palgrave, 2019. 121-38.
  • “The New Man’s Body in Ménie Muriel Dowie’s Gallia.” The Male Body in Victorian Literature and Culture. Ed. Joanne Parsons and Ruth Heholt. Edinburgh University Press, 2018. 65-83.
  • “Neo-Victorian Feminist History and the Political Potential of Humour.” Neo-Victorian Humour: Comic Subversions and Unlaughter in Contemporary Historical Re-Visions. Ed. M.L. Kohlke and Christian Gutleben. Brill, 2017. 170–91.
  • “Class and Gender in the Brontë Novels.” The Blackwell Companion to the Brontës. Ed. Diane Hoeveler and Deborah Denenholz Morse. Blackwell, 2016. 485-99.
  • “‘The Heroine of a Modern Sea Epic’: The New Woman Adventuress in Grant Allen’s The Type-Writer Girl.” Middlebrow and Gender, 1880-1930. Ed. Christoph Ehland and Kate MacDonald. Rodopi, 2016. 121-37.
  • “Sensation Fiction, Gender and Identity.” The Cambridge Companion to Sensation Fiction. Ed. Andrew Mangham. Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • “‘She’d give her two ears to know’: The Gossip Economy in Ellen Wood’s St. Martin’s Eve.” Economic Women: Essays in Desire and Dispossession in Nineteenth-Century British Culture. Ed. Lana L. Dalley and Jill Rappoport. Ohio State University Press, 2013.
  • “Introduction to Beyond Braddon: Re-Assessing Female Sensationalists.” (with Anne-Marie Beller) Women’s Writing. 20.2 (2013): 1-10. 
  • “The Failure of the New Man: Masculinity in The Odd Women.George Gissing and the Woman Question: Convention and Dissent. Ed. Christine Huguet and Simon J. James. Ashgate, 2013.
  • “Introduction to Neo-Victorianism and Feminism: New Approaches.” (with Joyce Goggin.) Neo-Victorian Studies. 6.2: 2013.
  • “Teaching Dracula in The Netherlands.” Victorian Review. Forum on Teaching Literature in Global Locations. 38.1 (2012)
  • “Doctors, Dandies and New Men: Ella Hepworth Dixon and Late-Century Masculinities.” Women’s Writing. Special issue on Ella Hepworth Dixon. Ed. Valerie Fehlbaum and Georgina O’Brien Hill. 19.1 (2012): 41-57.
  • “‘Vulgar Publicity’ and Problems of Privacy in Margaret Oliphant’s Salem Chapel.” Critical Survey. Special Issue on Other Sensations. Ed. Janice Allan. 23.1 (2011): 25-41.

  • Body Reading: Narrative, Affect, and Victorian Sensation (monograph in progress)

  • Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Idaho, 2019
  • ORED RISE Arts and Humanities Project Grant for Imagined Futures, Feminist Past, 2019
  • Seed Grant Award for Narrative, Emotion, and the Victorian Sensation Novel, University of Idaho, 2017-18
  • Summer Research Grant, University of Idaho, for travel to Amsterdam and London, 2016
  • Grant from the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for workshop on Emotion and Subjectivity (1300-1900), co-organized with Kristine Johanson, 2014
  • Faculty Enrichment Grant, International Council for Canadian Studies, 2011
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2008-2010
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, 2005-2007
  • Slava Klima Prize for Overall Excellence in Doctoral Program, McGill University, 2005

English Department

Physical Address:
200 Brink Hall

Mailing Address:
English Department
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1102
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1102

Phone: 208-885-6156


Web: English