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English and Creative Writing

Photo of Dr Frankie Dytor

Dr Frankie Dytor

Research Fellow


My pronouns are they/them

I am a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow in English, having recently completed my PhD in History of Art at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Prof. Caroline van Eck. I am currently working on turning my PhD research into a book, provisionally entitled Renaissance Resurgent: Aestheticism and the Pursuit of the Living Past. This work explores entanglements between art and life in aesthetic encounters with the culture of the Italian Renaissance.

My next project, with Prof. Jana Funke as my mentor, is entitled Aestheticism, Sexology, and the Making of Trans Feeling, 1870-1930. This explores trans imaginaries developed by figures associated with aestheticism and investigates their importance in the new discipline of sexual science. Centred around the sexologist Havelock Ellis's notion of 'sexo-aesthetic inversion' to describe trans experience and identity, the project writes a new history of fugitive, transitory, and fictive trans life in Britain at the turn of the twentieth century.

I completed my BA and MPhil at the University of Cambridge. During my PhD, I spent a year as a Hanseatic Scholar at the University of Hamburg. My work has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Newton Trust, Lander Trust, Alfred Toepfer Foundation, British Association for Victorian Studies, Association for Art History, and Cambridge Society of Paris. Before starting at Exeter, I worked as a research assistant for Dr Lucy Ella Rose at Surrey University.

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My research interests include:

  • Late Victorian literature and visual culture
  • Aestheticism and decadence in British and transnational contexts
  • Afterlives of aestheticism and decadence in modernism
  • Transgender studies
  • History of sexual science
  • Receptions of the past, especially the Italian Renaissance
  • Art history as a discipline
  • Art's agency and living presence

Figures who I am currently particularly interested in:

  • Michael Field
  • Vernon Lee
  • Maud Cruttwell
  • Edith (Lees) Ellis
  • Irene Clyde (Thomas Baty)
  • Fiona Macleod (William Sharp)

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