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Dr Helen Chambers

Profile summary

Professional biography

After graduating  in medicine with first class honours from Monash University, Australia I followed a postgraduate career path as a specialist pathologist and pathology researcher,  for over 30 years in Canadian, Australian, and UK university hospitals, including  as visiting senior lecturer (2004-5) at Imperial College, London.  In 2006  I made a radical career change, gaining an MA  Lit (Open) with distinction in 2008, followed   by a PhD (Open) in 2014,  with a thesis on an evidence-based investigation into Joseph Conrad's  reading. Since 2015 I have since been an Honorary  Associate in the English Department, a member of the project group of the Reading Experience Database UKRED and of the Book History Research Group now HOBAR (History of the Book and Reading ) Research Collaboration and actively involved with hisory of reading research at UK and European level.

Research interests

These include

  • Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, and André Gide as readers
  • other late 19th-early 20th century English and French literary and travelling multilingual readers (and translators) and in Edwardian reading networks
  • maritime cultures of reading and writing
  • fictional representations of reading and material texts 
  • bibliotherapy and potential collaboration in medical humanities projects specifically  interfaces of  literature and medicine. 

Teaching interests

I have no formaL teaching role at present but I am interested in demonstrating the linkage of literary study with book history/history of reading, and in training UKRED conributors. 

External collaborations

Maritime Cultures of Reading (Universities of Bristol and Heidelberg)

EuRED project now READ-IT


Conrad's Reading: Space, Time, Networks (2018-04)
Chambers, Helen
New Directions in Book History (NDBH)
ISBN : 978-3-319-76486-3 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan, Cham | Published : London

The Torrens as a Space of Writing, Reading, and Performance (2022-01-01)
Chambers, Helen
In: Liebich, Susann and Publicover, Laurence eds. Shipboard Literary Cultures: Reading, Writing, and Performing at Sea. Maritime Literature and Culture (pp. 185-210)
ISBN : 978-3-030-85338-9 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Cham

‘Le traducteur E. M. (une femme)’: Conrad, The Hueffers and the 1903 Maupassant translations (2016-08-15)
Chambers, Helen
In: Becquet, Alexandra and Davison-Pégon, Claire eds. Ford Madox Ford’s Cosmopolis: Psycho-geography, Flânerie and the Cultures of Paris. International Ford Madox Ford Studies (15) (pp. 155-173)
ISBN : 978-90-04-32837-2 | Publisher : Brill Rodopi | Published : Amsterdam

“Fine-Weather Books”: Representations of Readers and Reading in Chance (2015-11-24)
Chambers, Helen
In: Simmons, Allan H. and Jones, Susan eds. Centennial Essays on Conrad's "Chance". Conrad Studies (9) (pp. 98-115)
ISBN : 978-90-04-30899-2 | Publisher : Brill Rodopi | Published : Leiden & Boston

‘“A Sort of Still Uproar”: Conrad’s Reading of Periodicals’ (2013)
Chambers, Helen
Conrad First, The Joseph Conrad Periodical Archive, Uppsala, Sweden.