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Indiana University Bloomington

Joss Marsh

Joss Marsh


Associate Professor Emeritus

Ph.D., U. C. Santa Barbara, 1989
m.Phil., English Literature, 1789-1880, University of Oxford, 1982

Joss Marsh is an archival scholar whose work is driven by two broad interests – in the intersections of "high" and "popular" culture (especially film), and the history of the imagination. She also cares passionately about writing, lecturing, and graduate teacher-training. Her last book Word Crimes: Blasphemy, Culture, and Literature in 19th-Century England (Chicago UP, 1998) was unusual in being described (in the British press) both as "monumental" and as "a page-turner"; she has begun work on a related project, Heretica: Impossible Women, Impious Lives, 1819-1898. However, she is currently embroiled in a second project which began life as a book about Dickens and cinema, but which has turned into a book about Dickens, cinema, and all the popular culture that intervened between, including Victorian melodrama, the late Victorian theatrical star system, celebrity photography, Victorian virtual tourism, and the relationship between performativity and anti-Semitism in Britain. She has lectured and published most recently on "Victorian film," Chaplin, the Imperial reprocessing of Sydney Carton, and the filming of Murnau’s 1922 Nosferatu. With her partner, David Francis, she has also recently both lectured on the Victorian magic lantern & early cinema and recreated actual lantern performances at a range of archives and venues, including the Cinemateca Portuguesa, the Dickens Universe, and the Academy of Motion Pictures. She occasionally subjects herself to theatrical discipline, and is probably the only woman academic ever to have played Scrooge in male drag in a professional theatre.

Selected Publications (click images for more information)


Word Crimes: Blasphemy, Culture and Literature in Nineteenth-Century England (University of Chicago Press, 1998).

Special Issues of Journals:

Inside the Film Archive: Practice, Theory, Canon. Special issue of Stanford Humanities Review (7: 2, 1999).


"Dickens and Film," in The Cambridge Companion to Dickens, ed. John Jordan (Cambridge UP, 2000).

"Spectacle," for A Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture, ed. Herbert F. Tucker, Blackwell (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999) 276-288.

"In a Glass Darkly: Photography, the Pre-Modern, and Victorian Horror," in Prehistories of the Future, eds. Elazar Barkan and Ron Bush, 1995 ( Stanford University Press) 159-71.

"Imagining Victorian London: An Entertainment and Itinerary (Chas. Dickens, Guide)," illustrated article in Stanford Humanities Review, 3: 1, Winter 1993, 67-97. Also presented in Web form by Stanford University and the Dickens Project.

"Dickensian Double Vision: Filming Little Dorrit," illustrated extended article in Dickens Studies Annual, 22, 1993, 239-282.

"Good Mrs. Brown's Connections: Sexuality and Story-telling in Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son," English Literary History, 58: 2, Summer 1991, 405-426.

Media Publications:

Doorway to Dickens, consultant/interviewer, (EDUCATIONAL VIDEO, CO-PRODUCTION OF BBC EDUCATION and the Dickens Project, 1995).

Aspects of Jane Eyre, consultant/interviewer (EDUCATIONAL VIDEO, co-production of BBC Education and the Dickens Project, 1997).

Forging the World of Great Expectations, consultant/interviewer (BBC/BBC Education DOCUMENTARY, 1999).

David Copperfield: Dickens's Favorite Child, writer/interviewer/presenter (BBC/BBC EDUCATION, 2000).


Co-Editor, Victorian Studies, 1999 -
Associate Director, The Dickens Project, 1998-2000
Director, Stanford Film Workshop, 1996-1998

Selected Honors and Awards

IU Summer Fellowship, 2000
A.C.L.S. Fellowship, 1994-95
Stanford University Deans' fellowships, 1994-95
Stanford University Associated Students' Teaching Award, 1998