Comedy, Caricature & the Social OrderBrian joined LJMU English in September 2012 as a part-time Professor of the History of Print. His long teaching career has taken him to wide range of HE institutions including polytechnics, colleges of higher education, and both pre- and post-1992 universities. His central role now is concerned with research, although he does contribute to both post-graduate and undergraduate teaching. His research interests are focussed on the nineteenth century, especially mass circulation, popular and illustrated literature, and he has published widely on a broad range of topics, although more recently he has concentrated his interests on Victorian periodicals and early nineteenth century visual culture. Brian is an extremely experienced supervisor and examiner at Ph.D and M.Phil level, and would welcome applications from students especially on topics concerned with mass circulation Victorian literature and popular culture.

A frequently invited speaker at universities and scholarly events in both Europe and North America, Brian is a Visiting Scholar at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, where he has taught an annual residential seminar for doctoral students for over ten years. He is Vice President the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, and a Core Member of the European Society for Periodicals Research. He is a co-convenor of the North West Print Culture Workshop. He is a member of the Editorial Boards for Victorian Periodicals Review, Victorian Institutes Journal, Early Popular Visual Culture and the Manchester Region History Review. He has been a visiting speaker at many British, American and European Universities recently including the University of Miami, Parsons New School, New York and Freiburg University.


Brian is currently writing a detailed study of the artist and engraver Robert Seymour, who was the first illustrator of Dickens’s Pickwick Papers. He is also completing several essays on Victorian periodical illustration for books on the 19th. century press and an extended study of Hogarth’s presence in Victorian popular culture.



  • Comedy, Caricature and the Social Order 1820-1850 (Manchester University Press 2013).
  • Dusty Bob – A Cultural History of Dustmen 1780-1870 (Manchester University Press 2007).
  • Reading Popular Prints 1790-1870 (Manchester University Press 1996).
  • The Poorhouse Fugitives: Self-Taught Poets and Poetry in Victorian Britain (Manchester Carcanet Press 1987)

Recent essays and book chapters include

‘Beyond Pickwick: Seymour’s Sketches and Regency Print Culture’ in ed. W.Baker Studies in Victorian and Modern Literature: A Tribute to John Sutherland (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press 2015), 141-152.

‘The Satirical Image – Politics and Periodicals 1820-1837’ in ed. A.Kramers and E.Reich Loyal Subversions: Caricatures from the Personal Union between England and Hanover 1714-1837 (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht 2014) 163-182.

‘Imagining the Cockney University – Humorous Poetry, the March of Intellect and the Periodical Press 1820-1840’ in Victorian Poetry Vol 52, No. 1 (Spring 2014) 21-39.

‘The Persistent Regency – The Presence of the Past in Victorian Illustrated Comic Literature’ in ed. Barbara Korte and Doris Lechner History and Humour: British and American Perspectives (Bielefeld: transcript Verlag 2013) 21-47. History in Popular Cultures series, vol. II.

‘Beyond Ephemerality and Usefulness – The Discursive Almanac 1828-1860’ in ed. S.Jung British Literature and Print Culture’ (Boydell and Brewer ‘Essays and Studies’ volume for 2014), 158-194.

Henry Heath’s ‘The Caricaturist’s Scrapbook’ (1840) Victorian Review Vol. 38, No. 2 (Fall 2012) 13-18.

The Presence of Punch in the Nineteenth Century’ in ed. Hans Harder and Barbara Mittler Asian Punches: A Transcultural Affair (Berlin, Heidelberg and New York: Springer Verlag 2013)15-46.

‘Influence, Presence, Appropriation – Ruskin and the Periodical Press’ in ed. Keith Hanley and Brian Maidment Persistent Ruskin (Ashgate 2013).

‘Writing History with the Digital Image – A Cautious Celebration’ in ed. Toni Weller History in the Digital Age (Routledge 2012), 110-126.

‘Pickwick On Pots – Transfer Printed Ceramics and Dickens’s Early Illustrated Fiction’ in Dickens Quarterly Vol. 28, No. 2 (June 2011) 121-130.

‘Dinners or Desserts? – Miscellaneity, Knowledge and Illustration in Magazines of the 1820s and 1830s’ in Victorian Periodicals Review vol. 43, no. 4 (Winter 2010) 353-387.

‘Graphic Bric a Brac – Comic Illustration between 1820 and 1850 as a Source for Historians’ in Keywords 8 (2010) 76-93.

‘Subversive Supplements – Satirical Magazine Title Pages in the 1830s’ in Victorian Periodicals Review Vol 43, No. 2 (Summer 2010) 133-145.

‘Serials, Journals and Magazines 1780-1830’ Chapter in ed. M.Suarez and M. Turner, The Cambridge History of the Book 1660-1830 Cambridge U.P 2009) 498-512.

‘The Illuminated Magazine and the Triumph of Wood Engraving’ in ed. L. Brake and M.Demoor, The Lure of Illustration in the Nineteenth Century – Picture and Press (Palgrave Macmillan 2009) 17-39.

Ed. L.Brake and M. Demoor, The Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism (British Library, Academia and Proquest [online version]). Associate editor, and author of over 100 entries mainly on illustration, artists and artisan journals.

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