Tom Ue


Phone: 902-494-3719
Mailing Address: 
Room 2195, McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue
PO BOX 15000, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Romantic and Victorian literature
  • World literature
  • History of the novel
  • Cinema
  • English language
  • Textual editing
  • Digital culture


  • ARCT, Performer (The Royal Conservatory of Music)
  • BA  (University of Toronto)
  • MA  (McGill University)
  • MSc (University of Oxford)
  • PhD (University College London)

Much of my scholarship focuses on the global 19th century, and it explores uninvestigated connections in literary and intellectual history and the persistence of 19th-century concerns in our own times. My principal current monograph project examines Jeremy Bentham’s and Charles Dickens’ understanding and representation of debt. It arrives at a new reading of their cultural-literary connection and, in this process, revises this frequently misunderstood chapter in literary history and the history of legal and political thought. Most often identified as the founder of Utilitarianism, Bentham widely influenced the history of philosophy, economics, political science, law, and literature. Dickens, the most famous novelist of the 19th century and still the most widely read Victorian writer globally, is a pervasive presence not only in literary history, but also in theatre, film, and popular culture; and his fiction is ripe with insights into economic inequalities.

Debt, though ancient, became a particularly visible phenomenon in the 19th century. My project asks: What happens to accountability when creditors sell to others the right to collect their debt? Who is accountable and for how long? What are the ethical complications of unpaid debt? How did print culture help with communicating complex theories? How can they, in turn, help us deal with our current world concerns? My study is especially timely in light of the economic and social disparities intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic that has highlighted the urgent need to build better and more equitable worlds. Debt is of universal importance in modern cultures, and I’m equally interested in present-day manifestations. I am in the process of co-writing, with James Munday, a book about Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One(2011) that traces this more recent American writer’s borrowings from 19th-century romances and that analyzes his treatment of issues such as precarity, addiction, information overload, fatigue, and stress.

My other current research activities arise out of my doctoral research on 19th-century writers and my teaching across diverse fields. My SSHRC-supported Ph.D., which became my first monograph, Gissing, Shakespeare, and the Life of Writing (Edinburgh UP), maps George Gissing’s engagement with, and his responses to studies of, Shakespeare, while revealing how profoundly Victorian culture was shaped by Shakespearean currents. I am editing a major new edition of Gissing’s The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903) for Edinburgh UP, for which I’m seeking the “Approved Edition” seal from the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions. In addition, I am editing a new anthology of essays on Sherlock Holmes for the flagship MLA Approaches to Teaching World Literature series as well as a forum in the journal Victorian Review centred on Teaching “The New Canon.” My recent articles treat exchanges in Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2023), romance in Cline and J. R. R. Tolkien (2023), the trials of Oscar Wilde (2022), depictions of housing as investments in Gissing and Arthur Morrison (2022), and the former’s reading of Nikolai Gogol (2022).

My Victorian Novel (U of Missouri P, 2020), a collection to which I contributed an essay on Gissing and counterfactualism, was ranked “Highly Recommended” by Choice, and it was described by the eminent scholar Sandra M. Gilbert as a possible answer to the crisis in the humanities: “At a moment when the humanities are in the doldrums and theory seems to have withered on the vine, these lively memoirs of richly receptive readings point to a new way forward, an almost Arnoldian compromise between sophisticated thinking and self-aware feeling.” I have contributed 13 entries to London’s East End: A Short Encyclopedia (McFarland, 2022) and seven to The Companion to Victorian Popular Culture (McFarland, 2018)—the last of these was a finalist for the 2019 International Book Awards in the Anthologies: Non-Fiction category. I have earned the prestigious Frederick Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship and a 2022 Dalhousie University President’s Research Excellence Award. I am an Honorary Research Associate at University College London and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. I welcome inquiries on any of my research areas.

Selected Publications


Gissing, Shakespeare, and the Life of Writing. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, Forthcoming. Print.

George Gissing. Liverpool: Liverpool UP, Forthcoming. Print.

Co-Written Book

Co-written with James Munday. The Worlds of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. New York: Routledge, Forthcoming. Print.


George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, Forthcoming. Print.

Edited Collections

Gissing’s Born in Exile and the Fin de Siècle. Special issue of Victoriographies 10.2 (2020): 121-211. Print. Contributors: Rachel Bowlby, Richard Dennis, Constance Harsh, Lynda Mugglestone, Jeremy Tambling, and Tom Ue.

Imagining Sherlock Holmes. Special issue of Journal of Popular Film and Television 45.2 (Jul. 2017): 64-126. Print.


“Eco-Exchanges in Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki (2001).” The Deep: A Companion. Ed. Simon Bacon. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2023. Forthcoming. Print.

Co-written with James Munday. “Tolkien, Cline, and the Quest for a Silmaril.” Methods of Knowing: Historical Research, Creative Writing, and the Past. Ed. Kevin A. Morrison and Pälvi Rantala. New York: Routledge, 2023. Forthcoming. Print.

Co-written with Aaron Eames. “Monstrous Martyrdom: The Trials of Oscar Wilde.” The Routledge Handbook of Victorian Scandals in Literature and Culture. Ed. Brenda Ayres and Sarah E. Maier. New York: Routledge, 2022. 406-22. Print.

“Marcus the Magnificent: Closure and Resolution in Joël Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.” Literary Invention and the Cartographic Imagination: Early Modern to Late Modern. Ed. Monika Szuba and Julian Wolfreys. Leiden: Brill, 2022. 67-77. Print.

Co-written with Alexander Wills. “Toxic Economies: Parasite, Bong Joon Ho (2019).” Toxic: A Companion. Ed. Simon Bacon. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2022. 253-60. Print.

“Investment and Housing in Gissing’s The Unclassed and Morrison’s ‘All That Messuage.’” Critical Essays on Arthur Morrison and the East End. Ed. Diana Maltz. New York: Routledge, 2022. 176-93. Print.

“In Love and War: Gogol’s Taras Bulba and Gissing’s Veranilda.” Notes and Queries 69.1 (March 2022): 44-48. Print.

“Ludus, World Building, and the Prescience of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.” What Is Your Favorite Novel? Ed. Nicholas Lawrence. Special issue of South Central Review 38.2-3 (Summer/Fall 2021): 149-55. Print.

“Commerce, AI, and the Woman Question: In the Shadow of Alice W. Fuller’s ‘A Wife Manufactured to Order.’” Journal of Gender Studies 30.3 (2021): 371-76. Print.

“Debt, Payback, and Economics in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive.” ReFocus: The Films of Albert Brooks. Ed. Christian B. Long. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2021. 226-40. Print.

“Literary Form, Hierarchies, and the Meeting of Two Plots in Patrick Gale’s ‘A Slight Chill.’” Short Fiction in Theory and Practice 10.1 (2020): 43-56. Print.

“Endless Circling, Perpetual Beginning” [On New Grub Street by George Gissing]. My Victorian Novel: Critical Essays in the Personal Voice. Ed. Annette R. Federico. Columbia: U of Missouri P, 2020. 231-46. Print. This essay collection was ranked “Highly Recommended” by Choice.

“Moral Perfectionism, Optatives, and the Inky Line in Besant’s All in a Garden Fair and Gissing’s New Grub Street.Walter Besant: The Business of Literature and the Pleasures of Reform. Ed. Kevin A. Morrison. Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2019. 205-23. Print.

“Troubled Inheritances in R. L. Stevenson’s Kidnapped and Conan Doyle’s ‘The Adventure of the Priory School.’” The Poetics and Politics of Space and Place in Scottish Literature. Ed. Monika Szuba and Julian Wolfreys. Houndmills: Palgrave, 2019. 31-46. Print.

“Indecision, Inaction, and Public Politics in Gissing’s Veranilda.” Self and World. Ed. Monika Szuba and Julian Wolfreys. Special issue of Victoriographies 8.1 (Mar. 2018): 100-19. Print.

Rev. and rpt. in “Personal and Political Fainéance in George Gissing’s Veranilda.” Reading Nineteenth-Century Literature: Essays in Honour of J. Hillis Miller. Ed. Monika Szuba and Julian Wolfreys. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2019. 184-201. Print.

“The Truth Will Set You Free: Implicit Faith in Sherlock and London Spy.” Imagining Sherlock Holmes. Ed. Tom Ue. Special issue of Journal of Popular Film and Television 45.2 (Jul. 2017): 90-100. Print.

Selected Honours

Elected FRHistS (2022)

Selected Awards

SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2020-24)

President’s Research Excellence Award (Emerging Investigator) (2022)

FASS Research Development Fund (2022, 2019)

Research Grant, Gorsebrook Research Institute, Saint Mary’s University (2022)

FASS Undergraduate Research Award (2019)

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (2016-18)

Everett Helm Visiting Fellowship, Lilly Library, Indiana University (2016, 2012)

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2011-14)

Canadian Centennial Scholarship Fund (2011-13)

UCL-Yale Bursary (2012)