My research investigates a shared ‘liminality’ (the unstable state between child and adult, human and nonhuman) specifically about working-class female characters in what I call ‘mid-Victorian bourgeois paternalistic literature’ (fiction written by and for the middle class, with bourgeois ideologies as the dominant voice in narration). I explore how the dynamic and contradictory bourgeois ideology of class and gender destabilizes the narrative framing of certain characters.


2019 – Present: PhD in English and Comparative Literary Studies, The University of Warwick.

2017 – 18: MA Comparative Literature, University College London

2013 – 17: BA English, Anhui University


2021: Co-author and Co-translator of ‘Leafing through Ali Smith’s Autumn: A Roundtable Discussion Amongst Young Researchers’ (从阿莉•史密斯小说《秋》看英国脱欧:青年学者圆桌会), New Perspectives on World Literature/ World Literature Recent Developments (外国文学动态研究), 6 (2021), 25–37 <https://caod.oriprobe.com/articles/62413426/cong_a_li__shi_mi_si_xiao_shuo__qiu__kan_ying_guo_.htm>. For the English version, see https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/yvi5bM8avAJL5SCJX9FVng.

Blog Posts

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences


    ·      5 – 8 January 2023 (forthcoming): ‘Dombey and Son and Lover: Class Conflicts between Middle-Class Parents and Working-Class Children’, 2023 Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, San Francisco, US

    ·      1 – 3 September 2022: ‘“To See Is To Be”: (Ad)dressing Class and Gender in Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield (1850) and Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton (1848)’, 2022 British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS) Conference, hosted by the University of Birmingham, UK

    ·      28 – 30 June 2022: ‘First-Person/Third-Person Shift: Narrative Instability and Character Liminality in George Eliot’s Adam Bede’, 2022 International Conference on Narrativethe ISSN’s 37th Annual Gathering, hosted by the University of Chichester, UK

    ·       12 – 14 July 2021: ‘Seeing Jenny Wren as a “Child” Through the Bourgeois Lens: Narrative Distance and Absence in Our Mutual Friend’, The 26th Annual Dickens Society Symposium (virtual due to the pandemic). For the presentation transcript, see Li Liu, ‘Seeing Jenny Wren as a “Child” Through the Bourgeois Lens: Narrative Distance and Absence in Our Mutual Friend’, in The Victorian Web < https://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/omf/liu.html > [accessed 22 September 2021].

    ·      13 – 15 November 2020: ‘A Scandal of a Scandal: Flânerie in Modern Babylon’, 92nd Annual Conference of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA 92) (virtual due to the pandemic)


    ·      11 July, 2020: Co-organiser of Rainbows in Our Windows: Childhood in the Time of Corona, a one-day international, interdisciplinary conference (virtual due to the pandemic). The conference proceedings were collected and edited in a special issue of Issues in English. For more details, see https://englishassociation.ac.uk/no-15-rainbows-in-our-windows-childhood-in-the-time-of-corona/ .

    ·      11 May 2020: Co-organiser of 16th Annual English Postgraduate Symposium, a one-day roundtable showcasing the work of the University of Warwick’s postgraduates in English and Comparative Literary Studies and related disciplines (virtual due to the pandemic)

    Li Liu

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