Natalie M. Houston

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Associate Professor

  • Phone: (713) 743-2979
  • Email:
  • Office: 236D Roy Cullen Building

Natalie M. Houston's current research project, Digital Reading: Poetry and the New Nineteenth-Century Archive, uses large scale computational analysis to explore the cultural function of poetry within Victorian print culture. She was the Project Director for the Visual Page, an NEH-funded project to develop a software application to identify and analyze visual features in digitized printed books. She is also a Co-Director and Technical Director for the Periodical Poetry Index, a research database of citations to English-language poems published in nineteenth-century periodicals. She contributes regular columns on productivity, pedagogy, and technology to the ProfHacker blog hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education.


  • Ph.D., Duke University
  • M.A., University of Chicago
  • B.A., University of Virginia

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Current Work in Progress

  • The Visual Page as Interface. Research project.
  • The Field of Victorian Poetry 1840-1900. Research project.
  • Understanding Victorian Poetic Style. Research project.
  • Digital Reading: Poetry and the New Nineteenth-Century Archive.  Book project.
  • Co-Director and Technical Director, Periodical Poetry: an Index of Poetry in Nineteenth-Century Periodicals. Research database. Public launch Spring 2012.  (
  • Augusta Webster Archive. TEI-conformant digital textual edition.

Recent Research Grants

  • NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, $49,955 for The Visual Page, 2012-2013.
  • Martha Gano Houstoun Research Grant in Literary Criticism, $3000 Summer 2011.


  • Lady Audley’s Secret.  By Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Ed. Natalie M. Houston. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2003. (A critical edition for Broadview’s Literary Texts series.)


  • “Towards a Computational Analysis of Victorian Poetics.” Victorian Studies. Forthcoming.
  • “Bibliographic Databases and the ‘Golden Stream’: Constructing the Periodical Poetry Index (co-authored with Lindsy Lawrence and April Patrick). Victorian Review. Forthcoming.
  • “VisualPage: Towards Large Scale Analysis of Nineteenth-Century Print Culture”  (co-authored with Neal Audenaert). 2013 IEEE International Conference on Big Data.  October 2013. 9-16. DOI: 10.1109/BigData.2013.6691665.
  • “Teaching and Learning with the Periodical Poetry Index.” (co-authored with Lindsy Lawrence and April Patrick). Victorian Periodicals Review 45.2 (Summer 2012): 224-227.
  • “Newspaper Poems: Material Texts in the Public Sphere.”Victorian Studies 50.2 (Winter 2008): 233-242.
  • “Order and Interpretation in Augusta Webster’s Portraits.” Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net 47 (August 2007).
  • “Towards a New History: Fin-de-Siècle Women Poets and the Sonnet.” In Victorian Women Poets, ed. Alison Chapman. Essays and Studies vol. 56.  Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell & Brewer, 2003. 145-164.
  • “Affecting Authenticity: Sonnets from the Portuguese and Modern Love.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 35.2 (Fall 2002): 99-121.
  • “Anthologies and the Making of the Poetic Canon.”  In The Blackwell Companion to Victorian Poetry, ed.  Richard Cronin, Alison Chapman, and Antony H. Harrison. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002. 361-377.
  • “Reading the Victorian Souvenir: Sonnets and Photographs of the Crimean War.” Yale Journal of Criticism 14.2 (2001): 353-383.
  • “Valuable by Design: Material Features and Cultural Value in Nineteenth-Century Sonnet Anthologies.”  Victorian Poetry 37 (Summer 1999): 243-272.
  • “Arabella Shore and Louisa Shore.” In Victorian Women Poets, ed. William B. Thesing.  Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol 199.   Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1999.  259-268.
  • “George Eliot’s Material History: Clothing and Realist Narrative.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 29.1 (Spring 1996): 23-34.

Selected Invited Lectures                                                                       

  • “Poems on the Page: Reading the Visual Codes of Victorian Books.” Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Kansas, October 2013.
  • “A Change of Scale: Victorian Poetry and Digital Reading.” Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar, University of London, July 2013.
  • “The Visual Page: Digital Reading and Victorian Poetry's Cultural Codes.” Nineteenth-Century Research Seminar, Baylor University, October 2012.

Selected Recent Presentations

  • “What Does Style Really Mean? A Comparative Analysis of the Poetry of Christina Rossetti and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.” Modern Language Association, Chicago, January 2014.
  • “Alt.”  Part of the roundtable session “Teaching outside the Classroom through Digital Humanities: Alt-Academic Feminism.”  Modern Language Association, Chicago, January 2014.
  • “Towards a Computational Analysis of Victorian Poetics.”  North American Victorian Studies Association, University of Southern California, October 2013.
  •  “Reading the Visual Page of Victorian Poetry.” Digital Humanities 2013, University of Nebraska, July 2013.
  • “Understanding Bibliography Differently Through Data Visualization.” Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, University of Salford (UK),  July 2013.
  • “New Tools for Understanding Victorian Poetry as a Cultural Field.”  Victorian Poetry: Forms and Fashions, West Virginia U, April 2013.
  • “Visualizing the Cultural Field of Victorian Poetry with Network Graphs.”  North American Victorian Studies Association, U of Wisconsin, September 2012.
  • “Making Numbers Meaningful: Visualizing Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Presence in Victorian Periodicals.” Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, U of Texas, September 2012.
  • “Digitally Reading Poetry Within Victorian Media Culture.” Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada, U of Victoria, May 2012.
  •  “What Can ‘Digital Reading’ Tell Us About the Material Places of Victorian Poetry?” Modern Language Association, Seattle, January 2012.
  • “Beyond Expanding the Canon: What ‘Digital Reading’ Can Tell us About Victorian Poetry.” North American Victorian Studies Association, Vanderbilt U, November 2011.

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Graduate Courses 

  • ENGL 6311 Bibliography and Research Methods
  • ENGL 7365 19th-Century Preseminar
  • ENGL 7396 Special Topics: Introduction to Digital Humanities
  • ENGL 8360 Victorian Novel Seminar: Problems in Realism
  • ENGL 8361 Victorian Poetry Seminar: Formal Innovation and Renovation
  • ENGL 8361 Victorian Poetry Seminar: The Victorian Long Poem
  • ENGL 8361 Victorian Poetry Seminar: Gender and Genre
  • ENGL 8361 Victorian Poetry Seminar: The Pre-Raphaelites 
  • ENGL 8391 Dissertation Prospectus Workshop
  • ENGL 8398 Special Problems: Textual Editing in the Digital Environment
  • ENGL 8398 Special Problems:  A History of the Encylopedia

 Undergraduate Courses

  • ENGL 2320 The Book and Beyond
  • ENGL 3301 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • ENGL 3316 Literature of the Victorian Period
  • ENGL 3318 British Novel after 1832
  • ENGL 3323 History of Theory and Criticism
  • ENGL 3362 Women in Literature
  • ENGL 3396 Special Topics: Classic Gay and Lesbian Fiction
  • ENGL 3396 Special Topics: Gay and Lesbian Literature after Stonewall
  • ENGL 4378 Women Writers
  • ENGL 4390 Professional Internship
  • ENGL 4396 Special Topics: Speculative Science Fiction
  • ENGL 4398 Special Problems: Transgender Identity

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