Salena Wiener is a PhD student in English Literature at Simon Fraser University.


Do you have any research interests? What are they? 

I am interested in British Romantic women’s writing, book history, manuscript culture, and gender and sexuality studies. My dissertation will be a dedicated study of women’s fair copy work in the Romantic period. I am interested in how the female body, or the female hand, enters into the production of texts, and considering the gendered (or sexual) labour politics involved. For example, I have been thinking about Claire Clairmont’s fair copy work for Lord Byron and Percy Shelley. 


How did you get involved with the WPHP? 

I had been following the WPHP’s work for many years (having done my MA thesis on Mary Shelley and being more generally invested in researching Romantic era women’s writing and their involvement in print), and I finally met Michelle Levy at a SpokenWeb conference in Montreal. I expressed my interest in getting involved in the project and coming to study at SFU, and the rest is history! I feel very fortunate that it all worked out.


Do you have a favourite entry that you’ve worked on? What is it/why? 

One entry I really enjoyed working on was Antiochus the great: or, the fatal relapse, a tragedy. As it is now acted at the New-Theatre in Lincolns-Inn-Fields. By his majesty’s Servants. Written by Mrs. Jane Wiseman. I had never heard of Jane Wiseman before, but when doing some research to add her to our persons records, I learned that she was a self-educated labouring class woman, and that Antiochus was the first play to be professionally produced in London that was written by a woman of her rank. It is always really fascinating to come across examples of labouring class women participating in the literary sphere in this way.


What is something surprising that you’ve learned while working on the WPHP?

I was tasked with researching bibliographies for canonical women writers in the period, and through that search as I was looking at the Amelia Opie Archive website, I was surprised to come across digitizations of fair copy manuscripts of her work. In my research so far I’ve found that it is rare to have this kind of access to women’s fair copy manuscripts as they are often not digitized, so it was surprising and exciting to learn this existed.


What do you do for fun when you aren’t working on the WPHP?

When I’m not doing my academic or research work, I like to write poetry. I recently published my debut chapbook bodies like gardens with Montreal-based Cactus Press. Right now, having just moved to Vancouver from my hometown Montreal, I am working on some new poems centered around places in Vancouver that I’ve visited, and reflecting on Montreal from afar. 


What is your favourite book and/or film? 

It’s so hard to pick favourites, but I’ve always loved Alice Notley’s long poem The Descent of Alette, and the classic 1951 Alice in Wonderland film.