Economic change through the eyes of 18th and 19th century British writers: Elyssa Campbell researches

TWU's Elyssa Campbell is working to analyze the representation of economic change and economic thought in 18th and 19th century British novels, changes including social mobility, infrastructure, income, living conditions, and access to consumer goods.

This summer, Trinity Western students are pursuing a variety of research endeavours, with the support of federal and University research grant awards.

Elyssa Campbell is one of 11 winners of 2021 TWU USRA awards. She is receiving research supervision from Dr. Tracy Stobbe.

Campbell explains that during the first part of her project, she will compile passages from famous novels that mention economic changes, such as increasing social mobility, infrastructure, income, living conditions, and access to consumer goods. The second part of her research will focus on analyzing these passages to gain insight into broader trends of economic change, and the history of economic thought.

Some questions that guide her research include: Did novelists understand the causes and consequences of the economic changes of their time? Are they optimistic or critical of the change? Is their optimism or pessimism realistic, or is it undermined by some of the economic trends they either intentionally represented or unknowingly included in their novels?

Campbell noted that much literary criticism on 18th and 19th century British novels tends to focus on the negative consequences of the Industrial Revolution, while overlooking the increasing liberty and prosperity that these economic developments produced. Through her research, Campbell hopes to find evidence of the more positive impacts of economic change and growth.

Campbell looks forward to beginning her Professional Year Program at TWU's School of Education this Fall.

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About Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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