Tracey Madeley Jones

Tracey Jones was born with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita a condition that affects all the joints and results in severe mobility problems. During the seventies, it was not common for disabled children to attend a traditional high school (it is now), but Tracey was too intelligent to go to a non-academic institution. Being placed in a lower tier class prevented her from taking Ordinary Level English Literature at 16, as the teacher felt the Shakespeare would be too difficult. In college, she passed her Advanced Level Literature with a little catching up on some of the basics.

She studied Law at Essex University and was a Master of Moots (legal debates) and a DJ for two years on student radio. After graduation, she decided not to pursue law as a career and on returning home eventually obtained a job with the Civil Service, where she worked for many years. Promotion from the entry-level job, within the local office, proved elusive, therefore, she developed her academic abilities by studying in the evenings for a degree in Literature and then a master's with the Open University. Following redundancy in 2020, she applied to Keele University to study for a Ph.D. in Literature.

The proposed Ph.D. thesis examines emotion in 18th Century British Gothic Literature. It is estimated around 200 authors, mainly women, wrote novels at the end of the century, but many are unknown, largely due to the establishment of a traditional male canon. These women often wrote as a route to financial independence, at a time when most occupations were closed to them.

The 18th Century was a period of great change with the birth of the novel (Robinson Crusoe), the development of the domestic novel (Richardson) which encouraged women writers, novels of sensibility (The Sorrows of Young Werther), the gothic novel (The Castle of Otranto), and novels of fantasy (Gulliver’s Travels), along with the assertion of political rights by Wollstonecraft, Paine and Godwin, following both the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and The French Revolution (1789-99). Driving this increase in novel writing were lending libraries, the Lady’s Magazine, and publishers such as the Minerva Press.

Post pandemic more firms are embracing the possibility of working from home and this will bring more opportunities for disabled people to find paid employment. From a writing perspective, there are freelance opportunities available working from home and with a little training and copywriting work. Since 2020 Tracey has worked for an educational firm in Australia, a publishing company in Pakistan, and currently a research company in London, all from home. She occasionally writes guest blogs and book reviews for different sites and has self-published three novels on Amazon.

She married her husband 18 years ago in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. They both share a love of books, ranging from literature, history, and philosophy, to sociology, psychology, and politics. Both are supporters of the fight against climate change and neither of them eats meat. They live in North Wales with their two cats, Joplin and Fleur, after having lost Hendrix some years ago.

Articles by Tracey Madeley Jones

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