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Professor Pat Waugh

Professor Emerita

Professor Emerita in the Department of English Studies
Fellow of the Institute for Medical Humanities


Professor Patricia Waugh was Head of Department of English Studies from 2005-2008. She joined the department in 1989 and has been a professor since 1997. She was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2016. Herspecial interests are in twentieth-century literature, relations between modernism and postmodernism, women’s writing and feminist theory, utopianism, literary criticism and theory, and literature, philosophy, medicine and science. She has taught special topic and MA modules on: postmodernism reading modernism; post-war fiction; utopias and utopianism; literature, philosophy and the self; Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury; Science, Rhetoric and the Novel. She has given numerous public lectures and international conference papers in these areas. She is interested in contemporary fictional writing and was a member of the Northern Arts Literature Panel (now North-East Arts) and is a founding fellow of the English Association. She was on the RAE2008 and REF2014 panels. She has been a PI on the Leverhulme Tipping Pointsproject which reeived £1m funding to 2013 and she has been a co-I on the Wellcome Trust funded Hearing the Voice project which recieved £1m funding and is a co-colaborator on phase two of the Hearing the Voice project which recieved funding of £3m from the trust and commenced in 2015.

She has published numerous articles and books in these areas. She gave the British Academy Inaugural Lecture on the Novel in 2014 and served as a nominator and assesor for the Yale Literature Prize in 2014.She has also written for The Lancet, The Guardian, The Conversation,eg.,contributed to the Chief Scientific Adviser's Report to the Govenment on Science in 2015 arguing the case for the importance to scientific development of the humanities.

She has successfully supervised doctoral dissertations on: postmodern fiction and language disorder; apocalypticism in twentieth century literature; literature and cognitive science; the two cultures debate; fantasy writing and debates about culture; Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury; Margaret Atwood and Canadian feminism; the encyclopaedic novel in America after Joyce; Doris Lessing; post-war fiction and the political imagination; Eliot, Joyce and Music; madness and women’s writing in the twentieth century; post-war women’s writing in Britain and Japan; female friendships in modern fiction; Virginia Woolf and cognitive science; Lawrence, phenomenology and the Body; censorship and twentieth-century fiction; contemporary engagements with the body; minimalist aesthetics and literary theory; E M Forster and Bloomsbury and the challenge to ocularcentrism; the metaphor of the demon in science, philosophy and literature since the nineteenth century; twentieth century literature and narrative representations of the afterlife; Virginia Woolf and Thomes de Quincy ); Orwell and Bakhtin (with Dr Jason Harding); Doris Lessing and object realtions theory; Woolf, women's writing and canonicity; The Faust myth and American fiction; medical humanities and literary texts; post-war fiction; cognitive science and the novel; love and aesthetics; Beckett and Eliot; plagiarism amnd literature; posthumanism and Coetzee; Golding and cognitive science; ethics of care and women's writing. She has examined 90 PhDs.

She is currently writing a monograph on Virginia Woolf's Voices, exploriung the relations between experiments with voice in Woolf's writing and her experience as a voice hearer and drawing on interdisciplinary research on voice across literary studies, anthropology, medicine, psychiatry, neuroscience, narratology and philosophy. She is also completing a book with Mark Botha on Critical Transitions: Geanealogies of Intellectual Change, exploring the various inerpretations of the 'tipping point metaphor' as a way of thinking about radical change in intellectual and disciplinary contexts.

Research interests

  • Utopianism and dystopianism
  • Virginia Woolf
  • aesthetics and literary theory
  • literature and psychoanalysis
  • literature and science
  • literature in its social and political contexts 1960-1990
  • medical humanities
  • modernist and postmodernist writing
  • women's writing in the twentieth century


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