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Staff Profile

Professor Patricia Waugh, PhD

Leader of Work Package 5 in Tipping Points Research Project

(email at


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 Groups

Department of English Studies

  • Critical Theory
  • Twentieth-Century Studies

Research Interests

  • 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
  • Utopianism and dystopianism
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Women's writing in the twentieth century

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Waugh, Patricia (2009). Metafiction: the Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Waugh,P (1997). Revolutions of the Word: Intellectual Contexts for the Study of Modern Literature. London: Edward Arnold.
  • Waugh, P (1995). The Harvest of the Sixties: English Literature and its Background 1960-90. Oxford: Oxford UP.
  • Waugh, P (1992). Practicing Postmodernism: Reading Modernism. London: Edward Arnold.
  • Waugh, P (1989). Feminine Fictions: Revisiting the Postmodern. London: Routledge.
  • Waugh, P (1984). Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction. London: Routledge.

Chapter in book

  • Waugh, Patricia (2016). Afterword: Evidence and Experiment. In The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities. Whitehead, Anne, Woods, Angela, Atkinson, Sarah, Macnaughton, Jane & Richards, Jennifer Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 153-160.
  • Waugh, Patricia (2016). Discipline or Perish: English at the Tipping Point and Styles of Thinking in the Twenty-first Century. In Futures for English Studies: Teaching Language, Literature and Creative Writing in Higher Education. Hewings, Ann, Prescott, Lynda & Seargeant, Philip London: Palgrave Macmillan. 19-38.
  • Waugh, Patricia (2016). Memory and Voices: Challenging Psychiatric Diagnosis through the Novel. In Memory in the Twenty First Century: New Critical Perspectives from the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences. Groes, Sebastian London: Palgrave Macmillan. 316-324.
  • Waugh, Patricia (2016). Precarious Voices: Moderns, Moods, and Moving Epochs. In Moving Modernisms: Motion, Technology, and Modernity. Bradshaw, David, Marcus, Laura & Roach, Rebecca Oxford: Oxford University Press. 191-216.
  • Waugh, Patricia (2015). Beauty Rewrites Literary History: Revisiting the Myth of Bloomsbury. In The Recovery of Beauty: Arts, Culture, Medicine. Saunders, Corinne, Macnaughton, Jane & Fuller, David Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 108-128.
  • Waugh, Patricia (2013). The Naturalistic Turn, the Syndrome, and the Rise of the Neo-Phenomenological Novel. In Diseases and Disorders in Contemporary Fiction: The Syndrome Syndrome. Peacock, James & Lustig, Tim Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 17-34.
  • Waugh, PN (2012). 'Iris Murdoch and the Two Cultures: Science, Philosophy and the Novel'. In Irish Murdoch: Texts and Contexts. Rowe, Ann & Horner, Avril Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Waugh, PN (2012). 'The Novel amid other Discourses.'. In The Cambridge History of the English Novel. Caserio, Robert L. & Hawes, Clement Cambridge University Press. 661-677.
  • Waugh, PN (2012). 'Thinking in Literature: modernism and contemporary neuroscience'. In The Legacies of Modernism: Historicising Postwar and Contemporary Fiction. James, David Cambridge University Press. 73-95.
  • Waugh, Patricia (2012). "Did I not banish the soul?" Thinking Otherwise, Woolf-wise. In Contradictory Woolf: Selected Papers from the Twenty-First Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf. Ryan, Derek & Bolaki, Stella International Virgina Woolf Society, Clemson University Press. 23-42.
  • Waugh, PN (2011). 'Kazuo Ishiguro’s Not-Too-Late Modernism'. In Kazuo Ishiguro: New Critical Visions. Groes, Sebastian & Lewis, Barry Palgrave Macmillan. 13-30.
  • Waugh, PN (2011). 'Legacies: from literary criticism to literary theory'. In T. S. Eliot in Context. Harding, Jason Cambridge University Press. 381-394.
  • Waugh, PN (2010). 'Contemporary British Fiction'. In Cambridge Companion to Modern British Culture. Higgins, Michael, Smith, Clarissa & Corner, John Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 115-137.
  • Waugh, PN (2010). 'Muriel Spark and the Metaphysics of Modernity: Art, Secularization and Psychosis'. In Muriel Spark: Twenty First Century Perspectives. Herman, David University of John Hopkins Press. 63-93.
  • Waugh, Patricia (2010). Intellectual History and Twentieth-Century Fiction. In The Cambridge History of the Novel. caseiro, Robert Cambridge: CUP.
  • Waugh, Patricia (2009). 'Critical Theory and the Novel'. In The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction (part of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory). Shaffer, Brian W. John Wiley & Sons Ltd Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Waugh, Patricia (2009). 'Empathy, Affect and the Cosmopolitan in the Novels of Ishiguro'. In Kazuo Ishiguro and the International Novel. Groes, Sebastian
  • Waugh, Patricia (2009). 'The Historical Context of Post-War British Literature'. In The Post-War British Literature Handbook. Cockin, Katharine & Morrison, Jago London and New York: Continuum. 35-37.
  • Waugh, PN (2009). 'Writing the Body in Modernism and Postmodernism'. In The Body and the Arts. MacNaughton, Jane, Maude, Ulrika & Saunders, Corinne Palgrave: Palgrave Macmillan. 131-148.
  • (2008). Revising the Good: Iris Murdoch and the Two Cultures Debate. In
  • Waugh, PN (2007). 'Visceral Perturbations and Human Judgements: Ethics and the Novel'. In On the Turn: The Ethics of Fiction in Contemporary Narrative in English. Aritzi, B & Martinez-Falquina, S Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 20-42.
  • Waugh, P (2006). 'The Woman Writer and the Continuities of Feminism'. In A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction. English, James F. Oxford: Blackwell. 188-209.
  • Waugh, P. (2005). 'Science and Fiction in the 1990s.'. In British Fiction of the 1990s. Bentley, Nick. London: Routledge. 57-77.
  • Waugh, P (2005). ‘Feminism and Writing: The Politics of Culture’. In The Cambridge History of Twentieth-century Literature. Marcus, Laura & Nicholls, Peter Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 600-618.
  • Waugh, Patricia (2001). 'Beyond Mind and Matter: Scientific Epistemologies and Modernist Aesthetics'. In Significant Forms: The Rhetoric of Modernism. Thobo-Carlsen, John Aalborg: 14.
  • Waugh, P. (2001). 'Postmodernism.'. In The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: Volume IX Twentieth-Century Historical, Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives.. Knellwolf, Christa. & Norris, Christopher. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Vol. IX: Twentieth-Century Historical, Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives.: 289-305.
  • Waugh, P (2001). ‘'Think of a Table When You’re not There': The Problem of Knowledge in Modernist Painting and Fiction’. In Literature and the Visual Arts in the Twentieth Century. Carpi, Daniela Bologna: Enzo Editrice. 29-57.
  • Waugh PN (2000). 'Utopias and Utopianism: Political Science, Aesthetic Indeterminacy and the Legacy of Thomas More'. In Utopias. Le Saux, Francoise & Thomas, Neil Modern Language Ser.: GM9: 1-36.

Edited book

  • Waugh, P. (2006). Literary Theory and Criticism: An Oxford Guide.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • David Fuller & Waugh, Patricia (1999). The Arts and Sciences of Criticism. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Journal Article

  • Waugh, Patricia (2015). The Novel as Therapy: Ministrations of Voice in an Age of Risk. Journal of the British Academy 3: 35-68.
  • Waugh, PN (2010). Review of 'The Two Cultures Controversy: Science, Literature and Cultural Politics in Postwar Britain'. Reviews in Contemporary History (Review 849).
  • Waugh, P. (2005). 'Just-So Stories? Science, Narrative, and Postmodern Intertextualities.'. Symbolism: An International Annual of Critical Aesthetics. 6: 223-263.
  • Waugh, P. (2004). Evolution as Redemption? Scientific Fundamentalism and the Crisis of Value in Literary Cultures. Anglistik 15(1): 63-73.
  • Waugh, P. (2003). 'Science and the Aesthetics of English Modernism.'. New Formations. 49: 32-47.

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Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • English Literature & Drama: Postmodernism
  • English Literature & Drama: 20th century literature/literary theory
  • English Literature & Drama: 1960-90 culture, art, literature
  • English Literature & Drama: feminism
  • English Literature & Drama: contemporary writing & cultural ideas
  • English Literature & Drama: science & literature