Dr Alice Wood

Job: VC2020 Senior Lecturer in English

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Research group(s): English Research, Centre for Textual Studies

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 2577198

E: alice.wood@dmu.ac.uk

W: http://dmu.ac.uk/InstituteofEnglish


Personal profile

Alice Wood joined the English department at De Montfort University in 2014. Her research and teaching centre on twentieth-century and contemporary literature with particular focus on British modernism and its cultural contexts, periodical studies, women's writing and feminist theory. She is the author of Virginia Woolf’s Late Cultural Criticism (Bloomsbury, 2013), a genetic survey of Woolf’s late works, and several articles on Woolf’s literary and cultural criticism. Her second monograph, Modernism and Modernity in British Women's Magazines (Routledge, 2020), considers  the relationship between modernism and its diverse publics through a survey of middle-class women's periodicals of the interwar period. Her current research concerns Woolf's revisions to the '1910' and '1911' sections of The Pargiters/The Years.

Alice welcomes PhD applications in modernist studies, Woolf studies, modern periodical studies, and interwar women's magazine and literary culture. 

Research group affiliations

English Research
Centre for Textual Studies

Publications and outputs

  • Creating and Reflecting Desire: Interwar Magazines and Advertising
    dc.title: Creating and Reflecting Desire: Interwar Magazines and Advertising dc.contributor.author: Wood, Alice
  • Late Works (1933-1941)
    dc.title: Late Works (1933-1941) dc.contributor.author: Wood, Alice
  • Fiction for the Woman of To-day: The Modern Short Story in Eve
    dc.title: Fiction for the Woman of To-day: The Modern Short Story in Eve dc.contributor.author: Wood, Alice dc.description.abstract: This chapter explores short fiction published in Eve, later Eve: The Lady's Pictorial, a magazine directed to 'the woman of to-day and tomorrow' in print between 1921-29. This elite English women's paper was avowedly modern in outlook - debating new social roles for women, new ideas about psychology and sexuality, changing relations between the sexes and modernist aesthetics - at the same time as upholding traditional values such as respect for class hierachy and marriage within its routine content of society gossip columns, fashion pages, travel writing and reviews of new books, art exhibitions and theatre. This chpater shows how the tension between modernisty and convention was also reflected in the magazine's short stories, which ranged from formulaic and conservative plots to experimental and subversive narratives. It reads stories by familiar and forgoteen authors, including Elizabeth Bowen, Joyce Anstruther, Marthe Troly-Curtin and Radclyffe Hall, that, in more or less radical ways, probed new models of femininity and new models for heterosexual relationships.
  • Women, Magazines and the Politics of Shopping: Holtby, Jameson and Woolf
    dc.title: Women, Magazines and the Politics of Shopping: Holtby, Jameson and Woolf dc.contributor.author: Wood, Alice dc.description.abstract: Shopping was a vital part of the housewife’s work in the interwar era, an activity extending from her domestic identity as homemaker but realized through economic participation in the public sphere. Directed by the consumer capitalism that sustained them, interwar women’s magazines like Good Housekeeping (UK) portrayed the modern female shopper as rational, informed, and empowered by her consumer choices. This article explores responses to consumer capitalism that trouble this ideal by Winifred Holtby, Margaret Storm Jameson and Virginia Woolf in the pages of Good Housekeeping. It demonstrates the different ways these three prominent interwar women writers critiqued consumerism in essays published in this highly commercialized periodical. Jameson drew attention to the pervasive power of advertising in ‘Money is not Happiness’ (March 1929) and ‘Advertising as a Career for Women’ (August 1928), a contribution to Good Housekeeping’s serial careers column. Holtby considered the relationship between consumption and social class in ‘The Sable Standard’ (March 1932). In ‘The Docks of London’ (December 1931) and ‘Oxford Street Tide’ (January 1932), Woolf examined the exploitative workings of imperial trade and the capitalist illusion of the democratic availability of goods. Each of these writers, I argue, urged Good Housekeeping’s readers to engage critically with the politics of shopping. dc.description: The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Modernism and Modernity in British Women's Magazines
    dc.title: Modernism and Modernity in British Women's Magazines dc.contributor.author: Wood, Alice dc.description.abstract: This book explores responses to the strangeness and pleasures of modernism and modernity in four commercial British women’s magazines of the interwar period. Through extensive study of interwar Vogue (UK), Eve, Good Housekeeping (UK), and Harper’s Bazaar (UK), Wood uncovers how modernism was received and disseminated by these fashion and domestic periodicals and recovers experimental journalism and fiction within them by an array of canonical and marginalized writers, including Storm Jameson, Rose Macaulay, Gertrude Stein, and Virginia Woolf. The book’s analysis is attentive to text and image and to interactions between editorial, feature, and advertising material. Its detailed survey of these largely neglected magazines reveals how they situated radical aesthetics in relation to modernity’s broader new challenges, diversions, and opportunities for women, and how they approached high modernist art and literature through discourses of fashion and celebrity. Modernism and Modernity in British Women’s Magazines extends recent research into modernism’s circulation through diverse markets and publication outlets and adds to the substantial body of scholarship concerned with the relationship between modernism and popular culture. It demonstrates that commercial women’s magazines subversively disrupted and sustained contemporary hierarchies of high and low culture as well as actively participating in the construction of modernism’s public profile.
  • Magazines, Movements, Modernism
    dc.title: Magazines, Movements, Modernism dc.contributor.author: Wood, Alice
  • Review of Natasha Periyan, The Politics of 1930s British Literature: Education, Class, Gender. Historicizing Modernism
    dc.title: Review of Natasha Periyan, The Politics of 1930s British Literature: Education, Class, Gender. Historicizing Modernism dc.contributor.author: Wood, Alice
  • 'Housekeeping, Citizenship, and Nationhood in Good Housekeeping and Modern Home'
    dc.title: 'Housekeeping, Citizenship, and Nationhood in Good Housekeeping and Modern Home' dc.contributor.author: Wood, Alice dc.description.abstract: This article interrogates the framing of women as citizens through domestic work in two interwar women's magazines. Directed towards an aspirational lower-middle-class female audience, George Newnes's Modern Home identified homemaking as women's chief role and service to the nation and explicitly addressed its readers as English or British citizens. The National Magazine's Company's Good Housekeeping was solidly middle class in outlook with an undertone of internationalism in the interwar period. This magazine conversely insisted on women's citizenship both within and outside the home and urged its housekeeping readers to consider their values, responsibilities and potential power as citizens in international as well as national terms.
  • Review of Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, ed. Anne E. Fernald
    dc.title: Review of Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, ed. Anne E. Fernald dc.contributor.author: Wood, Alice
  • Review of Clara Jones, Virginia Woolf: Ambivalent Activist (Edinburgh UP, 2015)
    dc.title: Review of Clara Jones, Virginia Woolf: Ambivalent Activist (Edinburgh UP, 2015) dc.contributor.author: Wood, Alice dc.description.abstract: Virginia Woolf: Ambivalent Activist makes an important and exciting contribution to the ongoing critical reassessment of the politics of a writer frequently portrayed as apolitical in her lifetime and for several decades after her death in 1941. In an early critical study, David Daiches argued that ‘Virginia Woolf remained on the whole outside politics, content to justify her position implicitly and unanswerably by her creative work’. Since the late 1970s, critics have steadily dismantled this image of Woolf as an isolated aesthete by exposing her novels’ critiques of patriarchy, imperialism and fascism, and the social and political commentary of her essays, letters, diary and unpublished writings. Yet, the perception of Woolf as standing outside of organised politics persists, in large part due to her own numerous statements of suspicion, distrust and distaste towards formalised social and political organisations. Critics have long known of Woolf’s 1910 letter to Janet Case offering to address envelopes for the suffrage campaign, for example, or her role in arranging speakers for the Richmond branch of the Women’s Co-operative Guild; but these activities and others have often been seen as reluctant or sceptical concessions to social and political work. The details of Woolf’s involvement in such activities have received remarkably little attention. Clara Jones’s book significantly addresses this omission by uncovering the circumstances and particularities of Woolf’s participation in four social and political organisations: Morley College, the People’s Suffrage Federation, the Women’s Co-operative Guild and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. From this research a new portrait emerges of Woolf as activist, if profoundly ambivalent in that activism and highly sensitive to the competing impulses of altruism, egoism, philanthropy and didacticism commonly at play within social and political movements. This book rescues Woolf’s ambivalent activism from obscurity and places it side-by-side with her writing. In addition, through its careful historical research, it offers fresh perspectives on a series of twentieth-century institutions and campaigns. (Extract from item. For full text please see published review at: http://journals.sagepub.com/toc/laha/25/2)

Click here to view a full listing of Alice Wood's publications and outputs

Key research outputs

Modernism and Modernity in British Women's Magazines (Routledge, 2020).

'Housekeeping, Citizenship, and Nationhood in Good Housekeeping and Modern Home', in Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-39: The Interwar Period, ed. Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green and Fiona Hackney (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018), pp. 210-24.

'Modernism, Exclusivity, and the Sophisticated Public of Harper's Bazaar (UK)', Modernist Cultures, 11: 2 (2016): 370-88.

‘Facing Life as We Have Known It: Virginia Woolf and the Women’s Co-operative Guild,’ Literature & History 23: 2 (2014): 18-34.

Virginia Woolf's Late Cultural Criticism: The Genesis of The Years, Three Guineas, and Between the Acts (Bloomsbury, 2013).

‘Made to Measure: Virginia Woolf in Good Housekeeping Magazine.’ Prose Studies 32: 1 (2010): 12-24. 

Research interests/expertise

  • Twentieth-century literature
  • Modernism
  • Women’s magazines
  • Virginia Woolf

Areas of teaching

  • 20th and 21st Century Literature
  • Modernism
  • Feminism and Gender Studies
  • Contemporary Poetry and Fiction


BA (Hons) English Language and Literature (University of Oxford)

MA Literary Studies (University of Wales, Aberystwyth)

PhD, English Literature (De Montfort University)

Courses taught

  • ENGL2026 20th Century Literature
  • ENGL3086 Modernism and Modernity
  • MA English

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the British Association of Modernist Studies, Modernist Studies Association, Women’s History Network and International Virginia Woolf Society

Conference attendance

  • 'Working with Virginia Woolf's Manuscripts', Textual Editing Lab/English Literature Research Seminar, University of Glasgow, 15 January 2020. Invited Speaker.
  • 'Modernism, Celebrity and Domesticity: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in Harper's Bazaar (UK)', Troublesome Modernisms: BAMS International Conference, London, 22 June 2019. Panel paper.
  • '"This is England": Nationhood and Internationalism in the "1911" chapter of The Years', Virginia Woolf, Europe, and Peace, University of Kent, 22 June 2018. Panel paper.
  • 'Women, Magazines, and the Politics of Consumption,' Interwar Women Writers: Politics, Citizenship, Style, King's College London, 1 June 2018. Invited speaker.
  • 'Writers, Readers and Feminist Experimentalism in Interwar Women's Magazines', Twentieth-Century British Periodicals: Words and Art on the Printed Page, 1900-99, Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, 4 July 2017. Plenary speaker.
  • 'Trending Modernism in British Vogue and Harper's Bazaar', Modernist Studies Association 17th Annual Conference, Boston, USA, 21 November 2015. Panel paper.
  • ‘Modernism, Novelty and Familiarity in British Women’s Magazines,’ Modernism Now! Institute of English Studies, University of London, 28 June 2014. Panel paper.
  • Invited speaker, ‘Virginia Woolf and Good Housekeeping,’ Modernist Magazines Research Seminar, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, 12 December 2013; available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LufiKFYMrg
  • ‘Modernism in the Mainstream: British Women’s Magazines,’ Modernist Studies Association 15th Annual Conference, University of Sussex, 30 August 2013. Panel paper.
  • ‘Restless Furniture: Memory Spaces in Ruth Klüger’s Still Alive,’ Trauma & Memory: The Holocaust in Contemporary Culture, University of Portsmouth, 12 July 2013. Panel paper.
  • Invited speaker, ‘The Woolfs and the Women’s Co-operative Guild,’ Leonard Woolf Society Inaugural Symposium, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Senate House, 24 May 2013.
  • Invited speaker, ‘Vision and Revision: The Textual Genesis of Virginia Woolf’s “A Sketch of the Past,”’ Northern Modernism Seminar, De Montfort University, 11 May 2012.

Professional esteem indicators

Member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Woolf Studies Annual

I have acted as a peer reviewer for Variants: The Journal of the European Society for Textual Scholarship and for Cambridge University Press.

Case studies

Review of a public talk on ‘Women’s Magazines, 1910-1940: Modernity and Modernism’ for the Woodstock Literature Society at Woodstock Library on 2 July 2014.