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: dmu.ac.uk/englishresearch

 

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 current research concerns the relationship between modernism and its diverse publics in British women’s magazines of the interwar period. Her second monograph, Modernism and Modernity in British Women's Magazines, will be published by Routledge.

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 

  • 'Housekeeping, Citizenship, and Nationhood in Good Housekeeping and Modern Home'
    'Housekeeping, Citizenship, and Nationhood in Good Housekeeping and Modern Home' Wood, Alice 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.
  • Modernism, Exclusivity, and the Sophisticated Public of Harper's Bazaar (UK)
    Modernism, Exclusivity, and the Sophisticated Public of Harper's Bazaar (UK) Wood, Alice This article explores the reciprocal relationship between modernism and Harper’s Bazaar (UK) during 1929-35. In its early years this commercial fashion magazine exploited modernism’s perceived exclusivity and highbrow status to flatteringly construct its aspirational readers as culturally sophisticated. Whether printing modernist texts or artworks or parodying their experimental style, early Harper’s Bazaar (UK) promoted the reception of modernist writers and artists as high cultural celebrities, whose presence in the magazine enhanced its cultural value. While insisting on the exclusivity of modernist art and literature, Harper’s Bazaar (UK) simultaneously facilitated the mainstreaming of modernism by commodifying modernist texts and artworks and teaching its readers how to approach them. During the early 1930s, this article argues, Harper’s Bazaar (UK) helped to establish early narratives of modernism’s origins and development while marketing modernism as a desirable, high-end cultural product to its fashion-conscious audience.
  • Review of Clara Jones, Virginia Woolf: Ambivalent Activist (Edinburgh UP, 2015)
    Review of Clara Jones, Virginia Woolf: Ambivalent Activist (Edinburgh UP, 2015) Wood, Alice 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)
  • Modernism in Public
    Modernism in Public Rosenquist, Rod; Wood, Alice N/A
  • Review of The Cambridge Companion to Modernist Culture, ed. Celia Marshik (CUP, 2015)
    Review of The Cambridge Companion to Modernist Culture, ed. Celia Marshik (CUP, 2015) Wood, Alice
  • Modernism and the Middlebrow in British Women's Magazines, 1916-1930
    Modernism and the Middlebrow in British Women's Magazines, 1916-1930 Wood, Alice
  • Review of Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, ed. Anne E. Fernald
    Review of Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, ed. Anne E. Fernald Wood, Alice
  • Review of David Trotter, Literature in the First Media Age: Britain Between the Wars (Cambridge, MA: London: Harvard University Press, 2013)
    Review of David Trotter, Literature in the First Media Age: Britain Between the Wars (Cambridge, MA: London: Harvard University Press, 2013) Wood, Alice
  • Facing Life as We Have Known It: Virginia Woolf and the Women's Co-operative Guild.
    Facing Life as We Have Known It: Virginia Woolf and the Women's Co-operative Guild. Wood, Alice This article explores Leonard and Virginia Woolf's early interactions with the Women's Co-operative Guild and supplies a contextualised analysis of Virginia Woolf's preface to Life as We Have Known It (1931). Written to introduce a volume of autobiographical sketches by Co-operative Guildswomen and published in a variant form in the Yale Review, this essay has generated conflicting debate in Woolf studies. In this article I argue that the essay fictionalises Virginia Woolf's relationship with the Guild, concealing her familiarity with Guild activities to better engage an anticipated middle-class readership and promote frank interrogation of class prejudice.
  • Virginia Woolf's Late Cultural Criticism: The Genesis of The Years, Three Guineas and Between the Acts
    Virginia Woolf's Late Cultural Criticism: The Genesis of The Years, Three Guineas and Between the Acts Wood, Alice After the Modernist literary experiments of her earlier work, Virginia Woolf became increasingly concerned with overt social and political commentary in her later writings, which are preoccupied with dissecting the links between patriarchy, patriotism, imperialism and war. This book unravels the complex textual histories of The Years (1937), Three Guineas (1938) and Between the Acts (1941) to expose the genesis and evolution of Virginia Woolf's late cultural criticism. Fusing a feminist-historicist approach with the practices and principles of genetic criticism, this innovative study scrutinizes a range of holograph, typescript and proof documents within their historical context to uncover the writing and thinking processes that produced Woolf's cultural analysis during 1931-1941. By demonstrating that Woolf's late cultural criticism developed through her literary experimentalism as well as in response to contemporary social, political and economic upheavals, this book offers a fresh perspective on her emergence as a cultural commentator in her final decade and paves the way for further genetic enquiries in the field. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/virginia-woolfs-late-cultural-criticism-9781441102850/#sthash.HSGJMNLp.dpuf

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

Key research outputs

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

'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 (forthcoming 2014): 18-34.

‘Virginia Woolf’s “Two Women,” or, “The Wrong Way of Reading”.’ in Woolf as Reader/Woolf as Critic or, The Art of Reading in the Present, ed. Catherine Bernard (Montpellier: Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2011), pp. 51-60.

‘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

Qualifications

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

MA Literary Studies (University of Wales, Aberystwyth)

PhD, English Literature (De Montfort University)

Courses taught

  • ENGL2016 20th and 21st 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

  • '"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: https://sites.google.com/site/woodstockliteraturesociety/reviews

Alice-WoodWoolfs-Late-Cultural-Criticism_AWood

 

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