Dr Bethany Layne

Job: Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Research group(s): Centre for Adaptation Studies

Address: De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester, UK

T: 0116 250 6559

E: bethany.layne@dmu.ac.uk


Personal profile

I joined De Montfort University as a Senior Lecturer in English Literature in September 2017. My primary research interest is Henry James’s legacy in contemporary fiction, including biographical novels and appropriative literature. I am also interested in the writing and legacies of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath. My monograph, Henry James in Contemporary Fiction: The Real Thing was published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2020. My interviews with David Lodge, Colm Toibin, and Susan Sellers are published in Conversations with Biographical Novelists: Truthful Fictions Across the Globe (Bloomsbury, 2018), and I am the editor of Biofiction and Writers' Afterlives (Cambridge Scholars, 2020)

I welcome PhD applications from students interested in James, Woolf, Plath, biofiction, adaptation and appropriation.

Research group affiliations

I am a member of the Centre for Adaptations

Publications and outputs

Key research outputs

Henry James in Contemporary Fiction: The Real Thing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)

Biofiction and Writers' Afterlives (Cambridge Scholars, 2020)

Research interests/expertise

Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, biofiction, adaptation, appropriation

Areas of teaching

Poetry; critical reading and writing skills; contemporary fiction; adaptation 


  • BA (Hons) English Studies (University of Nottingham, 2008)
  • MA Twentieth Century Literature (University of Leeds, 2009)
  • PhD Modern to Contemporary Literature (‘(Post) Modernist Biofictions: The Literary Afterlives of Henry James, Virginia Woolf, and Sylvia Plath’) (University of Leeds, 2013)

Courses taught

  • Approaches to Reading and Writing
  • Poetry and Society
  • Millennial World Fiction
  • The 21st Century Global Franchise: Adapting the Wizarding World
  • English Research Methods (MA)
  • Putting Methods into Practice (MA)

Professional licences and certificates

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 

Conference attendance

"Adoring Isabel: Extending The Portrait of a Lady in John Banville’s Mrs Osmond" at The Association of Adaptation Studies 13th Annual Conference, The University of Amsterdam, 2018.

‘‘Bibliofaction’’ as Adaptation and Return’ at The Association of Adaptation Studies 12th Annual Conference, De Montfort University, Leicester, 2017

 Postmodernist Biofiction (Co-organiser with Dr Madeleine Davies), University of Reading, 2017

 ‘Better Never than Late: The Absence and Origins of the Major Phase in David Lodge’s Author, Author and Colm Tóibín’s The Master’ at Late and Later James, Lamb House, Rye, 2016.

'“Great Poets Do Not Die”: Maggie Gee’s Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (2015) as Metaphor for Contemporary Biofiction’, at Virginia Woolf and Heritage, the 26th Annual Conference on    Virginia Woolf, Leeds Trinity University, 2016

‘“The price of adaptation may be very high”: Jamesian Transmission in Michiel Heyns’s Invisible Furies (2012)’ at Reading Henry James in the Twenty-First Century: Heritage and Transmission, The American University of Paris, 2016

Consultancy work

Area of Expertise: Henry James, Biographical and Appropriative Literature; currently available

Current research students

Julian Pinnick; second supervisor

Professional esteem indicators

I have acted as a reader for the journals ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews, English Studies in Africa, and a/b: Auto/Biography Studies.

Case studies

My article 'Why we still have a fear of the dark' was published in the newspaper on on 16th October 2020, and I have written two pieces for The Conversation, on the BBC adaptation of Malory Towers, and on the Netflix series The Haunting of Bly Manor.