Modern and Contemporary

The Modern and Contemporary research group focuses on literature and culture from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st. The group's wide-ranging expertise runs from the fin de siècle to contemporary poetry, with particular strengths in the areas of Modernism, including T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf; women’s writing and gender studies; crime fiction; contemporary critical theory; modern and contemporary poetry; British and American theatre; Scottish literature; science fiction and fantasy; war writing; literature of the 1940s; British cinema and music.

Modern and contemporary books


The group and its members have recently attracted funding from the AHRC, the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust, the Carnegie Trust, the Hosking Houses Trust, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh for projects including The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Virginia Woolf, a new biography of T. S. Eliot, ‘Developing the Douglas Dunn Archive’ (held at Special Collections, University of St Andrews Library), ‘War, Postwar and “Peace”: A literary history of the 1940s’ and ‘Edwin Morgan’s use of Old English’.

Postgraduate community

The group is home to a thriving postgraduate community, with staff and students involved in the organisation of conferences both within the University and in collaboration with other institutions. Postgraduates in the school are encouraged to organise research events, for which there is dedicated funding available.

Recent events include the Crime Fiction Masterclass, the interdisciplinary 'Sexualities In and Out of Time' conference, conferences dedicated to the work of David Mitchell and T. S. Eliot, the Opera and the novel seminar, the inaugural meeting of WAR-Net and the Forum for Modern Language Studies Colloquium with Elizabeth Bronfen, Emma Wilson and Lucia Ruprecht; the first conference dedicated to the work of Maggie Gee, and an international conference on the Harry Potter phenomenon.

Research Projects

The group is home to a number of significant research projects and its members are also actively involved in a range of networks and collaborative ventures.

  • The Cambridge University Press edition of Virginia Woolf - Professor Susan Sellers and Dr Emma Sutton are involved the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Virginia Woolf, a massive undertaking that presents the most authoritative, most fully collated and annotated texts of Woolf's works available to scholars to date
  • WAR-Net - Professor Gill Plain is the co-founder and co-ordinator of WAR-Net, an interdisciplinary, transhistorical network for scholars working on any aspect of war and representation.