Professor Alexandra Harris

Professor Alexandra Harris

Department of English Literature
Birmingham Professorial Fellow

I enjoy thinking and writing about British art and literature of all periods, especially in relation to landscape, locality and the presence of the past. I am the author of ‘Romantic Moderns’ and ‘Weatherland: Writers and Artists under English Skies’, and my current projects include work on Virginia Woolf; seasonal ceremony and the marking of time; antiquarianism and local history; modern readings of literature from the eighteenth century and before. 


  • DPhil University of Oxford
  • MA Courtauld Institute of Art
  • BA University of Oxford


I studied English at Oxford, European art at the Courtauld Institute, and then (after a very happy time in the drawings department at Christie’s) I wrote my doctoral thesis at Oxford on modernism and tradition in the 1930s and 40s. I began my academic career as a lecturer at the University of Liverpool in 2007 and was promoted to a personal chair in 2015. I came to Birmingham in 2017 to take up a Professorial Fellowship in English.


I am currently on Leverhulme-funded research leave but I contribute lectures and seminars to modules at UG and MA level, especially on modernist subjects.

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in work on place and locality; literature in relation to art, architecture and landscape; seasonality and ceremony; literary inheritance across time; twentieth-century British art and literature.


Much of my research has been focussed on Modernism, especially the work of Virginia Woolf, but I have written about literature from the tenth century to the present and am always interested in forms of continuity and revision across time.

Other activities

I review books in the national press and present programmes on arts subjects for BBC Radio 3 and 4.

As a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature I was a judge for the 2017 Ondaatje Prize and am currently on the panel selecting 40 new RSL Fellows under the age of 40. 


Recent publications


Harris, A 2024, The Rising Down: Lives in a Sussex Landscape. Faber & Faber, London.

Harris, A 2019, Time and Place: A Pocket Book on the Art of Calendars. Little Toller Books, Dorset.

Harris, A 2015, Weatherland: Writers and artists under English skies. Thames & Hudson. <>

Harris, A 2015, Woolf in Winter. The Virginia Woolf Birthday Lectures, Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain.


Harris, A 2018, 'Cowper Away: A Summer in Sussex', The Cowper and Newton Journal, vol. 8.

Harris, A 2018, 'Landscape now', British Art Studies, vol. 10.


Harris, A 2020, Moving House. in K Kennedy & H Lee (eds), The Lives of Houses. Princeton University Press.

Harris, A 2019, Flint. in A McNeillie (ed.), Archipelago 12. Archipelago, vol. 12, Clutag Press, pp. 57-64. <>

Harris, A 2019, Hitchens' Places. in Ivon Hitchens: Space through Colour. Pallant House Gallery.

Harris, A 2018, Observances. in A Harris, A Hollinghurst & A Smith (eds), Tacita Dean: Landscape, Portrait, Still Life. Royal Academy of Arts, London, pp. 12-29.

Harris, A 2018, The Marsh and the Visitor. in T Dee (ed.), Ground Work: Writings on Places and People. Jonathan Cape, London, pp. 100-107.

Other chapter contribution

Harris, A 2018, Encounters: The Art of Dennis Creffield. in Dennis Creffield: Encounters. Waterhouse & Dodd, London.

Harris, A 2016, Introduction to In Pursuit of Spring. in In Pursuit of Spring. Little Toller Books, pp. 11-20.

Harris, A 2015, Kenneth Rowntree: A Strange Simplicity. in Kenneth Rowntree: A Centenary Exhibition. Moore-Gwyn Fine Art & Liss Llewllyn Fine Art, pp. 9-18.

Harris, A 2015, The Weather in the Library. in Friends of the National Libraries, Annual Report 2014. Friends of the National Libraries, pp. 72-78.

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