Professor Deborah Longworth BA, MA, PhD

Photograph of Dr Deborah Longworth

Department of English Literature
Professor of English Literature
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

As PVC Education, Deborah is a member of University Executive Board, and supports the Vice-Chancellor in setting and implementing University strategy, with a specific strategic remit for excellence and innovation in teaching and learning. She provides academic leadership across the education portfolio, working closely with colleagues across the five Colleges, and with our Professional Services teams, to ensure the excellence of teaching quality and standards, and of student academic experience. She has particular interests in the interrelation of curriculum and co-curricular activity to support the development students’ knowledge, skills and attributes; in student community and belonging; in transition and progress support; and in transforming assessment and feedback.

Deborah studied at the Universities of Reading (BA, MA) and London (PhD, and joined the University of Birmingham in 1998 as a lecturer in English Literature. She held the role of Head of Department in English Literature from 2016 to 2021, when she became Deputy-Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience. She moved into her current role in August 2022.


I teach nineteenth and twentieth-century literature at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I offer final year undergraduate options modules in The Modernist Novel and Remembering World War One. At postgraduate level I teach and supervise in the period 1880-1940, with particular specialisms in modernism and women's writing.

Postgraduate supervision

At postgraduate level I have specialist teaching and supervisory expertise in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century literature.

I welcome applications for study in the following areas:

Literary modernism
The city and urban theory
Women’s writing (particularly of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson, Djuna Barnes, Katherine Mansfield, May Sinclair, Edith Sitwell)
The nineteenth and/or early twentieth-century novel

Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research focuses on English literature from 1880-1940, with a specific focus on gender and modernism and the modernist novel. The monograph developed from my doctoral thesis, Streetwalking the Metropolis, was published by Oxford University Press in 2000 and is frequently included in the reading lists for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses on modernism, women’s writing and urban literature in both the UK and the United States. I have also produced studies of the American writer Djuna Barnes (Writers and their Works Series: Northcote House) and a study guide targeted at final-year and taught postgraduate students, Theorists of the Modernist Novel: James Joyce, Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf (Routledge). Recent articles include a discussion of metaphysics and the influence of Ralph Waldo Emerson in Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage, and a study of the New York modernist magazine Rogue.

My recent research and current monograph focuses on the work of Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell. In 2008 I received a Harry Ransom Mellon Fellowship and AHRC research leave grant for study on the Sitwells. During the past year I have presented research papers on the Sitwells to the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Northern Modernisms Seminar, and to the 2010 Modernist Studies Association conference in the United States.

I am one of the founding members of the British Association of Modernist Studies, an organization designed to provide a research network for individuals and groups working in modernist studies in all relevant disciplines across Britain. BAMS aims to facilitate connections with modernists abroad, and to support and develop education and training in modernist studies, particularly for postgraduates.

I am also co-founder and editor, along with Andrzej Gasiorek (Birmingham) and Michael Moses (Duke University), of the journal Modernist Cultures, the only British journal specifically dedicated to the study of modernism.

Other activities

Conference organisation

I have organized several international conferences and symposia in the field of modernist studies.

  • ‘Façade & The Sitwells’, Barber Art Gallery, University of Birmingham, 30th September 2011 (including evening performance of Pierrot Lunaire and Façade by The Orchestra of St Pauls and William Sitwell)
  • ‘Research Skills in Modernist Studies’, University of Birmingham, 31st March 2010 (One-day seminar for 35 doctoral students, on behalf of the British Association of Modernist Studies)
  • ‘Woolfian Boundaries’, 16th Annual International Virginia Woolf Conference, University of Birmingham, June 22nd-25th 2006 (Four-day conference, 300 delegates - co-host with Steve Ellis and Kathryn Simpson)
  • Northern Modernisms Seminar, University of Birmingham, November 2005 (One-day symposium, 40 delegates – co-host with Andrzej Gasiorek).
  • Fifth Modernist Studies Association Conference, University of Birmingham, 25th-28th September 2003 (Four-day conference, 250 delegates – co-host with Andrzej Gasiorek, Laura Marcus and Peter Nicholls)
  • Modernist Transactions 1880-1930, University of Birmingham, 30th June - 1st July 2000 (Two-day symposium, 40 delegates – co-host with Andrzej Gasiorek)
  • Literature, Film and Modernity 1880-1940, University of London, 13th – 15th January 2000 (co-host with Laura Marcus)



Recent publications


Gasiorek, A, Brooker, P, Longworth, D & Thacker, A (eds) 2010, The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms. Oxford University Press.

Longworth, D 2006, Theorists of the Modernist Novel: James Joyce, Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf. Routledge.


Longworth, D 2009, 'Subject, Object, and the Nature of Reality: Metaphysics in Dorothy Richardson's Deadlock', Pilgrimages: The Journal of Dorothy Richardson Studies, vol. n/a, no. 2, pp. 7-38. <>

Longworth, D 2005, 'What a lark! What a plungs!': Introducing Modernism', Women: a cultural review, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 246-9.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Longworth, D 2019, The gender of decadence: Paris-Lesbos from the Fin de Siècle to the Interwar Era. in J Desmarais & D Weir (eds), Decadence and Literature. Cambridge Cultural Concepts, vol. 1, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 362-378.

Longworth, D 2016, Perpetual Motion: Speed, Spectacle and Cycle Racing. in D Bradshaw, L Marcus & R Roach (eds), Moving Modernisms: Motion, Technology and Modernity. Oxford University Press.

Longworth, D 2016, The Sitwells and Sitwellism: An Ornamental Modernism. in A Pero & G Phillips (eds), The Many Façades of Edith Sitwell. The University Press of Florida, Gainesville.


Longworth, D 2012, The Avant-Garde in the Village. in P Brooker & A Thacker (eds), The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume II: North America 1894-1960. vol. 2, Oxford University Press, pp. 465-482. <>

Longworth, D 2010, Gendering the Modernist Text. in P Brooker, A Gasiorek, D Longworth & A Thacker (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms. Oxford Handbooks of Literature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 156-177. <>

Longworth, D 2010, Remembrance/Reconstruction: Autobiography and the Men of 1914. in MJK Walsh (ed.), London, Modernism and 1914. Cambridge University Press, pp. 196-213.

Longworth, D 2009, Remember Scarborough: The Sitwells on the Sands. in L Feigel & A Harris (eds), Modernism on Sea. Peter Lang, pp. 71-84.

Longworth, D & Schiach, M 2007, Djuna Barnes: Melancholic Modernism. in The Cambridge Companion to the Modernist Novel.

Longworth, D, Cunningham, G & Barner, S 2007, There's more space within than withoug. Agoraphobia and the Bildungsroman in Dorothy Richardson's "Pilgrimage". in London Eyes: Reflections in Text and Image.

Boxall, P & Longworth, D 2004, 'Fortunata and Jacinta', 'The Portrait of a Lady', 'The Ambassadors', 'The Wings of the Dove', 'The Golden Bowl', 'Quartet'. in 1001 Novels.

Longworth, D, Harrison, S, Pile, S & Thrift, N 2004, Drift. in Patterned Ground.

View all publications in research portal