Dr Tracy Hargreaves


I completed my PhD on Virginia Woolf at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London in 1994. I joined the University of Leeds in 1998 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2004.

At Leeds I've taught widely across different areas of C20th and C21st literature and film. I've convened and taught on introductory survey modules for first-year students and more specialist survey courses for final year students on Modern (1900-1940) and Contemporary literature (1960-present). I've also taught more specialist option modules including: C20th poetry, literature of the 1930s, feminism and postmodernism, C20th neo-Victorian literature, androgyny in modern and contemporary literature.

It was that niggling 20-year gap between the end of our Modern Lit (1940) and beginning of our Contemporary Lit (1960) survey modules that led me to develop a number of modules that address the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s:  'angry young men' (and women!) in the 1950s, British New Wave Cinema of the 1960s, and literature and film between 1945 and 1968 - from Brief Encounter to Angela Carter. I'll be teaching a new module on British women's writing in the 1960s in 2019. 

Specific writers I teach include George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Iris Murdoch, Muriel Spark, Doris Lessing, Elizabeth Bowen, Angela Carter - as well as the 'angry young men' - Kingsley Amis, John Braine, John Osborne, Alan Sillitoe. Most of my teaching is rooted in my research which began with Virginia Woolf and then moved to considerations of the ordinary, the everyday and intimacy in film, literature and television in the long middle of the twentieth century.


I've acted as an External Examiner at the Universities of Kingston, Birmingham (English Language and Literature in Education), York (MA) and am currently acting as External Examiner at the University of Sussex. 

Research interests

My earliest research focused on Virginia Woolf (the subject of my PhD) and on representations of androgyny, which resulted in my first book, Androgyny in Modern Literature (Palgrave, 2005).  This explored representations of androgyny as a cultural, political and sexual ideal and as a fantasised embodiment from the fin de sicle and through the C20th, engaging with European decadence, British sexology, Modernism, French Feminism, post-modern fiction and the neo-Victorian novel. After completing my book, I began work on representations of the family in fiction which took me, via John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga and the Queen's Coronation, to my current research interests on literature, film, television and adaptation between 1945-1968.

My current interests, both research and teaching, are in the English mid-twentieth century, in literature, theatre, film and television. I am currently researching and writing a monograph, provisionally titled Intimacy and the English Imagination: 1945-1968.  The book is informed by debates about the status and identity of post-World War II literature, writing after modernism, the everyday, and by the changes wrought by various post-war legislative changes (including the Obscene Publications Act (1959) and the ensuing Lady Chatterley trial (1960), the Family Planning Act (1967), Abortion Act (1967), Sexual Offences Act (1968), the Theatres Act (1968) and the Divorce Act (1969)). The book examines the mediation of, and fascination with, the everyday, the ordinary, nostalgia, and with intimate life in cinema, television and literature. The book has three main areas of interest: one engages with the writer's deployment of intimate life in the aftermath of the Second World War in the response to new social change and in response to shifts in post-war writing. It looks at nostalgic retreat, the bombed house and the exposure of private life and private things, the turn to provincial or regional life in so-called 'angry' or 'kitchen sink' writing through to Doris Lessing's reorientation of private domestic space and intimate sexuality as inseparable from wider geo-political issues in The Golden Notebook.  The second area examines the challenges of engaging with intimacy on screen and with the changing regulatory interventions of the British Board of Film Censors in relation to assumptions about working-class audiences and representations of everyday life in the 1960s.  The main focus of interest here is in British New Wave Cinema and its adaptation of 'angry young men' writing as well as in the controversies over the screenings of Ulysses and The Killing of Sister George.  A third area concerns the testing out of intimacy by the BBC and by the audience's response to television programmes between 1950 and the late 1960s, in particular to changing comprehensions of intimacy across these decades - from (say) the detail afforded by a camera shot in Westminster Abbey to types of programmes considered inapproriate for the intimacy of television itself to the changing content of its programmes.   

The book arises from my current teaching interests in mid-century English literature and film and these, in turn, are productively re-informing my research. I've published essays on contemporary literary representations of the Queen's Coronation, on neo-Victorianism and the phenonomenon of The Forsyte Saga in the 1960s, on Richard Hoggart, John Braine's Room at the Top and British New Wave Cinema, on the use of domestic space in the post-war writing of Larkin, Braine and Lessing and on the flourishing of British women's writing across the 1960s. I've co-edited (with Alice Ferrebe) a special edition of the Yearbook of English Studies, again with a focus on writing in the 1950s and 1960s.  Research in the BBC's Written Archive Centre (funded by the British Academy) has given me access to the details of contemporary audience's responses to BBC programming between 1950-1968.  I'm currently undertaking research in the Brotherton Library's Special Collections on John Braine, Stan Barstow and Herbert Read.  In both teaching and research I'm interested in re-establishing detailed connections across social history, audience response, literature, film and television especially, though not exclusively, as that relates to women and to working class cultures. 

I've given a public lecture on Karel Reisz's film of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning at the Djanogly Gallery at the University of Nottingham, spoken about 1950s literature at the 'The Rest is Noise' Festival at the Royal Festival Hall, and been a 'talking head' for the BBC's Timeshift Series: '1960: The Year of the North'. 

I have recently supervised PhDs on contemporary British, Canadian and Caribbean women's writing and narratology, on contemporary British women's writing and the grotesque, on C20th literary biofictions and on the single woman in modern literature. I have an on-going (probably abiding) interest in Virginia Woolf and I particularly welcome research proposals on any aspect of mid-twentieth century (1945-1968) literature, film and television and on adaptations from text to screen.



<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • MA
  • BA

Student education

I've taught modules on Contemporary British and Irish Poetry, Literature of the 1930s, Feminism and Postmodernism, the Neo-Victorian novel, British New Wave Cinema and the Angry Young Man (and Woman) at BA level and have taught Modern and Contemporary literature at both BA and MA levels.  MA options have included Androgyny in Modern and Contemporary Writing, The Family Saga in the Twentieth Century and I'm currently teaching 'Culture and Anarchy: 1945-1968'. 

I have been Tutor for Undergraduate Admissions and undertook responsibility for formally implementing Widening Participation in the School in 2002-04.

I have taken on one of the School's major leadership roles twice, first as Director of Learning and Teaching and more recently as Director of Student Education and I've also deputised for the Head of School. 

As Director for Student Education I had responsibility for overseeing curriculum development, was a member of the School Management Team, Student-Staff Forum, chaired the Mitigating Circumstances Panel and had committee membership at Faculty and University levels including for the Faculty Taught Student Education Committee, for Study Abroad and for the Employability Working Group. So I've had some involvement with most stages of an undergraduate career, from reading UCAS applications to the shaping of the curriculum to employability.


Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>