College Lecturer and Director of Studies in English

Degrees and Honours

BA (Hons) Dunelm; MA (Dunelm); PhD (Cantab)


Isobel Maddison read English for a BA at the University of Durham from 1994 -1997 as a mature student. Also at Durham, in 1998 she was awarded an MA in English Literary Studies where she focused on the writings of May Sinclair. In 2002, at Wolfson College, Cambridge, she completed her PhD on the 'representation of material space in the work of Elizabeth von Arnim, Katherine Mansfield and Dorothy Richardson'. Isobel became a Junior Research Fellow and the Director of Studies in English at Wolfson College in 2005. She joined Lucy Cavendish College in September 2007.

Research Interests

Literature of the 19th and 20th Centuries; female modernism in particular; the relationship between modernism and popular fiction 1890-1940. Isobel was elected as President of the International Elizabeth von Arnim Society in December 2015.

Graduate Teaching

Research topics on female modernism, women's writing of the First World War and especially 'middlebrow' novels in the period 1890-1940.

Course involvement in the University of Cambridge

Isobel was an affiliated lecturer in the Faculty of English and continues to be the Faculty Co-ordinator for all Erasmus students studying the subject at the University of Cambridge. She examined for Parts I and II of Tripos and lectures on Part I Paper 7a (1830-1945), Paper 7b (1870-present) and on topics covered by Part II Paper 11 (Modernism and the Short Story).

Isobel supervises widely at a range of Cambridge colleges and teaches for both parts of the English Tripos. For Part I she teaches Papers 7a and 7b and Paper 1 (Practical Criticism and Critical Practice) where she has particular interests in 'Writing and the Unconscious', 'French Feminist Theory' and post-structuralist approaches to textual analysis. For Part II she teaches Paper 1 (Practical Criticism), Paper 11 ('Modernism and the Short Story') and Paper 10 (1847 - 1872). She also supervises dissertations on many nineteenth and twentieth century topics.

Selected Publications


Elizabeth von Arnim: Beyond the German Garden (Ashgate, 2013)

Katherine Mansfield and World War One, eds, Isobel Maddison and Alice Kelly, Katherine Mansfield Studies, Vol 6 (Edinburgh University Press, 2014)

Re-Evaluating Elizabeth von Arnim, eds, Isobel Maddison, Jennifer Walker and Juliane Roemhild (Women: A Cultural Review Volume 28, 22 June 2017)


Essays in Collected Volumes

'Complementary Cousins: Constructing the Maternal in the Writing of Elizabeth von Arnim and Katherine Mansfield,' in Gender and Middlebrow Fiction (Amsterdam: Brill/Rodolpi, 2016)

'Katherine Mansfield's Writing Game and World War One,' in Katherine Mansfield and World War One , Vol 6 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press: 2014) pp. 42-55

''Somewhere Near the Blunt End?': The Popular and the Middlebrow,' Cambridge Companion to British Literature of the 1930s, (forthcoming Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017)


Articles in Journals    

'Trespassers will be Prosecuted': Dorothy Richardson Among the Fabians, Literature and History, Vol 19 (2), Autumn 2010

'The Curious Case of Christine: Elizabeth von Arnim's War-Time Text,' First World War Studies, 3 (2) October 2012

'Cross-Currents: Elizabeth von Arnim, Max Beerbohm and George Bernard Shaw,' in Women: A Cultural Review Volume 28, 22 June 2017

'Reading Elizabeth von Arnim Today', an introduction co- authored with Jennifer Walker and Juliane Romhild in Women: A Cultural Review Volume 28, 22 June 2017


Reviews and Review Essays

'Weaving and Unweaving the Webs of Modernism,' Women: A Cultural Review, 23 (2), August 2012 

'New Perspectives: Redefining the Middlebrow,' Cambridge Quarterly, review essay 42 (2) June 2013 

'Reading Beyond the Ending: Barbara Hardy's Dorothea's Daughter,' Women: A Cultural Review,  24 (2) June 2013 

'Not so Silly Women Novelists: Martin Hipsky's Modernism and the Women's Popular Romance in Britain, 1885-1925,' Katherine Mansfield Studies, Vol 5 (2013)

'Woman as Joker': Elizabeth von Arnim and Elizabeth Taylor,' Women: A Cultural Review 25 (1) May 2014

'A Voyage Out into a New World' The Collected Works of Katherine Mansfield: Poetry and Critical Writings, Modern Language Review Volume 112, No 2, April 2017


Non Academic Writing                                                                                                                                                                                                      

'A Second Flowering,' London Library Magazine (March 2012) 

'Virginia Woolf and Rooms of Our Own,' Online record of the exhibition Rooms of Our Own, mounted at Lucy Cavendish College, October 2009, as part of the celebrations for the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge