Professor Vike Martina Plock
Office: Queens 215
Professor Plock's research and teaching focus on literary modernism and the cultural history of modernity. She is particularly interested in the following authors and topics:
- international modernism
- James Joyce
- Sylvia Townsend Warner
- Elizabeth Bowen
- Edith Wharton
- literature, science, and medicine
- literature, fashion, and consumer culture
- interwar women's writing
- the history of the BBC and the media ecology of the Second World War
- Anglo-German and German-American Studies
She is the author of Joyce, Medicine and Modernity (2010; paperback 2012), Modernism, Fashion and Interwar Women Writers (2017) and of numerous articles and chapters on James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Rosamond Lehmann, Sylvia Townsend Warner and Edith Wharton.
From June 2013 to September 2014 she was the Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded research network Tailored Trades: Clothes, Labour and Professional Communities, 1880-1939.
In March 2017 Professor Plock was awarded a sixteen-months research fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust to support work on her next monograph Broadcasting to the Enemy: The BBC German Service during the Second World War. The Observer published an article about this new reserach project and Dr Plock was also interviewed on the BBC World Service in April 2017.
Professor Plock's research focuses on literary modernism and the cultural history of modernity. She has published widely on James Joyce's lifelong interest in medicine and science. Her first monograph Joyce, Medicine, and Modernity was published in 2010 by the University Press of Florida (paperback, 2012) and she has also edited a special issue of the journal James Joyce Quarterly on the subject of Joyce and physiology.
Her second major research project took a slightly different approach to the study of literary modernism. Professor Plock just completed a multi-author monograph, Modernism, Fashion and Interwar Women Writers, that examines the role that fashion played in the works of early twentieth-century women novelists such as Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys, Elizabeth Bowen and Rosamond Lehmann. In this book she argues that these women writers used sartorial tropes to self-consciously comment on their involvement with the literary marketplace of the interwar period. Engaging with the sartorial fashions of their time, Modernism, Fashion and Interwar Women Writers argues, allowed different women writers to respond, at times critically, to market forces and to engage with the literary fashions of their time.
Currently, Professor Plock is conducting research for a new monograph provisionally entitled Broadcasting to the Enemy: The BBC German Service during the Second World War for which she was awarded a sixteen-month research fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust in March 2017. It will study the contributions made by German-speaking exiled writers such as Alfred Kerr, Thomas and Erika Mann, Walter Rilla, and Martin Esslin to the BBC's German-language programmes during the Second World War. The BBC's insistence on presenting and disseminating a British point of view of the war excluded many German Jews from working as broadcasters for the British radio corporation but they made significant contributions behind the scenes as writers of radio scripts and propaganda programmes. This interdisciplinary project examines these contributions, asking questions about the complex intellectual and national loyalties of these writers, and it also studies the processes of silencing and collaboration structuring their everyday working experiences at the BBC during the Second World War. An article on Erika Mann's work at the BBC German Service has been accepted for publication in modernism/modernity.
Professor Plock has also developed a strong interest in the writer Sylvia Townsend Warner, whose work will be the focus of another planned research project. Already in print is Professor Plock's co-edited journal issue on STW that was published by Literature Compass in 2014.
Professor Plock's articles have appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, Modernism/Modernity, Journal of Modern Literature, Literature & History, James Joyce Quarterly, Joyce Studies Annual, and Literature Compass.
From June 2013 to September 2014 Professor Plock was Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded research network Tailored Trades: Clothes, Labour and Professional Communities, 1880-1939. Network events included adacemic workshops at Northumbria University and the University of Exeter, public lectures at the Bishopsgate Institute in London, exhibitions in the People's History Museum in Manchester and a concluding network conference "Clothes, Working Lives and Social Change (1880-1939)" in 2014.
A recording of Professor Plock's public lecture on Jack London, Slum Tourism and the East End Sweated Industries that she gave in the Bishopsgate Institute in May 2014 can be found on the Tailored Trades network website.
Professor Plock welcomes enquiries from research students with interests in James Joyce, literary modernism, women's writing of the interwar period (especially Elizabeth Bowen and Sylvia Townsend Warner), middlebrow literature and culture, and literature and science.
Current Research Students:
Jake O'Leary, "Modernist Women Writers and Antifascism" (AHRC) (Second Supervisor)
Jean Harris, "Interwar Women Writers and the Virago Imprint" (First Supervisor)
Teresa Sanders, "Education and Pedagogy in the Works of Sylvia Townsend Warner, 1926-1954" (AHRC) (First Supervisor)
Jack Sargent, "Time and Homosexual Individuality: Nostalgia, Memory, Ageing and the Homosexual Individual in Modern and Contemporary Literature" (Second Supervisor)
Leonie Thomas, "Wireless Women: Listening in to Forgotten Voices at the BBC, 1922-1955" (AHRC) (First Supervisor)
Past Research Students:
James Bernthal, "Queering the Outcast in Agatha Christie" (AHRC) (First Supervisor) (2011-15)
Rinni Haji Amran, "Modernist Literature and Aviation" (First Supervisor) (2011-2015)
Elizabeth Micakovic, "T. S. Eliot's Voice" (AHRC) (First Supervisor) (2011-13)
External impact and engagement
Professor Plock's AHRC-funded research network Tailored Trades: Clothes, Labour and Professional Communities, 1880-1939 included public lectures and school study days at the Bishopsgate Institute in London and the People's History Museum in Manchester. A detailed description of these activities can be found on the project website.
Contribution to discipline
To date Professor Plock has been peer-reviewing articles for PMLA, James Joyce Quarterly, Modernism/Modernity, Modernist Cultures, Journal of Design History, Textual Practice, Women: A Cultural Reivew, and Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas.
From 2011-2014 she was a member of the executive committee of the British Society for Literature and Science and in July 2015 Professor Plock was elected as Membership Secretary of the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society.
She was a member of the academic organising committee of the 25th International James Joyce Symposium "Anniversary Joyce" that took place in London in June 2016.
After completing her doctoral dissertation on James Joyce and medicine at the University of York in 2005, Professor Plock held temporary lectureships at Durham University (2006), University College Dublin (2006-2007), Cardiff University (2007-2009), and a permanent lectureship at Northumbria University (2009-2010) before joining the Department of English at Exeter in September 2010.
She was the recipient of a Fleur Cowles Endowment Fellowship from the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin in 2010 and 2014 and of the Donald C. Gallop Fellowship in American Literature from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University in 2011. Twice, she has been awarded a Friends of the Zurich James Joyce Foundation Scholarship (2005, 2009).