Photo of Dr Sophie Oliver

Dr Sophie Oliver

Senior Lecturer, Modernism English


Personal Statement

I am an interdisciplinary scholar, curator and writer, specialising in modernist women writers and artists, fashion, the feminist avant-garde, and feminist approaches to cultural history.

I joined the department at Liverpool in January 2019, after finishing a PhD at Royal Holloway in 2017 and many years working in art publishing, most recently at Yale University Press. Since then, I have also held research fellowships at the Library of Congress and the University of Georgia.

My research interests lie in the relationships between literature and visual cultures, especially art and fashion; feminism and modernism; the afterlives of modernist writing; and philosophies of history. I have published articles and chapters on Djuna Barnes, Mina Loy and Rebecca West, and on Jean Rhys, who was also the subject of an exhibition I conceived and curated at the British Library in 2016, ‘Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea and the Making of an Author’.

My first book, a women's history modernism told through clothes, will be published by Manchester University Press in 2026. It takes items of dress – from Charlotte Perkins Gilman's pockets and Frida Kahlo's huipils to Mina Loy's corselet and Zora Neale Hurston's bonnet – to narrate a feminist history of modernism that pays attention to unusual kinds of knowledge and ways of knowing.

In 2023 I worked with Sarah Parker (Loughborough) and Gesa Werner (V&A) on an exhibition at the Poetry Library in London called 'Poets in Vogue'.

In 2020 I was named a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. You can hear me reading an episode of The Essay that I wrote about Jean Rhys, a dress she owned that now belongs to me, and ambivalent motherhood.

I also write about literature and art for mainstream magazines, including the TLS, Burlington Magazine and The White Review.

Watch an interview about my research on the Department of English YouTube channel.

My academic support and feedback hours in Semester 1 are 11.30–12.30 on Mondays (online) and Tuesdays (in person, room 245).

Prizes or Honours

  • New Generation Thinker (AHRC/BBC, 2020)

Funded Fellowships

  • University of Georgia Fellowship (University of Liverpool, 2022 - present)