Our People

Professor Marina Mackay

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Professor Marina Mackay

  • Fellow and Tutor in English
  • Professor of English Literature
  • Tutor for Graduates

I became a Fellow of St Peter’s in 2014, having taught previously at Durham University and, before that, in the United States. My research is on modern British literature, with a particular emphasis on how writing relates to its broader historical and social contexts, although I am also very interested in the much longer history of the novel.

Another area of major interest is the representation of political crisis. My most recent books on the topic are Modernism, War, and Violence (Bloomsbury, 2017), which considers relationships between conflict and experimental writing from the 1890s to the Cold War, and Ian Watt: The Novel and the Wartime Critic (Oxford University Press, 2019), an intellectual history of the mid-century focused on the life of a former prisoner-of-war who became one of the most influential of post-war British literary critics.


I am tutor at St Peter’s for the English papers covering literature from 1830 to the present. In the English Faculty, I teach a special option on the 1930s, and a postgraduate option on mid-twentieth-century British literature. My current doctoral students are working on a wide range of topics: the crossover of science and detective fiction, from Victorian psychic detectives to postmodern psychogeography; mid-century writers’ engagements with mid-century psychiatry; the ‘essayistic’ mode in writing about European wars, from Woolf to Sebald.


I write about modern British literature, and I’m especially interested in the relationships between mid-century writing and its cultural and political contexts.

I’ve published six books, four as author and two as editor or co-editor. The most recent is Ian Watt: The Novel and the Wartime Critic, which was awarded the British Academy’s Rose Mary Crawshay Prize for 2019. This is an intellectual history of the mid-century period, focused on the life of a former soldier, prisoner-of-war, and slave labourer who became one of the most influential post-war literary critics.

My current research is on British literature and culture in the early post-war period. My book-in-progress is a cultural history of the 1950s, and my most recent articles are on political centrism and the mid-century serial novel (Modern Fiction Studies, 2021), and on how 1950s fiction responded to the decade’s perceived crisis of public trust (English Literary History, 2022).

Selected publications

Marina MacKay, Ian Watt: The Novel and the Wartime Critic (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Marina MacKay, Modernism, War, and Violence (Bloomsbury, 2017)

Marina MacKay, The Cambridge Introduction to the Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Marina MacKay, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of World War II (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Marina MacKay, Modernism and World War II (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Marina MacKay and Lyndsey Stonebridge, eds, British Fiction After Modernism: The Novel at Mid-Century (Palgrave, 2007).