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Rhiannon Cogbill

Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Illness and the Body in the work of Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson and May Sinclair

My PhD thesis is an examination of the social, cultural and political relationships between women and unhealth in the work of three key early twentieth-century women writers: Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson and May Sinclair. I examine how the concept of unhealth, which I use to encompass medicalized disease, affective illness and culturally mediated sickness, becomes so closely associated with women and womanhood in these writers’ novels. This project is situated at the intersection of modernist studies and medical humanities, and further engages with disability studies.

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature


  • 'Medical and Financial Entanglements in Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage’, Postgraduate Medical Humanities Conference, University of Exeter, 7-8 June 2018 
  • ‘“[H]er own rules for beef stew”: The “visible contours” of obsessive-compulsive disorder in Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle’, Cultures of Anxiety, University of Bristol, 8-9 June 2017
  • ‘“Don’t look round”: The politics of the street encounter in Jean Rhys’s interwar novels’, The City as Modernist Ephemera, London South Bank University, 16 June 2017  

Other Research Interests

  • Affect studies
  • Cultural history
  • Feminist theory
  • Life writing


  • British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS)
  • British Society of Literature and Science (BSLS)
  • Midlands Modernist Network (MMN)


  • 'Victorian Literature' Second-Year Seminar Tutor, University of Birmingham, 2019-20
  • 'English in Your Subject' Seminar Tutor, Birmingham International Academy, 2018-19
  • 'Introduction to English Literature 1790 – Present' First-Year Seminar Tutor, University of Birmingham, 2018-19
  • 'English in Your Subject' Seminar Tutor, Birmingham International Academy, 2017-18

I am currently working towards Associate Fellowship of Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy).

Conference Organisation

  • Conference Assistant, Transitions: Bridging the Victorian-Modernist Divide, University of Birmingham, 9-10 April 2018
  • Conference Assistant, British Association for Modernist Studies International Conference, University of Birmingham, 29 June - 1 July 2017

Additional Activities

Since September 2019, I have been working as a Collections and Archives Support Intern at the Museum of Royal Worcester. My responsibilities have included auditing and organising existing collections and archive images, with a focus on image licensing and product development; assisting with the research and curation of a new exhibition, locating and handling suitable objects; supporting the funding bid for a future collaborative exhibition; working with archival material to research and answer public enquiries; and representing the Museum at an external training event.