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A Conversation with Martin Stannard and Barbara Cooke

Annabel Williams


Martin Stannard is Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Leicester. He read for his first degree in English at Warwick (1967-70), before taking an MA at Sussex University, and a DPhil at Oxford. Professor Stannard’s two-volume literary biography of Evelyn Waugh (1986, 1992), and his biography of Muriel Spark (2009) are essential reading for Waugh and Spark scholars, and are each studies in the value of historical contextualisation for appreciating the literary oeuvre of a writer. Stannard’s 1995 Norton Critical Edition of Ford Madox Ford’s modernist novel, The Good Soldier, similarly brings context to bear through his rigorous textual editing, annotation and critical apparatus. Stannard is currently the Principal Investigator for the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project, which is supported by a grant of  £822,000 from the AHRC, and which will see Oxford University Press publish 43 scholarly edition volumes of Waugh – the first of which appears next year. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Waugh’s death.

Dr Barbara Cooke also teaches at the School of English at the University of Leicester. She received a BA and MA from Warwick (dates), and a PhD in Creative and Critical writing from the University of East Anglia for her interdisciplinary thesis Oil Men: the Twinned Lives of Arnold Wilson and Morris Young. Dr. Cooke is Research Associate for the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh, providing a vital link between the project's 23 editors, of which she is one, editing Waugh’s autobiography A Little Learning (1964).

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Stannard, M. (1984), Evelyn Waugh: The Critical Heritage, London: Routledge.

Stannard, M. (1986), Evelyn Waugh: The Early Years 1903-1939, London: J.M. Dent & Sons.

Stannard, M. (1992), Evelyn Waugh: No Abiding City 1939-1966, London: J.M. Dent & Sons.

Stannard, M. (1995) The Good Soldier: Authoritative Text, Textual Appendices, Contemporary Reviews, London: W.W. Norton.

Stannard, M. (2009), Muriel Spark: The Biography, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Woolf, V., ‘The New Biography’, in Bradshaw, D. (ed.) (2008) Virginia Woolf: Selected Essays, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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