Professor Martin Stannard

stannard, martin

Professor of Modern English Literature

Department: English

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2621


Office: Room 1309, Attenborough Tower

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road,Leicester, LE1 7RH

Web link: Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh

Personal details


I have published extensively on Evelyn Waugh, following The Critical Heritage (1984) with a major biography in two volumes (1986 and 1992). The first volume was selected by the New York Times as one of the twelve best books of the year; the second by Frank Kermode, Jonathan Raban, William Trevor and Muriel Spark as one of their ‘Books of the Year’, and in the year 2000 by William Boyd as one of his TLS ‘Books of the Millennium’.

In August 2009 I published my biography of Muriel Spark to great critical acclaim from, among others, Jonathan Bate, John Carey, Katherine Hughes, Frank Kermode, David Lodge, Ferdinand Mount, Ian Rankin, Elaine Showalter, A. N. Wilson and Frances Wilson. I have also published essays and review-essays on Kingsley Amis, Michael Arlen, Dickens, Ford Madox Ford, David Garnett, Graham Greene, William Gerhardie, Christopher Isherwood, David Jones, and Philip Larkin, and on the subjects of textual criticism, biography, autobiography and letters.

In 1995 I published the Norton Critical Edition of Ford’s The Good Soldier, an experiment in textual editing which includes material engaging with the challenge of literary theory to traditional editorial practice, and with the phenomenon of ‘literary impressionism’. The second, revised edition of this book appeared in 2011.

Currently I am Co-Executive Editor of OUP's 43-volume scholarly edition of The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh, and Principal Investigator for a £822,000 AHRC grant supporting the project. I have edited (2017) Waugh's Vile Bodies for this edition, and in 2017 also completed two essays: one on writing the biographies of Waugh and Spark for Blackwell’s Companion to Literary Biography (2019), and one on Spark’s The Ballad of Peckham Rye for Willy Maley’s book to celebrate her centenary (2018). I am researching a new biography of Ford Madox Ford which will concentrate on his last decade (1929-1939), and on his relationship with his last partner, the young American painter Janice Biala.


  • BA University of Warwick
  • MA University of Sussex
  • DPhil University of Oxford
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
  • Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy



  • Second, revised edition of The Good Soldier (Norton, 2011)
  • Muriel Spark: The Biography (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2009; Norton 2010)
  • General Editor with Prof. Greg Walker of thirty-seven volume series, Studies in European Cultural Transition (Ashgate: 2000 - 2007)

Journal articles and reviews

  • ‘Venice Observed: East Meets West in Muriel Spark’s Territorial Rights’ in Kirsten Sandrock and Owain Wright (eds.), East and West in British-Italian Transactions (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2013): 169-80
  • ‘Mapping No-Man’s Land’, lead-review of Thomas Dilworth, David Jones in the Great War (Enitharmon Press, 2013), Tablet (26 January 2013): 21
  • ‘Going South for Air: Ford Madox Ford’s Provence’ in Dominique Lemarchal and Claire Davison-Pégon (eds.), Ford Madox Ford, France and Provence (Rodopi, 2011): 343-50
  • ‘The Good, The Bad and The Numinously Co-Mingling’, review of David Herman (ed.), Muriel Spark: Twenty-First Century Perspectives (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2010) in Scottish Literary Review 3.2 (Autumn/Winter 2011): 242-45
  • ‘Unlucky Jim’, review-essay of Anthony Thwaite (ed.), Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica (London: Faber and Faber in association with the Bodleian Library, 2010), New Walk 2 (Spring/Summer 2011): 17-19
  • ‘Muriel Spark’, New DNB Supplement (Jan. 2010)
  • ‘Cutting Remarks: What Went Missing From The Good Soldier’, in Jason Harding (ed.), Ford Madox Ford, Modernist Magazines and Editing (Rodopi, 2010): 229-42.
  • ‘Meeting Muriel Spark’, Sunday Times, Books (26 July 2009): 8-9

View a full list of publications.


My broad research interests are in British Catholic convert fiction, biography and non-fiction generally, and in the theory and practice of textual editing. I have served as a member of the Management Committee of the Society of Authors, I am on the organising committee of the annual Literary Leicester festival here, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the English Association, and I am Vice-President of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society.



I have supervised PhD theses on: James Joyce and Dante; H G Wells; an edition of Ford Madox Ford's poems; Ford and Literary Impressionism; Simon Raven; Aldous Huxley and Postcolonialism; Philip Larkin, R.S. Thomas and Charles Causley. I am currently supervising two doctorates: one on Evelyn Waugh and the concept of decadence, the other on Waugh, Greene and Spark and their representation of childhood.

I would be happy to supervise any topic in the following areas:

  • 20th-century British Catholic Writing (e.g. Greene, Spark, Waugh, etc.)
  • Philip Larkin
  • 20th-century Non-Fiction
  • Modernism
  • Modern literature and aesthetics/theology
  • The theory of biography
  • Modern Scholarly Editing

Share this page:

Contact Us

University of Leicester,
University Road,
Leicester, LE1 7RH.

T: 0116 252 2620



AccessAble logo

The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for the Attenborough Tower.