Dr Catherine Burgass

Job Title and Responsibilities

Lecturer in English & Honorary Research Fellow


About me

After my first degree, followed by training and working in publishing, I returned to Leicester University to take an MA in Modern Literature.  Here my interest in literary theory – particularly the British empirical tradition and deconstruction – was sparked.  My PhD investigated the impact of deconstruction on the concept and teaching of English.  After my first teaching job at Staffordshire University in 1997, I lectured at Liverpool University before returning to Staffordshire in 2007 (part-time).  I have recently been awarded an Honorary Research Fellowship in recognition of my work on regional writing and culture.



MA in Modern Literature: Theory and Practice (Distinction), University of Leicester, 1992
PhD ‘Discipline After Deconstruction’, University of Leicester, 1996


Regional/local literature and culture (Stoke/Staffordshire)
Post-war female novelists/feminist theory
Food in fiction

Research interests

Research and publications have centred round contemporary female novelists and questions of value in postmodern literary theory.  Current areas of interest include the semiotics of hair, the representation of domesticity in women’s novels and food in fiction generally, as well as regional writing and cultural identity.  As part of the city’s cultural regeneration, my work investigates both the specifics of local literature and its links with metropolitan and cosmopolitan culture.  I have given numerous conference papers and public lectures on local authors and am currently involved in a major project to publish the complete Journals of Arnold Bennett. 

Selected Publications


  • Challenging Theory: Discipline after Deconstruction (Ashgate, 1999).

  • A.S. Byatt’s Possession (Continuum, 2002).

  • In collaboration with Ray Johnson, reissue of Arthur Berry’s poetry volume Dandelions (North Staffordshire Press, 2015).

Chapters and Essays:

  • 'Out and Out Attack: Postmodern Feminism and the Problem of Power' in Postmodern Subjects/Postmodern Texts, ed. Jane Dowson and Steven Earnshaw (Rodopi, 1995)

  • 'English in Transition: Translating Derrida' in Scenes of Change, ed. Jane Everson and Carla Dente (Edizioni ETS, 1996)

  • 'Postmodern Value' in Postmodern Literary Theory: An Anthology, ed. Niall Lucy (Blackwell, 1999)

  • 'Food for the Soul: Reading Mrs Ramsay's Boeuf en Daube' in Transubstantiation, ed. Douglas Burnham and Enrico Giaccherini (Ashgate, 2004)

  • 'A Brief Story of Postmodern Plot' in Essentials of the Theory of Fiction, ed. Michael J. Hoffman and Patrick D. Murphy (Duke University Press, 2005)

  • ‘Diet and Dyspepsia: Food in Arnold Bennett’s Fiction’ in Companion to Arnold Bennett, ed. John Shapcott (Churnet Valley Press), forthcoming 2017

Current Teaching

I have taught on a wide range of modules across the undergraduate degree (nineteenth-, twentieth-century and contemporary British and American literature).  Current module options are ‘Pits, Pots and Poets: English regional writing from 1900 to the present’ and’ From Rage to Page: Feminism and Fiction Since 1960’. 

Social Media

English and Creative Writing Blog


Catherine Burgass
Staffordshire University
Flaxman Building
College Road
t: +44 (0)1782 294000
e: c.j.burgass@staffs.ac.uk