Patricia McManus is a cultural historian and literary theorist.
Her teaching crosses contemporary media theory and mass-mediated forms of narrative, with particular interests in feminist, Marxist and post-Marxist theoretical traditions.
Her research has primarily examined the history of the novel, particular the interaction with film and of television drama in terms of story-telling practices.
Dr Patricia McManus teaches across the Literature and Media Programs in the School of Humanities. Her work revolves around the novel as the key cultural form of the modern era. She teaches on the late nineteenth-century, modernism, and the cultural and literary antagonisms of the 1920s and 1930s. Patricia McManus’ approach to cultural history is an interdisciplinary one: hence, her work brings together elements of literary history, criticism and theory, of critical theory, the history of reading, and book history.
Patricia McManus has been a member of the University of Brighton since 2006/07. Before joining Brighton, McManus lectured for the University of Sussex’s English Department where her teaching specialised in literary and cultural theory (particularly Feminist, Marxist and ‘Post-Marxist theoretical traditions) and on the history of reading.
McManus was awarded her PhD by the University of Sussex in 2004. Her thesis explored the twentieth-century English novel’s response to ‘mass culture’ and to the publics these new cultural forms sustained. To demonstrate the ways in which the ‘literary novel’ sought to secure for itself a public untainted by the politics of the mass media, McManus provided a close reading of the work of both modernist and determinedly non- and anti-modernist novels.
Following on from her doctoral research, McManus pursued a critical conversation with historians of the novel as part of a project to draw attention to, and to contest, the leaking of history out of novel studies. This ongoing research was undertaken with Dr. Theodore Koulouris and Dr. Cathy Bergin, and resulted in the formation of the Novel Research Collective. The NRC is focused on putting the novel at the centre of the relationships between modernity and the cultural practices which constitute and contest modernity’s self-image. This is a way of seeing which locates the novel at the centre of political as much as literary history, as complicit in the processes of Empire as it was in externalising and criticising those processes, and today as embedded in neoliberal re-workings of contemporary subjectivity as it is capable of challenging them.
The NRC was formed in 2006 with the intention of re-igniting literary-theoretical interest in the problems involved in theorising and historicising the novel as a genre. So far, the Collective has organized a conference ('The Novel: Democracy’s Form?) and has completed a collection of essays which extend and enrich the debates begun at the conference. Future developments include a seminar series in the Autumn Term of 2016/17 to explore developments in contemporary literary history as we move past ‘post-modernism’; and an exploration of the potential of digital methods to enrich or to abolish literary history (this is a subject of a funding bid to the AHRC provisionally entitled ‘Novel Studies in the Shadow of Digital Methods’).
McManus supervises doctoral work on the role and labour of ‘authenticity’ in constituting both stylistic and literary ‘value’ in twentieth-century Anglo-American fiction, and on the connections and discontinuities in the relations between gender and genre in late C18th women’s writing and ‘chick lit’.
'The Twenty-First Century Novel: Securing or Securitising Space?' (with Cathy Bergin) at the Bloomsbury C21 Conference: Writing and Insecurity, University of Brighton.
'Reluctant Modernisms or Anti-Modernisms: Impersonality and the Inter-War Novel' at the Historical Modernisms Symposium, Institute of English Studies, London.
Formal Dilemmas: Thinking Neo-Liberalism and the Novel Together', at What Happens Now? Twenty-First Century Writing in English: Conservative Politics/Radical Poetics, University of Lincoln.
' 'Game On!' Dystopia, Gender and Resistance in the Hunger Games' (with Cathy Bergin) at the Utopias CAPPE Conference, University of Brighton.
'Liberalism, The Novel and the Impossibility of a Working-Class Politics', at Whatever Happened to the Working Class? Rediscovering Class Consciousness in Contemporary Literature Conference, School of Advanced Studies, London.
'For a Feminism Without Feeling', Politics, Philosophy, Aesthetics Seminar Series, University of Brighton.
'The Politicisation of Everyday Life', (with Cathy Bergin), at the CAPPE Neoliberalism and Everyday Life Conference, the University of Brighton.
'Feminist or Female Subject? Virginia Woolf's Modernism', at the Modernism Now! Conference, Institute of English Studies, (IES), London.
' 'Pole Fitness and Porn 'Empowerment': Aestheticizing the New Misogyny (with Richard Seymour), Public Lecture at the University of Brighton.
'Literature, the State and Sexual Violence' (with Cathy Bergin) at Representation, Politics and Violence: CAPPE Conference, the University of Brighton.
'Why Fifty Shades of Grey?' , Introduction to Fifty Shades of Grey: An Inquiry into Dangerous Things - Conference (organised by Patricia McManus) at the University of Brighton.
'Representations of Female Sexuality in Responses to Fifty Shades of Grey', at MECCSA Conference: Spaces and Places of Culture, University of Ulster, Derry.