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Personal profile

Research Focus

Current Research:

I read both my BA and MRes at Queen’s University, Belfast. In 2020 I acquired funding through the Department for the Economy for a three year PhD. Before beginning my project my BA and MA dissertations investigated the oeuvre of Virginia Woolf through a feminist methodological lens.

My PhD develops this work further by investigating Virginia Woolf’s literary employment of dance and movement – an underexplored academic area.

Chapter one focuses on how Woolf undermines imperialist masculinity in her novel Orlando by means of, what she calls, ‘the beauty of movement’. My argument states that Woolf anticipates Michel Foucault’s theory of legal and administrative hierarchies of social control in Discipline and Punishment (1975), by means of balletic movement, gestures and poses. In undercutting stultified episodes of military movement, Woolf advocates the development of alternative modes of masculinity. Section two investigates how ice in the Woolfian imagination acts as a socio-political equalising force by lampooning divisions of gender, class and sexuality.

Chapter two: my project focuses on the century of the ‘eternal waltz’ (1800-1900). Research questions addressed in this chapter include:

  • What role did the waltz play in the development of traditional femininity?
  • How are the characteristics of femininity portrayed in the waltz?
  • How are the emblematic waltz and the space of the ballroom dance floor represented in Woolf’s novel The Voyage Out?   
  • In what ways did the Woolfian waltz disrupt the public control of the female body in late-Victorian society?

Subsequent chapters will address Woolf and the dance of the non-human, how Woolf employs the accoutrements of dance, and the meaning of the absence of dance in Jacob’s Room and Night and Day.  




  • In 2014 I won the mature student's scholarship to study English Literature at Queen’s University, Belfast. 
  • Following an MRes at QUB, funding was secured to complete a PhD in 2020.
  • I acquired an internship at the home of modernist painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant (Charleston House, East Sussex, England), starting in May 2021.  


Teaching Interests: My teaching interests range widely in the field of literature. Whilst my research concentrates primarily on Virginia Woolf’s writings, I am also interested in the recovery of marginalised women writers. I am also fascinated by the Victorian period and transatlantic modernisms. Similarly, ancient Greek mythologies, First World War texts and the writings of the Renaissance are also of interest. Methodologically speaking, I am concerned with historicist and feminist critical theories. My critical focus extends to post-colonialism and the interdisciplinary relationship between the aesthetics of Virginia Woolf's canon and other forms of art.   


Academic Interests: I am a member of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain and sit on the organising committee for the ‘Transitions’ online literary conference for 2021. I am a member of the Institute of Directors and an applicant of the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland. As a Postgraduate Representative, I sit on both the Student and Staff Research Committees at Queen’s University, Belfast. And I am an associate of QUB's PGR institute for Irish studies. In March 2021 I organised and chaired Professor Susan Jones’s talk to the School of English at QUB. And in September  2021, I plan to intern at Charleston House, East Sussex, England – the home of Bloomsbury visual artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

Email: rmayne04@qub.ac.uk

Office: House 5, 01/004

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