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Professor Sara Haslam

Sara Haslam photo

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined the Open University as a Lecturer in Literature in 2001. I'd taught previously at King’s College London, the University of Roehampton, and the University of Chester, where I also completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. My first degree, in English Language and Literature, and my MA in Victorian Literature were awarded by the University of Liverpool. During my MA studies in Liverpool I was employed as a Research Assistant working on editions of Percy Bysshe Shelley's and Matthew Arnold's poetry - my first taste of scholarly editing. The British Academy funded my PhD research at King's College, London, which was awarded in 1997 following a viva examination with Professors Bernard Bergonzi and Philip Horne.

I have written teaching material for all levels of study, worked as Chair and Deputy Chair of modules in production and presentation, and served as Director of Research Degrees in the Faculty. I have produced OpenLearn material and acted as the OU's academic consultant to the BBC. As critic, and as editor, my research on Ford Madox Ford is internationally known, and I am Chair of the Ford Madox Ford Society, as well as a member of the History of the Book and Reading (HOBAR) Research Collaboration at the OU. As a teacher and as a researcher I am passionate about what I do because I believe in literature as a force for good, as an agent of change, as well as an education, a distraction, and a delight.


Research interests

A Man Could Stand Up-The Good SoldierLife Writing


There are three inter-related strands to my research profile: the work of Ford Madox Ford, scholarly editing, and the literature of the First World War.

Fragmenting ModernismIn Ford studies, I was part of the team which produced the first critical edition of Ford's First World War tetralogy Parade’s End (1924-28), published by Carcanet Press in 2010-11. I edited volume 3, A Man Could Stand Up-. Filming of the BBC/HBO serialisation of Parade’s End (dir.Susanna White), which was scripted by Tom Stoppard, began in 2011, and a high point of that year was a visit to the set. Further related editing projects include Ford’s classic modernist text, The Good Soldier. Here you can read my introduction. Currently, I am co-editing the Routledge Research Companion to Ford Madox Ford, a work which will help to shape the research agenda in this field for a new generation of scholars, and I am a member of the Editorial Board of International Ford Madox Ford Studies, which in 2015 took the form of a volume of essays celebrating the centenary of The Good Soldier's publication, a volume which I co-edited. My monograph on Ford, Fragmenting Modernism: Ford Madox Ford, the Novel and the Great War (2002) was re-released by Manchester University Press as part of its OAPEN project in 2008.

My work as an editor is currently focused on Evelyn Waugh, as part of Oxford University Press's project: The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh. I am editing Helena, about the mother of Emperor Constantine, which Waugh described as a favourite among his novels - the Daily Express agreed with him, calling it his 'best novel yet' (12 October 1950).

Nineteenth and twentieth-century cultural, social and political issues are at the heart of my research. I have written on Ford’s treatment of railway pathologies, for example, and of sexuality, as well as on his representations of the experience of war.

My focus on Ford's war fiction also translates into a broader interest in the literature of the First World War. I have published on Modernism and the First World War in the Edinburgh Companion to British and American War Literature, for example. Since 2011 my war-work has been focused on coping strategies, on trauma, and on recovery and healing in, and through engagement with, books. A 2013 article examines the representation of alcohol in literature of the First World War, and I recorded a podcast on alcohol, First World War literature, and the YMCA in a series on wartime attachment in Dublin in June 2015: Online, my piece 'Glory, farce and despair: the many Stories of World War 1' was published by The Conversation in 2014. Bibliotherapy is my current focus in war studies, and I am engaged in archival research following the story of books at war, and textual healing in its many forms. My 2018 article, 'Reading, Trauma, and Literary Caregiving 1914-1918: Helen Mary Gaskell and the War Library', published in the Journal of Medical Humanities, is available here

My publications also include articles and book chapters on Thomas Hardy, Henry James, the Brontës, Joseph Conrad, and life writing.

I peer review for a number of journals and academic and trade publishers, and the AHRC's Peer Review College.


Teaching interests

A230 - The Twentieth CenturyThe Poems of Thomas Hardy CD-ROM  Approaches and Territories - cover

I was interested in distance learning methodologies before joining the Open University, and in 2000 produced a CD-ROM on the poetry of Thomas Hardy – follow the link for a taster. This CD-ROM includes the Complete Poems and numerous audio and video extracts. 

Now my teaching commitments include A335 Literature in Transition, for which I have written teaching material on Ford's The Good Soldier; and A230 Reading and Studying Literature, where my teaching units focused on James Joyce's collection of short stories, Dubliners. I co-edited The Twentieth Century, pictured above left, for Bloomsbury while A230 was in production and was also deputy module team chair. I have also written teaching material for other current and recent modules across all levels of the curriculum, including A215 Creative Writing; A150 Voices and Texts; EA300 Children’s Literature, and A300 Twentieth-Century Literature: Texts and Debates. I was Chair of the Start Writing suite of modules, including Start Writing Fiction (A174), and Start Writing Poetry (A175) from 2008-2012 and wrote teaching material for Start Writing Essays (A172). While serving as Director of Research Degrees in the Faculty (2012-14) I wrote teaching material supporting the progress of our PhD students, and I have designed and led PGRS training and development events for the department or the Faculty annually since 2009.

My current major teaching role is as Chair of the Access Module in Arts and Languages (Y031), the theme of which is Popular Protest. I am relishing the opportunity to work at this level of study, developing materials to ensure students begin their degrees fully equipped for study. I'm currently working with colleagues from several disciplines on a new introductory asset for the module, on the protest banner in history.   

Recent and current research students have undertaken PhDs on Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, Thomas Hardy, Edith Wharton, and the literature of the First World War. Informal PhD enquiries are welcomed, but please also refer to the Postgraduate section of our departmental website for further relevant information.


Impact and engagement

Ford Madox Ford 2012 conference posterStony Stratford Ford Madox Ford lecture posterSpectator article

I was an academic consultant and an interviewee for the Culture Show Special, ‘Who on Earth was Ford Madox Ford?’ (BBC2, 1 September, 2012). At an open session of the Parade’s End conference, held in London in Sept 2012, I chaired a question-and-answer session with Susanna White, director of the Parade’s End adaptation, and Rupert Edwards, producer of the Culture Show Special. I was also the academic consultant for a second Ford-related BBC project, ‘The World of Parade’s End’ (BBC2, 24 August, 2012), and co-authored a magazine article in the Spectator on the BBC/HBO adaptation (18 August, 2012).  I delivered a talk on Ford Madox Ford as part of the South Bank ‘The Rest is Noise’ Festival on 3 February 2013, and a public lecture on Ford at Stony Stratford library on 19 March 2013.

In September, 2015 I gave the keynote lecture at a conference on Ford and H.G. Wells's war writing. Guardian journalist Sam Jordison joined us for the event and I interviewed him about his book project on Wells, as well as his experience of running an online reading group on Ford's novel. In 2016, my major external engagement was with the BBC, in my role as academic consultant for the OU on Sally Wainwright's new drama, To Walk Invisible, which is about the life and work of the Brontë sisters. A documentary film on Ford’s life and work for which I was interviewed, It Was the Nightingale: the Unreliable Story of Ford Madox Ford, dir. Paul Lewis at Subterracon Films, had its official launch in 2017 at an event at the London Review Bookshop, sponsored by the Open University. I have shown the film at local schools and colleges, contributing to their curriculum and widening knowledge of Ford and his work.

I have written/filmed OpenLearn material on the Brontës, on myth and Star Wars, on protest banners, and on Endell Street's suffragette story. The Endell Street story is related to my bibliotherapy research and a short film about this ground-breaking military hospital is here


External collaborations

I was an Editorial Board member of International Ford Madox Ford Studies to 2015, and am now part of the project team developing the new Ford Madox Ford Journal, to launch in 2018.

My external research networks include the Medical History of the First World War network and WAR-Net, an interdisciplinary network for scholars working on war representation.

The Ford Madox Ford Society holds an annual conference, has a North American chapter, and fosters many of my research links and collaborations.


I have worked in European research networks, including COTEPRA.

I work closely with academics in France, Italy and North America in the area of Ford Studies.

Ford's papers are held in Ithaca, New York, and New York City, and much of my current work on the women who powered First World War bibliotherapy is founded on links with institutions and academics in the United States.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Book History and Bibliography Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts


Externally funded projects

The Bridge to Joyceland and Beyond: Ford Madox Ford in the Twenty-First
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Sep 201530 Apr 2016BRITAC British Academy

I have received a 5k BA/Leverhulme Small Grant for my research project: ‘The Bridge to Joyceland and Beyond: Ford Madox Ford in the Twenty-First Century’ which will involve archival work at two libraries in the US. Cornell University houses the most significant collection of Ford’s manuscripts and papers, and there I will be accessing materials related to his early life and work as I prepare a proposal for a volume of his fairy tales and develop a database of his letters. During a second trip, to the New York Public Library, I will document Ford’s final book collection, donated to the library in the 1990s. Considering how well-connected Ford was in the 1920s and 1930s, I shall be looking for significant dedications as well as marginalia as I prepare an essay on the collection for the inaugural issue of the new Ford Society Journal.


Reading, Trauma and Literary Caregiving 1914-1918: Helen Mary Gaskell and the War Library (2020-09)
Haslam, Sara
Journal of Medical Humanities, 41 (pp. 305-321)

No more Parades End: Ford Madox Ford’s last library and what it tells us about ‘the Tietjens saga’ (2018-06-08)
Haslam, Sara
Times Literary Supplement(6010)

Ford Madox Ford's Last Library: Details, Dedications, and Remaining Mysteries in the Berg Collection, New York (2018)
Haslam, Sara
Last Post: A literary journal from the Ford Madox Ford Society, 1(1) (pp. 1-23)

A literary intervention: writing alcohol in British literature 1915–1930 (2013)
Haslam, Sara
First World War Studies, 4(2) (pp. 219-239)

Written in blood: Family, sex and violence in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre (2002-09)
Haslam, Sara
The English Review, 13(1) (pp. 8-11)

Modern Knowledge and Ford's Modern Novel (2000-05)
Haslam, Sara
Precursors and Aftermaths: Literature in English 1914-1945, 1(1) (pp. 49-63)

A question of knowledge: James, Ford, "The Beast in the Jungle" and A Call (2000-01)
Haslam, Sara
The Henry James Review, 21(1) (pp. 72-82)

Life writing (2009)
Haslam, Sara and Neale, Derek
ISBN : 9780415461559 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Fragmenting modernism: Ford Madox Ford, the novel and the Great War (2002-08)
Haslam, Sara
ISBN : 719060559 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester, UK

Editing Ford (2019-03)
Haslam, Sara; Saunders, Max and Skinner, Paul
In: Haslam, Sara; Colombino, Laura and O'Malley, Seamus eds. The Routledge Research Companion to Ford Madox Ford (pp. 441-460)
Publisher : Routledge

Ford Studies in the Twenty-first Century: Bibliography, Criticism and the Gaps on the Map (2019)
Haslam, Sara
In: Haslam, Sara; Colombino, Laura and O'Malley, Seamus eds. The Routledge Companion to Ford Madox Ford (pp. 1-22)
ISBN : 9781472427380 | Publisher : Routledge

Ford's Letters (2019)
Haslam, Sara and Saunders, Max
In: Haslam, Sara; Colombino, Laura and O'Malley, Seamus eds. The Routledge Research Companion to Ford Madox Ford (pp. 25-38)
ISBN : 9781472427380 | Publisher : Routledge

Ford and gender (2015-12-04)
Haslam, Sara
In: Chantler, Ashley and Hawkes, Rob eds. An Introduction to Ford Madox Ford (pp. 163-176)
ISBN : 978-1-4724-6908-3 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Farnham

Dowell and Dopamine: Information, Pleasure and Plot (2015-06-02)
Haslam, Sara
In: Haslam, Sara and Saunders, Max eds. Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier: Centenary Essays (pp. 117-132)
ISBN : 9789004299177 | Publisher : Brill | Published : Leiden and Boston

Ford as Edwardian author: publishers, trends, markets (2013)
Haslam, Sara
In: Colombino, Laura and Saunders, Max eds. The Edwardian Ford Madox Ford. International Ford Madox Ford Studies (12) (pp. 35-48)
ISBN : 9789042037021 | Publisher : Rodopi | Published : Amsterdam/New York

“The moaning of the world” and the “words that bring me peace”: Modernism and the First World War (2012-03)
Haslam, Sara
In: Piette, Adam and Rawlinson, Mark eds. The Edinburgh Companion to British and American War Literature (pp. 47-57)
ISBN : 9780748638741 | Publisher : Edinburgh University Press | Published : Edinburgh

Introduction: "Dreaming Territory" (2012)
Haslam, Sara
In: Haslam, Sara and O'Malley, Seamus eds. Ford Madox Ford and America. International Ford Madox Ford Studies (11) (pp. 17-44)
ISBN : 978-90-420-3566-9 | Publisher : Rodopi | Published : Amsterdam

Ford Madox Ford (2010-12)
Haslam, Sara
In: Shaffer, Brian ed. The Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Fiction
Publisher : Wiley-Blackwell

'To Cook, or to Paint, in Paris? Ford in Colour' (2009)
Haslam, Sara
In: Colombino, Laura ed. Ford Madox Ford and Visual Culture. International Ford Madox Ford Studies (pp. 85-97)
ISBN : 9789042026353 | Publisher : Rodopi | Published : Amsterdam; New York

Wessex, literary pilgrims and Thomas Hardy (2009)
Haslam, Sara
In: Watson, Nicola ed. Literary Tourism and Nineteenth-Century Culture (pp. 164-175)
ISBN : 9780230222816 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke

Making a text the Fordian way: Between St Dennis and St George, propaganda and the first world war (2007-07)
Haslam, Sara
In: Hammond, Mary and Towheed, Shafquat eds. Publishing in the First World War: Essays in Book History (pp. 202-214)
ISBN : 9780230500761 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK

The prophet and the sceptic: George Eliot and Ford Madox Ford (2007)
Haslam, Sara
In: Skinner, Paul ed. Ford Madox Ford's Literary Contacts. International Ford Madox Ford Studies (pp. 49-62)
ISBN : 9789042022485 | Publisher : Rodopi | Published : Amsterdam and New York

England and Englishness: Ford's first trilogy (2006)
Haslam, Sara
In: Brown, Dennis and Plastow, Jenny eds. Ford Madox Ford and Englishness. International Ford Madox Ford Studies (5) (pp. 47-62)
ISBN : 978-90-420-2053-5 | Publisher : Rodopi

Ford Madox Ford: the good soldier (2006)
Haslam, Sara
In: Bradshaw, David and Dettmar, Kevin J. H. eds. A Companion to Modernist Literature and Culture. Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture (pp. 350-357)
ISBN : 9780631204350 | Publisher : Blackwell Publishing | Published : Oxford, UK

Anton Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard (2005)
Haslam, Sara
In: Brown, Richard and Gupta, Suman eds. Aestheticism and Modernism: Debating Twentieth-Century Literature 1900-1960 (pp. 19-67)
ISBN : 415351685 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, Oxfordshire

Portraits of Cities: Ford Madox Ford; Three Essays from an Unfinished Work; (2005)
Haslam, Sara and Saunders, Max
In: Haslam, Sara ed. Ford Madox Ford and the City. International Ford Madox Ford Studies (4) (pp. 211-234)
ISBN : 978-90-420-1717-7 | Publisher : Rodopi | Published : New York/London

Ford's training (2003-11)
Haslam, Sara
In: Hampson, Robert and Saunders, Max eds. Ford Madox Ford's Modernity. International Ford Madox Ford Studies (pp. 35-46)
ISBN : 9042011874 | Publisher : Rodopi | Published : Amsterdam/New York, USA

An 'Historian's Methods'?: Between St Dennis and St George and the Language of Propaganda (2002)
Haslam, Sara
In: Fortunati, Vita and Lamberti, Elena eds. Ford Madox Ford and "The Republic of Letters" (pp. 41-50)
ISBN : 8849119283 | Publisher : CLUEB | Published : Bologna, Italy

Helena (2020-11)
Haslam, Sara ed.
The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh
ISBN : 9780199685240 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : UK

The Routledge Research Companion to Ford Madox Ford (2018-12-07)
Haslam, Sara; Colombino, Laura and O'Malley, Seamus eds.
Routledge Research Companions
ISBN : 9781472427380 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London and New York

Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier: Centenary Essays (2015)
Saunders, Max and Haslam, Sara eds.
International Ford Madox Ford Studies
ISBN : 9789004299160 | Publisher : Brill | Published : Leiden and Boston

The Twentieth Century (2012-02)
Haslam, Sara and Asbee, Sue eds.
Reading and Studying Literature
ISBN : 9781849666206 | Publisher : Bloomsbury Academic | Published : London

Ford Madox Ford and America (2012)
Haslam, Sara and O'Malley, Seamus eds.
International Ford Madox Ford Studies
ISBN : 978-90-420-3566-9 | Publisher : Rodopi | Published : Amsterdam

A Man Could Stand Up- by Ford Madox Ford (2011)
Haslam, Sara ed.
Parade's End
ISBN : 9781847770141 | Publisher : Carcanet | Published : Manchester

The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (2010)
Haslam, Sara
Haslam, Sara ed.
ISBN : 9781840226539 | Publisher : Wordsworth Editions | Published : Ware, Hertfordshire

Ford Madox Ford and the city (2005)
Haslam, Sara ed.
International Ford Madox Ford Studies
ISBN : 9042017171 | Publisher : Rodopi | Published : Amsterdam, Netherlands

'These fragments I have shored against my ruins': Memory and Modernism (2002)
Haslam, Sara
In : Modernism and the Individual Talent: Re-Canonizing Ford Madox Ford (25-27 Jun 1999, Munster, Westphalia, Germany)

Contested Ground: alcohol, attachment, and the hut habit at war (2015-06-11)
Haslam, Sara
University College, Dublin. Humanities Institute

England and the English (2003-11-01)
Ford, Madox Ford
Carcanet Press, Manchester, UK.