Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Feminisms Reading Group: Metaphors of Sexual Violence in Modernist Literature

08 November 2022, 4:00 pm–5:30 pm

Feminisms reading group

The Feminisms Reading Group at UCL aims to give students and researchers at all levels access to rich feminist discussions as well as insight into exciting current research being undertaken.

Event Information

Open to



Ilona Mannan

‘Violated Vehicles: Metaphors of Sexual Violence in Modernist Literature’ and The Waste Land
Zoe Miller

My thesis explores tensions surrounding metaphors of sexual violence in modernist literature. I challenge critical mis-readings of these images as solely metaphorical, suggesting that focusing on wider readings of modernity subsumes sexual violence into a simple vehicle. Instead, I suggest that these scenes often assert their own significance as instances of violence or non-consent, working against the metaphors they are presumed to convey.
Attendees are provided with a selection of extracts that will be used for discussion and analysis of a section of The Waste Land. The session will focus around short extracts from the following texts: 

- T.S. Eliot, ‘The Fire Sermon’, in The Waste Land <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47311/the-waste-land> [accessed 28 July 2022]
- Megan Quigley, ‘Reading “The Waste Land” with the #MeToo Generation’, Modernism/modernity, 4 (2019) <https://modernismmodernity.org/forums/reading-waste-land-metoo> [accessed 28 July 2022]
- An extract from Sharon Stockton, ‘T. S. Eliot and the Rape of God’, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 39 (1997), 375-398.
- An extract from Susan Andrade, The Nation Writ Small: African Fictions and Feminisms, 1958-1988 (London: Duke University Press, 2011).

This event runs on Zoom. Email sarah.edwards.19@ucl.ac.uk or ilona.mannan.10@ucl.ac.uk for the Zoom joining link.

Download the reading for this session: 

The Feminisms Reading Group is a collaborative initiative led by two PhD students from UCL's English department, Ilona Mannan and Sarah Edwards.  You can email us at sarah.edwards.19@ucl.ac.uk or ilona.mannan.10@ucl.ac.uk. The group is open to anyone, staff or student, from UCL and beyond, and is brand new as of the 2022 Autumn term.

The sessions predominantly cover different aspects of feminism, work by women writers, feminist theory and criticism, and depictions of women in literature. One PhD researcher or academic delivers each reading group session which is then chaired by the convenors, Ilona and Sarah. The format of the reading group is not set and can be changed depending on the preferences of each researcher. Formats so far include: a guest giving a short paper and then providing attendees with some short extracts to discuss, and a guest providing attendees with extracts and running a commentary and analysis session based on those extracts. No matter the format the session takes they are absolutely an occasion for networking, discussion and connecting with researchers and students. 

Preparatory reading is not mandatory so please do come along regardless. However, speakers do often provide some preparatory reading materials for attendees and you will most likely find you get more out of the reading group sessions if you have been able to spend a little time with the materials prior to the session. You may wish to prepare questions to ask the speaker about the topic as Q&A sessions are immensely rewarding, especially when you can discuss issues of interest to you with an expert.