Shelby Judge

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Research title: Exploring contemporary women writers’ reclamation of myth for feminist purpose, specifically within the Canongate Myth Series.

Research Summary

My PhD thesis is entitled ‘Contemporary Feminist Adaptations of Greek Myth’ and aims to answer two central research questions: ‘In what ways are contemporary female authors adapting Greek myths?’ and ‘how can ancient myths engage with modern feminist discourses?’ The primary texts in my thesis are: Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, Jeanette Winterson’s Weight, Ali Smith’s Boy Meets Girl, Salley Vickers’ Where Three Roads Meet, Emily Hauser’s For the Most Beautiful, Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls, Ursula Le Guin's Lavinia, Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles and Circe, and Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire.

Drawing upon feminist literary theory and Classical Reception, I examine modern retellings of Greek myths, analysing the models of adaptation deployed by the above authors and, crucially, how these ancient myths can be utilised and politicised, particularly in terms of contemporary feminist discourses.

My overarching research interests are in feminist theory and contemporary English and American women’s fiction; contemporary women’s fantasy literature; and Queer Theory. 

I also run a PhD related blog:






  • 'In the Margins of Myth and Feminism: The Women Writers of the Canongate Myth Series', British Comparative Literature Association Annual Conference, University of Strathclyde, 3 December 2018.
  • ‘Could Briseis Consent?’, Consent: Histories, Representations, and Frameworks for the Future, University of Durham, 5-6 August 2019.
  • ‘Exploring Contemporary Women Writers’ Adaptations of Myth for Feminist Purposes’, First Annual Peer Symposium for English Literature, University of Glasgow, 25 October 2019
  • ‘“Now that I’m dead, I know everything”: Interrogating Ghosts in Feminist Adaptations of Greek Myth’, Afterlives: College of Arts Annual Postgraduate Conference, University of Glasgow, 1-3rd July 2020
  • ‘Kamila Shamsie: A Transatlantic Literary Woman’, Tea With Transatlantic Literary Women, 8 July 2020
  • ‘Contemporary Women’s Adaptations of Myths for Feminist Purposes: #Instapoetry edition’, Reading Instapoetry, University of Glasgow, 14th-16th July 2020


Additional Information


  • Affiliated with Cultivate, the feminist journal of the Centre for Women's Studies at the University of York.