Louise Goswell

  • Research Student

Research groups and centres

PhD Title: Untangling SOE Narratives Through Historiographic Metafiction  

PGR supervision: Barbara Cooke and Kerry Featherstone.

Louise graduated from Loughborough University in 2019 with a BA (Hons) in English. During her undergraduate degree, Louise’s interest in Creative Nonfiction began; her dissertation was entitled ‘All Were United in Grief? A Creative and Critical Investigation of the Ethics and Representations of Public Mourning’. 

In 2020, Louise graduated again from Loughborough University with an MA in Creative Writing, where she continued her research interests in Creative Nonfiction writing. Her dissertation was entitled ‘Conflicting Histories and The One Creative History: Building A Grand Theory Through Historical Fiction’. During her MA, Louise’s play-script about Noor Inayat Khan was a winning entry for the LU Arts Inspirational Women’s Competition. The play was subsequently performed at the International Women’s Festival. 

Louise began her PhD in January 2021. Her research is practice-led, examining female, clandestine espionage during World War Two. Her research focuses on how historiographic metafiction can be used to untangle historical narratives, specifically those written about the female, F Section SOE agents. Her supervisors are Barbara Cooke and Kerry Featherstone.  

Alongside her PhD, she is a Teaching Assistant in a primary school. 

My PhD is practice-led and examines how historiographic metafiction can be used to explore the limitations of narratives based on the lives of female, F Section, Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents. My thesis focuses on SOE biographies and fiction, investigating how these narratives have been skewed and misrepresented, contrasting with the lived experiences of the female agents. My research explores how historiographic metafiction – specifically unreliable narrators and frame and embedded narratives – can be used to explore how the past is written about in literature. My research will comprise of three strands: an examination of post-war representations of female agents in fiction and biography, regarding the modern tendency to idolise and glorify the agents; a critical exploration of how historiographic metafiction has been used in the past and how I might use it (specifically unreliable narrators and frame and embedded narratives) to answer the criticisms of current SOE literature; the creative component, using the findings of the critical section.  

Louise’s ‘Personal Essay’, which she wrote during her MA, will be published in Courtney Mcphail’s ‘She, Her, We’, a collection of short stories, memoirs and poetry written about women for women in summer 2021.