Linda Ruth Williams

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For the American film critic, see Linda Williams (United States film critic).

Linda Ruth Williams (born 1961) is Professor of Film Studies in the School of Humanities at the University of Southampton, UK. Her special interests include sexuality and censorship in cinema and literature (she has written widely on pornography, including a book on soft-core cinema), women in film, psychoanalytic theory and D. H. Lawrence.



Williams went to school in Bristol, where she grew up, and followed her English degree at Sussex University with an MA in Critical Theory. She earned her PhD from Sussex on Lawrence, Nietzsche, Freud and Feminism.


She has lectured at Liverpool, Manchester and Exeter Universities, and, since 1994, at Southampton University.

She has written several books including the influential Critical Desire: Psychoanalysis and the Literary Subject, The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema, and is a regular contributor to the British Film Institute's Sight and Sound magazine, and to radio programmes including Woman's Hour. Her 2006 book, Contemporary American Cinema was co-edited with fellow Southampton lecturer Dr Michael Hammond.

Personal life[edit]

She is married to the film critic Mark Kermode, and they have two children. She is co-curator of the annual Shetland Film Festival, Screenplay, run by Shetland Arts, and is a founding organiser of the New Forest Festival.



  • (1990) The Body and the Text: Hélène Cixous, Reading and Teaching, edited by Helen Wilcox, Keith McWatters, Ann Thompson and Linda Ruth Williams. Wheatsheaf.
  • (1992) The Twentieth Century: From 1900 to the Present Day (Bloomsbury Guides to Literature), Bloomsbury Press
  • Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence. Everyman Paperbacks, 1993. (Ed. and introduction.)
  • (1993) Sex in the Head: Visions of Femininity and Film in D. H. Lawrence, Harvester Wheatsheaf
  • (1995) Critical Desire: Psychoanalysis and the literary subject. Edward Arnold
  • (1997) D. H. Lawrence, 'Writers and their Work' series. Northcote House/The British Council
  • (2005) The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema. Edinburgh University Press
  • (2006) Contemporary American Cinema, Open University Press (With Dr. Michael Hammond.)


  • (1989) "Submission and reading: Feminine Masochism and Feminist Criticism", in New Formations, 7, Spring 1989, p. 9–19
  • (1989) "Behind the Silken-Folded Mask: Victorian and Modern Poetry", in The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, edited by Marion Wynne Davis, Bloomsbury Press, pp. 253–291. (Also wrote numerous reference entries on British Poetry since 1830 for that text.)
  • (1990) "Men in Feminism" in Women: A Cultural Review, 1, July 1990, pp. 63–5
  • (1991) "Critical Warfare and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer", in Feminist Criticism: Theory and Practice, edited by Susan Sellers, Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 23–43
  • (1992) "Happy Families? Feminist Transmission and Matrilineal Thought", in New Feminist Discourses, edited by Isobel Armstrong, Routledge, pp. 48–64
  • (1992) "The Trial of D. H. Lawrence" in Critical Survey, July 1992, pp. 154–161
  • (1993) "Everything in question: women and film in prospect", pp. xxiv–xxix; "Sisters under the skin: video and blockbuster erotic thrillers", pp. 105–114; "Select Bibliography", pp. 254–264; all in Women and Film: A Sight and Sound Reader, edited by Pam Cook and Philip Dodd, Scarlet Press.
  • (1994) "The Pornographic Subject: Feminism and Censorship in the 1990s", in Political Gender, edited by Sally Ledger, Josephine McDonagh and Jane Spencer, Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 189–203
  • (1995) "Identity Orgies" in New Formations, No. 25, Summer 1995, pp. 123–127
  • (1996) "Fiona Banner" in Spellbound: Art and Film, ed. Philip Dodd with Ian Christie, BFI and Hayward Gallery, pp. 52–59
  • (1997) "Sex and Censoriousness: Pornography and Censorship in Britain", in The Media Reader, ed. Adam Briggs and Paul Cobley, Addison Wesley Longman, pp. 426–443
  • (1997/8) "We've Been Forgetting that We're Flesh and Blood, Mother: Glad Ghosts and Uncanny Bodies", in D. H. Lawrence Review, Vol. 27, Nos 22–3, 1997/8, special edition on D. H. Lawrence and the Psychoanalytic, ed. Howard J. Booth, Elizabeth M. Fox and Fiona Becket, pp. 233–253
  • (1999) "The Inside-Out of Masculinity: David Cronenberg's Visceral Pleasures", in The Body's Perilous Pleasures: Dangerous Desire and Contemporary Culture, ed. Michele Aaron, Edinburgh University Press 1999, pp. 30–48
  • (1999) "Dream Girls and Mechanic Panic: Dystopia and its others in Brazil and Nineteen Eighty-Four", in Unearthly Strangers: The British Science Fiction Film, ed. I.Q. Hunter, Routledge, pp. 153–168, also reprinted in the 2004 anthology Liquid Metal: The Science Fiction Film Reader, ed Sean Redmond, Columbia University Press/Wallflower Press, 2004, pp. 64–73
  • (1999) "The Edge of the Razor" (interview with director Catherine Breillat), in Sight and Sound, October 1999, pp. 13–14
  • (2000) "Body Talk" in Action/Spectacle Cinema: A Sight and Sound Reader, ed. José Arroyo, London: BFI Publishing 2000, pp. 44–50
  • (2001) "Blood Sisters" in Sight and Sound, 11 (6) June 2001, pp. 36–7
  • (2002) "Escape artist" in Sight and Sound, October pp. 22–25
  • (2002) "Sex and Censoriousness: Pornography and Censorship in Britain", extended and updated, The Media: An Introduction, second edition ed. Adam Briggs and Paul Cobley, Pearson Education pp. 477–495
  • (2003) "Swing high, swing low" in @Sight and Sound@, March, pp. 32–3
  • (2004) "Ready for Action: G.I.Jane, Demi Moore's Body and the Female Combat Movie", in Action and Adventure Cinema, ed. Yvonne Tasker, London: Routledge, pp. 169–185
  • (2005) "Twin Peaks: David Lynch and the serial-thriller soap", in The Contemporary Television Series, edited by Michael Hammond and Lucy Mazdon, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 37–56
  • (2005) "Songs For Swinging Lovers", in Sight and Sound, December 2005
  • (2007) "Sleeping With The Enemy", in Sight and Sound, February 2007
  • (2007) "Ken Russell: Sweet Swell Of Excess", in Sight and Sound, July 2007
  • (2009) "Mister Strangelove", in "Sight and Sound", March 2009

External links[edit]