In her socio-anthropological critical monographs and essays,
evaluates literature by examining it in the context of the culture from which it emerges. She focuses on intellectual, social, and moral elements of literary work, and she insists on a rigorous standard of judgement for works by well-known, as well as by unknown, writers. Her reviews and evaluations of contemporary writers could be sharply aggressive or just ferocious, as in the case of Virginia Woolf. Some of her influence derived from her status as the wife of
was a power in her own right. Although she inhabited the shadow of her husband in her early years, she also came to be a significant influence in the field of cultural studies and a well-defined voice in literary studies. By her own account, work by her often went into her husband's publications.