Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Research and Education

Current Research

Contemporary Women's Writing

I am about to begin my next project which centres on the motif of incest in contemporary Irish women's writing. My initial focuses are on: Down by the River (Edna O'Brien; 1996); God on the Wall (Breda Spaight; 1997); In Night's City (Dorothy Nelson; 1982); and A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (Eimear McBride; 2013). I am interested in late modernist concerns in these novels, and I will particular address fractured yet repetitive narratives, as well as the question of mimesis. This will also require me to look at contemporary 'misery lit', as well as 'misery memoirs' from a hundred years ago.



Originally from north London, I migrated to the midlands to read for my bachelor's degree in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick. I completed modules in literature and theory from the Ancients to the present day. The modules that have most shaped my current research are the Epic Tradition, Shakespeare and Contemporary Dramatists, Poetry in English since 1945, Literary and Cultural Theory and Literature and Psychoanalysis. My undergraduate dissertation examined postmodernity in J. G. Ballard's fiction, supervised by Professor Pablo Mukherjee. I graduated in 2010.


I headed further northwards for my master's study and at The University of Manchester I completed a taught degree in Post-1900 Literatures, Theories and Cultures. Aside from modules in critical theory, English modernist fiction, contemporary Irish and Scottish fiction and black culture in post-Civil Rights America, I completed my dissertation in post-1968 poetry of Belfast. I was supervised by Dr Alan Rawes. I graduated from The University of Manchester in 2011.

Doctoral Research

After my master's I returned to the University of Warwick and started researching for my PhD in October 2011. Inspired by James Joyce's Ulysses, my original research proposal outlined a thesis that would examine the Hamletic nature of heroes in twentieth-century Irish fiction. However, after a series of ongoing evolutions, my thesis expanded its scope -- it now uses a wider range of early modern literature, no longer limited to Hamlet or even Shakespeare -- and its chapters are structured according to five forms: mother-daughter; father-brother; spectral; corporal; land.

In each of these chapters I outline the specifically early modern enumerations of these spaces, and show how they directly or indirectly pertain to the modern question of 'sovereignty'. I then show how the twentieth-century Irish writers employ these early modern ideas, also in a bid to claim sovereignty. I therefore suggest that far from inheriting a history from direct, temporal predecessors, the modern and contemporary textss of Ireland follow on from the early modern English texts. I therefore refuse a postcolonial narrative, instead advocating a narrative of modernity that continues from seventeenth-century England into the post-1867 Ireland. My work was supervised by Professor Thomas Docherty and Professor Carol Rutter.


Contact Me

n dot collins dot 2 at warwick dot ac dot uk

Office hour: Mondays 10-11am H541

Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies
University of Warwick


Note: Quicklaunch is only visible to you.
Find out more...