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Critical Theory


Christina Britzolakis, BA (Witwatersrand), MPhil, DPhil. (Oxford) – Associate Professor

Modernism in its cultural, historical and geographical contexts. More broadly, late 19th, 20th and 21st century writing, with a particular focus on the modernist moment and its legacies. Her book, Sylvia Plath and the Theatre of Mourning, situates Plath’s poetry and prose in relation to modernism, psychoanalysis, feminism, and Cold War culture. She has also published articles on a wide range of twentieth-century authors. Her current project is a book on modernism and peripheral Europe. She is also working on a study of the consequences of the 'spatial turn' in the humanities for literary study.

Thomas Docherty, MA (Glasgow), DPhil (Oxford) - Professor

Published on most areas of English and comparative literature from the renaissance to the present day. He specialises in the philosophy of literary criticsim, in critical theory, and in cultural history in relation primarily to European philosophy and literatures. Books include Reading (Absent) Character; John Donne Undone; On Modern Authority; Postmodernism; After Theory; Alterities: Criticism and Modernity; Aesthetic Democracy; For the University; and Confessions: The Philosophy of Transparency. He supervises work on all aspects of critical theory, and has a particular interest in taking on doctoral projects involving contemporary French and Italian philosophy or Enlightenment studies. Other areas of interest include: European cinema, Scottish literature and culture, Irish literature, modernism and modernity, Beckett, Proust. He is also a member of the Modern and Contemporary Literature research group.

John Fletcher, BA (Melbourne), BPhil (Oxford) – Associate Professor

Three main areas: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Gothic and related writing; the formation of modern gay and lesbian cultural identities, sub-cultures and writings; psychoanalytic theory, especially the work of Jean Laplanche which he translates and edits from the French. He has edited volumes on film melodrama (Melodrama and Transgression, in Screen 1987), Julia Kristeva (Abjection, Melancholia and Love, 1990) and Jean Laplanche (Jean Laplanche: A Dossier, 1992), and a collection of Laplanche’s metapsychological papers, Essays on Otherness (1999) and a special issue of New Formations (2002-03). He has recently published essays on Laplanche's metapsychology (Psychoanalytoc Quarterly, 2007), Freud and Sophocles' Oedipus The King (Textual Practice, 2007), and Freud and E. T. A. Hoffman (Angelaki, 2002). He is finishing a book on Freud and the Scenography of Trauma that addresses the status and power of traumatic scenes in Freud's interpretative practice and models of psychic life, as well as a collection of studies of traumatic narratives in film and literature. In the near future, he will be overseeing the translation into English of Laplanche's complete works. He is also incubating a book on Modernity and the Gothic, the haunting of the culture of modernity by the ineradicable hold of tradition and inheritance. He is also a member of the Literature and Psychoanalysis research group, the Translation, Theory and Practice research group, and the British Writing and Culture 1750-1900 research group.

Michael Gardiner, BA, MA (Oxford); MA (London); PhD (St. Andrews)

Works on twentieth-century cultural, literary, and political history, particularly relating to British or post-British questions of nation, empire, and constitutional negotiation. Also works on Euro-Japanese comparison, particularly in the long, post-1868, era of modernism. Books include The Cultural Roots of British Devolution, Modern Scottish Culture, Scottish Critical Theory Since 1960, Escalator, The Life of Thomas B. Glover, and the forthcoming The Return of England in English Literature, The Constitution of English Literature, Global Modernisms, and British and Japanese Modernism. On the editorial boards of Our Kingdom, IJSL, and Textual Practice. Welcomes research proposals in these areas. Welcomes research proposals in these areas. He is also a member of the Critical Theory research group and the Post-colonial and World Literary Studies research group and the Post-colonial and World Literary Studies research group.

Daniel Katz, BA (Reed), PhD (Stanford) - Associate Professor

Modernism and post-modernism; psychoanalysis, philosophy, and critical theory; transatlantic literary studies; poetry, the lyric subject, and autobiographical constructions. Recent research has emphasized expatriation, translation, exoticism, multilingualism, and constructions of native and foreign in Samuel Beckett, Ezra Pound, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, and Jack Spicer, among others. His current research focuses on various twentieth-century elaborations of a poetics of interference. He is also a member of the Literature and Psychoanalysis research group, the Modern and Contemporary Literature research group, and on the American Literature and Culture research group.

Nicholas Lawrence, BA (Harvard), MA, PhD (New York at Buffalo) - Associate Professor

American literature and culture from the nineteenth century to the present, especially within an international context; Hawthorne and Whitman; Marxism, the Frankfurt School and critical media theory; post-9/11 literary and graphic culture; contemporary innovative poetry and poetics. Recent work includes articles on Whitman, Hawthorne, Frank O'Hara, Ronald Johnson, and American gothic; current research focuses on the politics of metropolitan and international encounter in modern American poetry, public vs. private writing in nineteenth century America, and international relations in modernist poetics. He has edited a special feature on the work of Bruce Andrews for Jacket magazine and has co-edited a bilingual anthology of innovative North American poetry for the Casa de Letras in Havana. He is co-editor, with Marta Werner, of Ordinary Mysteries: The Common Journal of Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne (American Philosophical Society). He is also a member of the American Literature and Culture research group.

Neil Lazarus, BA (Witwatersrand), MA (Essex), PhD (Keele) – Professor

‘Postcolonial’ literatures and cultures (African, especially, but also Caribbean, South and South-East Asian and disaporic/Black Atlanticist); ‘postcolonial’ theory; theories of imperialism, nationalism, and anticolonial resistance; globalization; comparative modernities. More broadly, 19th and 20th century literature; the novel in English; literature of Empire; modernist literature and theories of modernism; literary theory. Publications include Resistance in Postcolonial African Fiction (Yale, 1990), Nationalism and Cultural Practice in the Postcolonial World (CUP, 1999), Marxism, Modernity and Postcolonial Studies (CUP 2000), The Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Literary Studies (CUP, 2004). He is also a member of the Post-colonial and World Literary Studies research group.

Graeme Macdonald, MA [Jt Hons] (Aberdeen); PhD (Glasgow) - Associate Professor

Main research interests lie in the relationship between literature, sociology and anthropology from the nineteenth century to the present; naturalist fiction and theory; Scottish literature (especially contemporary); literary and cultural theory; literature, nationalism and citizenship. He is editor of Post Theory: New Directions in Criticism (EUP, 1999), has published recent articles on naturalist fiction, on the relationship between French and Scottish literature, and on James Kelman. Currently preparing a monograph on James Kelman and, in the longer term, a major anthology on writing and social investigation, 1830-2000. He is also a member of the Modern and Contemporary Literature research group.

Emma Mason, BA, MA (Cardiff) PhD (Warwick) - Professor

Research interests are focused on 'Romanticism' as a term embodying poetry from 1740-present day, specifically the way this term illuminates theories of feeling and emotion and questions about faith, religion and the Bible. She is author of Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (Writers and their Work, 2006); The Cambridge Introduction to Wordsworth (Cambridge University Press, 2010); and with Mark Knight, Nineteenth-century Religion and Literature: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2006). She co-edited The Blackwell's Companion to the Bible in English Literature (2009) and The Oxford Handbook of the Reception History of the Bible (2010) and is currently finishing a new edition of Elizabeth Jennings' poetry for Carcanet. She is also a member of the Religion and Literature research group and the British Writing and Culture 1750-1900 research group.

Benita Parry, BSoc Sc (Cape Town), BA, MA (Birmingham), DLitt (York) - Professor Emerita

The literature of colonialism and imperialism, colonial discourse analysis, and postcolonial theory. Her books are Delusions and Discoveries: Studies on India in the British Imagination (1972), republished with a new preface by Verso 1998; Conrad and Imperialism: Ideological Boundaries and Visionary Frontiers (1984); and Postcolonial Studies: A Materialist Critique (Routledge 2004). On the colonial discourse/postcolonial discussion, she is the author of journal articles and essays for The Edward Said Reader (1992) in the Blackwell series of Critical Readers, and the volume Colonial Discourse/Postcolonial Theory, in a series of Essex symposia on literature, politics and theory (Manchester University Press, 1994). She has also written on South African cultural debates and on the fiction of J. M. Coetzee, co-edited Cultural Representations of Imperialism: Edward Said and the Gravity of History (1998), and co-edited a volume of Essays and Studies No. 1997: Postcolonial Criticism and Theory for the English Association (1999). Current work includes essays on Conrad, Forster and Wells, and a further critical consideration of current directions in the postcolonial discussion. She is also a member of the Post-colonial and World Literary Studies research group.

Stephen Shapiro, BA (Williams), MA, PhD (Yale) - Professor

Writing and the culture of the United States, particularly pre-twentieth century; marxism and cultural materialism; British cultural studies; formations of gender and sexuality; literary theory; world-systems analyses. More broadly, late Enlightenment, nineteenth and twentieth century narrative. His publications include: The Culture and Commerce of the Early American Novel: Reading the Atlantic World-System (Penn State, 2008); How to Read Marx's Capital (Pluto, 2008) and, How to Read Foucault's Discipline and Punish (with Anne Schwan, Pluto, 2011); the collection, Revising Charles Brockden Brown: Culture, Politics, and Sexuality in the Early Republic (with Philip Barnard and Mark L. Kamrath, Tennessee, 2004) and critical editions (Hackett) of Charles Brockden Brown: Edgar Huntly: or Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker (2006); Arthur Mervyn, or Memoirs of the Year 1793 (2008); Wieland; or, The Transformation(2009) and Ormond; or the Secret Witness (2009). Forthcoming (with Philip Barnard) edition of Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women (Hackett, 2013); (with Philip Barnard) Oxford Handbook on Charles Brockden Brown (Oxford UP, 2014). He is also working with Philip Barnard on a new translation of The Productive Body by Guerry and Deleule. His next monograph has a working title of From Gothic to God: Paranormal Capitalism in Evangelical Antebellum America. He is also working on a manuscript tentatively entitled The Anticapitalist Foucault.  He is also a member of the American Literature and Culture research group.

Rashmi Varma, BA, MA (Delhi), PhD (University of Illinois, Chicago) – Associate Professor

Research interests in South Asian, African and Caribbean literatures in English; more generally, postcolonial studies and postcolonial theory; feminist theory, Marxism and cultural materialism; cultural studies. Publications on citizenship in the postcolonial city; the figure of the ‘tribal’ in Anglophone Indian writing; (im)migration and diaspora; and the postcolonial public sphere. She has recently published The Postcolonial City (Routledge, 2011). She is also a member of the Post-colonial and World Literary Studies research group.

Key Publications

dochertycrit&mod dochertyaesthetic 

dochertyalterities dochertyafter

 dochertyconfessions dochertyuniversity






gardineredge gardinerroots

 gardinerscottish gardinertrocchi



 katzmodernism katzbeckett








 lazarusunconscious lazarusccpoco

lazarusnationalism lazarusmarxism


masonjennings masonbible

masonreligion masonwomen

masonwordsworth masonbibleenglit





parrypocostudies parryimperialism




shapiroculture shapirofoucault

shapiromarx shapiroormond

shapirowieland shapiromervyn