MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Culture Thought Course Handbook 2015-16 [DOC 1000.50KB]

MA in English: Modern and Contemporary
Literature, Culture and Thought
Handbook 2015-16
Cover Image: Artist’s Studio. Canvas and Paper ( unknown )
This handbook refers to the MA course in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Culture and Thought
offered by the English Department at the University of Sussex.
The convenor of this course is Dr Pam Thurschwell (email:
1. Introduction
The MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Culture and Thought at Sussex is a diverse
course, which offers modules on a range of topics that analyse the production and reception of
modern literature. The course, at various points, has included modules which reflect on the
experience of the city, on photography, on modernism and postmodernism, on literature and
philosophy, on psychoanalysis and sexualities, on the impact of war and on globalisation, and on
many other issues, as part of an attempt to understand how literature (British, European and North
American) has shaped and been shaped by its cultural, historical and intellectual contexts. There
are modules on poetry, on drama, and on various kinds of prose, with a range of options exploring
modernist fiction (including the work of Virginia Woolf and James Joyce) and contemporary writing.
There is also a thriving Centre for Modernist Studies at Sussex, which invites distinguished
speakers from around the world, as well as regular colloquia in English, in Philosophy, in American
Studies and Social and Political Thought. The range of modules on offer, the international
excellence of faculty and students, and the intellectual energy of the graduate culture more
generally are what makes the study of modern literature at Sussex uniquely dynamic and exciting.
The MA is run from within the School of English.
2. Course structure and specifications
For full-time students the course comprises four 12 week modules, two in the Autumn and two in
the Spring, followed by the preparation and writing of a dissertation under supervision during the
Summer Term and vacation. Modules are normally taught by a 2-hour weekly seminar. Each
module attracts 30 credits and the Dissertation 60 credits: the total number of credits constituting
the course is thus 180.
Each module is examined by a 5,000-word term paper, to be submitted at the beginning of the
term following that in which the module is taught. The dissertation length is 15,000 words and it is
submitted at the start of September. Details on how to prepare, present and submit term papers
and dissertations are given in the Examination and Assessment handbook and information
sessions are also arranged by the Director of Doctoral Studies.
For part-time students, the same requirements are spread over two years, with one module taken
in each of the successive Autumn and Spring terms, and with the preparation and writing of the
dissertation extended over two summer periods.
There are a number of colloquia and other extra-curricular activities that students on the Modern
and Contemporary Literature, Culture and Thought course are invited to attend. These include
the English Graduate Colloquium, events organised by the Centre for Modernist Studies, The
Sussex Centre for the Visual, the Centre for Critical and Creative Writing, and the Queory seminar,
which is run fortnightly in the Spring and Summer terms.
The course modules for 2015-16 are as follows:
Autumn Term
Modernist and Contemporary Fictions – Dr Pam Thurschwell
ImagiNation – Dr Maria Lauret
Bearing Witness: Terror and Trauma in Global Literature – Dr Minoli Salgado
The Novel and History – Dr Martin Ryle
Literature in the Institution – Dr Sam Solomon
The Renaissance Body – Professor Margaret Healy
New Configurations in Critical Theory – Dr Michael Jonik
Literature and Society – Dr Richard Adelman
Spring Term
International Modernisms – Dr Sara Crangle
Theory in Practice – Dr Doug Haynes
Voices in the Archives: Writing from History - tba
Versions of Realism – Dr Michael Jones
Modernism 1910 – 1945 – Dr Alistair Davies
American Poetry after Modernism – Dr Daniel Kane
The Uncanny (3rd year undergraduate module) – Professor Nicholas Royle
Summer Term
3. Course learning outcomes
A student who has completed the MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Culture and
Thought successfully will have:
demonstrated a specialised knowledge of selected key issues in the field of modern
demonstrated a detailed knowledge of one or more leading topics in modern literature;
demonstrated oral and writing skills in which a clear, concise and exact use of language is
brought to bear on a rigorous consideration of texts, ideas and controversies within the
demonstrated an ability to understand and to use, when necessary, the specialist
vocabularies associated with literary and cultural studies, and with studies in modern
evaluated and critiqued existing theories in the field;
cited relevant materials judiciously, and to good effect, in the construction of an overarching argument;
read ‘literary’, ‘historical’ and ‘theoretical’ texts critically and attentively;
demonstrated skill in time and work management, including the ability to read, write and
research independently
used electronic resources;
put together well-written, fully-referenced word-processed essays;
carried out a substantial and original piece of research within the field.
4. Course modules
Autumn Term:
Modernist and Contemporary Fictions
This course will explore the relationship between modernist and contemporary fiction by, initially,
pairing works from the first half of the 20th century with works from the second half (and from the
early 2000s) We will consider the usefulness of descriptive terms such as modernism and
postmodernism. We will read a range of novels which engage with issues of artistic form,
subjectivity, and modernity. We’ll ask a variety of questions including: What different ideas about
time, history, aesthetics, sexuality, do we find in modernist and contemporary writing? What
versions of borrowing from the past do modernism and postmodernism employ and what purposes
do these borrowings serve? How do modernist and contemporary works portray personal,
communal, national, or mythic history, and what problems do they encounter in these portrayals?
Is there what the critic Andreas Huyssen has called a ‘great divide’ between modernism and
postmodernism? What attitudes to “high” and popular culture do you find in the works we are
reading for this course? What continuities might we find between the modernist and contemporary
periods? Are descriptive terms such as modernism and postmodernism still useful? How can we
understand our current aesthetic and political situation in relation to works from the past? Authors
read will include Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, Don DeLillo, J.M. Coetzee, Jennifer
Egan and Ali Smith.
'The Great American Novel' became something of a shibboleth in the twentieth century, for
American writers and critics alike. Was it possible to capture the essence, as well as the diversity,
of the American nation in fiction? And if so, how should this be done-in a novel of panoramic
reach, such as John Dos Passos' USA to Don De Lillo's Underworld, or in representation of
America's historico-political unconscious, such as Toni Morrison's Beloved or Jayne Anne Phillips'
Machine Dreams, or could a topic so ostensibly small as family life come to take on the burden of
representative American-ness, as in Jonathan Frantzen's The Corrections? In this module we
look at representations of American history in fiction-both film and literature-to discover how
American fiction of the 20th and 21st centuries has represented American history, politics, and
most of all national identity. Because of this subject matter, we will be taking on big novels, which
may also be great-though the definition of 'greatness' will itself be part of our investigation, rather
than a foregone conclusion. We will, for example, consider questions of representativeness as well
as representation, and this will involve issues of gender, race and ethnicity, mainstream and
margin, the local and the cosmopolitan. We shall be drawing on cultural theory and historiography
to put our reading and viewing into scholarly perspective.
Bearing Witness: Terror and Trauma in Global Literature
The module explores the representation of terror, trauma and testimonial address in a range of
contemporary international literary texts. Through a textual and contextual study of these works,
key issues such as the non-narratability of trauma, the ethics of speaking for the other, the
intersection between the politics of reading, writing and bearing witness, the creation of crosscultural communities in the representation and reading of trauma, and the relationship between
gender, intimacy and the representation of the body in pain, will be studied in relation to critical
readings from terror and trauma studies. The range of literary texts reflects the global cultural
reach of the module, from postcolonial texts from a wide range of cultural locations to literatures
that engage with critical discourses generated by the Holocaust and the War on Terror. Opening
with an emphasis on cross-cultural connections and critical readings, the focus on historical
positioning becomes more pronounced as the module proceeds.
The Novel and History
The module explores recent and contemporary novels written in English that represent and
interpret historical experience. It requires students to consider both substantive and formal aspects
of the selected works. The theme of how the novel as a form can represent, mediate and interpret
historical experience is addressed in a variety of contexts, which illustrate some of the diverse
traditions, projects and audiences with which English-language fiction is engaged today.
We will consider novels written in Britain, in the USA, and in postcolonial settings. Writers studied
may vary from year to year depending on the interests and expertise of tutors and lecturers. In the
initial year of the module, they will include Pat Barker, Kazuo Ishiguro, John McGahern, Toni
Morrison, Don DeLillo, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Jean Rhys and Salman Rushdie.
The primary focus of lectures will be on the texts studied, and in seminar discussion students will
be expected to comment in detail on chapters, episodes, and passages selected by themselves
and by the tutor. The module will also raise and consider larger questions of fictional form and
genre, especially as these relate to the ways in which novels may be read as quasi-historical
narratives. The end-of-module essay will require students to write a comparative critical study of
two novels studied, considering in particular how they can be read as representations of history.
Literature in the Institution: the university and the study of culture
We live, work, and study in the midst of the large-scale transformation of education at local,
national, and international levels. A related (but not identical) development is the growing,
(although certainly not new), "crisis" of the humanities characterised by myriad explanations of just
what it is that we do and by contentious justifications for just why we do it. As students and
scholars of literature and culture, we may wonder how these two interrelated phenomena came
into being and what exactly the study of literatures and cultures can contribute to their resolution.
This module will take on these questions through a range of approaches: we will consider the
origins of the European research university and its connections to moral philosophy, the relatively
recent development of the study of "English" in the UK and its former colonies, the relationship
between higher education and the twentieth century welfare state, the uses of literary and cultural
study as parts of social movements within and outside of the University, and contemporary
debates about the privatisation and market-rationalisation of education.
The Renaissance Body
In early modern England the body was a major intellectual preoccupation and a focal metaphor
informing and shaping cultural structures and artefacts. This period, too, like the cusp of the
twenty-first century, had a very distinctive conception of the person as a construct or artifice, as
the product of social intervention and cultural organization. Engaging with interpretative models
from the fascinating interdisciplinary field of cultural theory of the body, this module explores the
aesthetics of embodiment through a range of literary and visual texts, unravelling the dense
significance of the corporeal imagination of the Renaissance. Key themes include: the ideal body;
body borders, the supernatural and society; gendered voices, sex and agency; the medical
imagination; diabolic inversions (the witch’s body); heroic and monstrous masculinities;
transvestitism; mystical monarchy; diseased bodies; revolutionary corporealities; body, soul and
mind; consuming bodies and eating communities; the fabricated body; rape and pornography.
New Configurations in Critical Theory
This module will explore a wide range of contemporary critical approaches that have emerged not
only out of the influential work of twentieth-century philosophy, literary theory, or psychoanalysis,
but also from a variety of disciplinary quarters. Our investigations will be loosely mapped to four
interrelated topoi - literature, aesthetics, politics, and science - but comprise a number of pressing
theoretical issues. These are: affect, biopolitics, 'life', impersonality, animality, the posthuman, the
status of conceptual art, the earth, political ontology, the common and communism, new
materialisms, science and the brain, networks and information, systems theory and complexity
theory. Possible readings include the work of Deleuze, Guattari, Agamben, Badiou, Rancière,
Esposito, Bennett, Malabou, Smithson, or Luhmann.
Literature and Society 1750-1890
'Literature & Society, 1750-1890' explores the interplay between the nationwide perspectives of
social philosophy and the more individualistic concerns of literary culture in the late eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries. It offers students a chance to make broad connections across the period, at
the same time as providing them with in-depth knowledge of principal theoreticians of culture in
these decades and their major works. Emphasis will be placed on the manner in which literary
works can be read in conversation with, and in opposition to, social theory, with each seminar
structured around close readings of an example of each style of writing.
Spring Term:
International Modernisms
This module will take a long view of modernism, one inextricable from the development of avantgarde aesthetics. Europe is often credited with the inception of experimental, self-reflexive artistic
practice. In our reading, we will examine continental authors and aim to take a more global view of
avant-gardism. We will attend to influential authors that are not often or readily considered in
English-speaking university curricula. These writers – French, Italian, Russian, German, American,
Spanish, Chilean, Argentine, and Caribbean – challenge, reinforce, and expand more familiar
models of Anglo-American modernism. Students rarely engage with movements such as Dada
beyond reading manifestos or overviews of the various, generalised tenets at stake; this module
will ask you not only to think about what Futurism is, but to closely read F.T. Marinetti’s _Mafarka
the Futurist: An African Novel_. The module encompasses fiction, drama, and poetry. All works will
be read in English, and issues of translation and transmission will form part of our discussion.
Theory in Practice: Readings in Contemporary Theory and Literature
Rather than offer a survey of Anglo-American criticism and theory, this module seeks, through a
number of case studies, to address those critical paradigms that have proved significant in the
post-war period. The case studies are organised around a narrative that concerns the
‘dematerialisation of the sign’ - a journey towards postmodernity - and includes attempts to recover
alternative political models in the face of this.
Modernism 1910-1945
This module will explore the achievements and limits of English modernism through a detailed
examination of the work of two of its principal writers, T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf. Eliot's
contributions as a poet, essayist and dramatist were key to the revolution in the theory and
practice of modern poetry while Woolf's contributions as a novelist and essayist were key to the
revolution and practice of the modern novel. The module will explore the similarities and
differences in their treatment of mind and consciousness, their views of and treatment of history,
their representation of the city, their attitudes to questions of sexuality and gender, their notions of
nation and of national identity, their responses to new mass cultural technologies from the popular
press to photography, radio and the cinema, and their responses to the key events of the period in
which they lived, including the First and the Second World Wars, the Spanish Civil War and the
rise of fascism. The module will be organised chronologically and thematically and will enable
students to follow personal as well as intellectual associations between Eliot and Woolf and
between Eliot, Woolf and their modernist contemporaries. The module will in particular reflect on
the ways in which Woolf responded as a writer to Eliot's work and Eliot as a writer responded to
Woolf's work.
Voices in the Archives: Writing from History
This module invites you to consider the ways creative writing uses history, from pragmatic
research strategies to theoretical implications. We think about how different literary genres engage
with the past through form, narrative and literary language, primarily looking at contemporary
historical fiction, but also considering other genres such as poetry and film. Authors studied may
include Sarah Waters, Ian McEwan, Toni Morrison, Mike Leigh, David Dabydeen, Mario Petrucci
and Ali Smith. Seminars will alternate with creative workshops that focus on student writing and
also introduce key research skills, exploring the methodological implications of using physical and
virtual archives. Working with historical newspapers, letters, diaries, prints, photographs and other
documents, we immerse ourselves in old-fangled vocabularies, and experiment with using
language from the past to inflect our contemporary voices. Topics for discussion include the critical
and ethical implications of writing about real historical events and characters. We consider how
contemporary writing is founded on a long tradition of writing from history - often re-visiting the
past with a particular political or creative agenda - from Shakespeare and Walter Scott to Virginia
Woolf. Additionally, we explore how recent historical fiction interacts with other genres, for
example in the fantasies of Susanna Clarke and Angela Carter. We consider theoretical work on
history, memory, nostalgia and narrative by critics including Walter Benjamin, Georg Lukács and
Svetlana Boym.
Important note: This is a creative & critical module and it invites you to develop your own critical
thinking and also your creative writing practice. About half of the module will look at 'writing from
history' from a critical perspective, and the rest will examine the methods and practice of using
historical material as a writer. While you should be open to thinking about history through creative
writing, no previous experience is necessary, and these workshops are equally open for creative
or academic contributions. Students may submit either wholly critical or creative-critical term
papers, according to individual interests.
American Poetry after Modernism
This course explores the development of American poetry and poetics in the wake of British and
American Modernist writing. Beginning with Charles Olson’s groundbreaking essay ‘Projective
Verse’ (1950), we continue to consider the emergence of chance-generated and collaborativelyproduced texts (John Cage, Jackson Mac Low); the tensions between a racialized ‘Black Arts’
movement (LeRoi Jones / Amiri Baraka) and the quotidian, queer poetics of the New York School
(Frank O’Hara, Barbara Guest, John Ashbery); and the work of geographically-based poetic
communities such as Black Mountain, Beat, and San Francisco Renaissance ‘schools’. The
relation of the poets' theories of poetry to their work is a central concern throughout. The final
three weeks of the course will be devoted to reading books by contemporary poets (Harryette
Mullen, Linh Dinh, Lisa Robertson) for whom postmodern theories of subjectivity play a central
concern in terms of negotiating poetry’s relationship to questions of race, gender, and class.
Versions of Realism
In the long, ongoing period of cultural modernity, realism has become the most obdurate,
ubiquitous, malleable, and persistent of artistic modes. Variously understood as a period, genre,
style, or movement, as both reflection of nature and function of technology, as wildly revolutionary
and deeply conservative, realism tends to be everywhere, in part, because we are not sure what it
is exactly. This diffuseness around the term's use, however, is belied by the ease with which the
term is used to designate works of art. In one of its most famous guises, realism plays the part of
the antecedent (Oedipal) other that modernism seeks to destroy, or at least displace. And yet, this
understanding of realism (and modernism) fails to register both the survival of realist concerns and
textual manoeuvres in modernist texts and the way in which realist forms themselves (if we are
even able to pin them down as such) already articulate many or most of modernism's ideological
and aesthetic claims. This module will explore theories and histories of realism and will attempt to
apprehend realism's elusiveness through a series of rubrics: the type, the document, the literal,
totality, reflection, revolution, transparency, impersonality, populism, prescience, contingency,
necessity, irruption and mourning.
The Uncanny (3rd year undergraduate module)
The uncanny is difficult to define: it is mysterious, eerie, at once strange and familiar. It offers
especially productive possibilities for exploring issues of identity and liminality, boundaries and
interdisciplinarity. This module will engage with the uncanny across a wide range of texts and
contexts, extending from literature (novels, short stories, drama and poetry) to film. Discussion will
focus on a number of linked topics, including repetition, doubles, strange coincidences, animism,
live burial, telepathy, death and laughter.
The module aims to develop students' engagement with the notion of the uncanny across a broad
range of literary and other texts; to develop students' skills of reading and critical analysis,
especially insofar as the uncanny by its nature engenders intellectual uncertainty and calls for an
unusual critical patience; to enhance students' capacity for critical reflection on their experience of
the familiar and the strange, the ordinary and the extra-ordinary.
5. Teaching and learning
Depending on where you were an undergraduate, you may find that you have either fewer or more
teaching hours as an MA student than you did when you were studying for your BA. Full-time
students will normally be doing two modules at any one time: each of these will involve a weekly
seminar of two hours. All module tutors have weekly office hours that you are expected to use to
ask for more targeted advice, or clarifications about module requirements and structures. You are
also strongly encouraged to attend relevant open seminars that are brought to your attention. In
addition, you should spend about 30 hours a week in individual study.
The University and the School of English provide certain facilities and resources – most notably, a
library, the use of computers, and a space where learning is constantly pursued. Your tutors will
direct your study with reading lists and all kinds of informal advice. Your ideas and conclusions will
be put to the test in seminars, where you will be expected to have reached some views of your
own and to be able to argue for them. Your written work will be formally assessed to determine
your degree result, and you will receive feedback on your term papers as you go along. We will
help you as much as we can, but what you get out of your study will depend on how much you put
into it: your mastery of the subject is primarily something for you to achieve. Though the structures
we put in place will assist you in this endeavour, they cannot do the work for you.
Individual Study
The largest, and in many ways the most important, part of your working time will be spent on your
own, or discussing problems with your fellow-students. It is important to organise your time
effectively, and to plan your use of the library, especially if you have to do paid work as well as
your academic work. A word of advice: always set yourself specific and realistic targets when you
work, and take regular breaks. Set yourself to read a particular article or chapter of a book, or to
work for a pre-determined length of time (say one and a half hours) and then pause when you
have completed this task. A few periods of intense concentration, separated by short breaks, will
serve you far better than any amount of time spent sitting at a desk but not really concentrating.
Module seminars
The focus of your work for each module will be a weekly seminar. You should be in command of
the reading set, and be prepared to try out your own ideas and to defend them in discussion.
Module seminars are compulsory. In many seminars, some form of presentation will also be
required: your tutor will give you guidance on the form which presentations are expected to take
and how to prepare them.
We require that your essays be professionally presented: typed or word-processed, with full
scholarly references and a bibliography. Pay particular attention to matters of spelling, style and
punctuation. Poor punctuation is one of the commonest failings in student essays, even at
graduate level. If you are unsure about correct punctuation, get hold of a guide: there are several
cheap and readable such guides on the market.
As a general guideline, a well-presented professional essay will be the result of (at least) three
drafts. A first exploratory one in which you set down your ideas and support them with relevant
evidence; a second one which goes over the first draft and reorganises paragraphs, expands
sentences where needed, or cuts out repetitive chunks; and a third one, which should really be
only a proofreading draft, to clear out spelling and/or punctuation mistakes, spot the repetition of
the sentence you cut and pasted too many times, or insert the verb/article/preposition you
accidentally removed when cutting and pasting.
Module Evaluation
Student evaluation forms are issued at the end of each module and are scrutinised by the tutors
associated with the module before it is taught again. These forms are anonymous, and are an
opportunity for you to tell us what you felt about all aspects of the module, including the material
covered, teaching methods, and the adequacy of library and web resources. We take your
comments and suggestions for improvement very seriously. We do not, of course, guarantee to be
able to meet all student requests, first because we have to operate within tight financial
constraints, and second because we have to exercise our own academic judgement about the
desirability of any change. In addition, some key areas – notably the library – are beyond the
immediate control of the School of English. But we do guarantee to give active consideration to all
serious suggestions for change and improvement.
Student Support
Information about student support is available from the Student Life Centre on 01273 876767,
email .
6. Assessment Criteria
Truly exceptional work that could be published
with little or no further development or alteration
on the strength of its original contribution to the
field, its flawless or compelling prose, its
uncommon brilliance in argument and its
demonstration of considerable knowledge of
the topics and authors treated on the module.
Outstanding work that might be fit for
publication or for development into a
publishable article. Work that is exceptional for
its originality of conception and argument, its
conduct of analysis and description, its use of
research and its demonstration of knowledge of
the field and of the core materials studied on
the module.
Good or very good work that is thoughtfully
structured or designed, persuasively written
and argued, based on convincing use of
research and fairly original in at least some of
its conclusions.
Satisfactory work that meets the requirements
of the module and sets out a plausible
argument based on some reading and research
but that may also include errors, poor writing, or
some unargued and improbable judgments.
Work that is inadequate with respect to its
Unsatisfactory argument, its use and presentation of research
and its demonstration of knowledge of the
topics and authors treated on the module, or
that is poorly written and difficult to follow or
Work that plainly does not meet the
requirements of the course and that fails to
make any persuasive use of research or to
conduct any argument with clarity or purpose.
Unacceptable or not submitted.
6. Teaching faculty and associates
The following brief profiles show you the nature of the teaching and research interests of those
associated with the MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Culture and Thought, though not
all will be teaching on the course in the current year. You can find fuller details of tutors’ interests
and publications at their individual staff profiles on the Sussex website: use the staff search at
Although not all of these tutors are offering a module in the current academic year, most of them
will be available for MA dissertation supervision in the Summer Term.
Peter Boxall researches modernist fiction and drama; aesthetics and cultural politics, particularly
in the work of Samuel Beckett; contemporary literature, especially the work of Don DeLillo; the
utopian function in twentieth-century writing.
Natalia Cecire specializes in American literature since 1880 and the theory of minor knowledges.
Her research interests include history of science, poetics, gender and sexuality, childhood, media,
and visual culture.
Sara Crangle researches on the intersections between high modernist writers--Hardy, Joyce,
Stein, Woolf, Beckett--and philosophical thought. She is also interested in contemporary poetry,
poetics, the modernist "tradition," bathos, and everyday emotional states. She is completing a
book entitled Prosaic Desires: Modernist Knowing, Laughter, Boredom, and Waiting.
Alistair Davies researches British modernism and postmodernism; 20th-century British literature;
European and British film, film and literature.
Denise De Caires-Narain has research interests in postcolonial writing generally and in
Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora writing and culture in particular. She has published widely on
Caribbean women’s writing, focusing on the work of Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid, Erna Brodber
and Shani Mootoo, among others. She is interested in the gendered implications of current
debates about orality, sexuality and popular culture in the Caribbean and in the ongoing
contestation over the relevance of the categories ‘postcolonial’, ‘feminist’ and ‘queer’ within the
region. She is currently working on a book-project on contemporary postcolonial women’s writing,
provisionally titled, Strange Intimacies: Representing the Servant in Postcolonial Women’s Texts.
Doug Haynes researches American and European modernist, postmodernist and avant-garde
writing and culture, reading it alongside Critical Theory, or the work of thinkers from Marx through
to Theodor Adorno. In fact, his focus is on writers and artists who seem themselves to straddle or
anticipate this kind of aesthetic-theoretical axis and who are in some way transgressive, excessive
or hilarious. He is, for example, currently publishing a series of articles on Thomas Pynchon, reviewing this most postmodern of writers through the lens of leftist thought.
Mike Jones researches literary aesthetics in postmodern and contemporary fiction, in particular
aesthetics of self, character and seeing.
Daniel Kane’s interests focus primarily on modern and contemporary American poetry, and avantgarde writing, film and culture more generally. I have written extensively on poets affiliated with the
New York Schools.
Maria Lauret is a life-writer and scholar interested in the American literature of non-dominant
groups, such as women, African Americans and immigrants. Her academic work explores how the
intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, class and sexuality affects writing and reading, and
consistently asks how aesthetics and politics (gender and genre, race and representation,
migration and imagination) relate to each other in the work of so-called minorities.
Vicky Lebeau researches psychoanalysis and modern culture; nineteenth- and twentieth-century
fiction; theories of childhood and democracy; literature and visual culture; feminism and theories of
social identity, and contemporary film and literature.
Rachel O’Connell started teaching at Sussex in January 2012. She studied for her PhD in the
Department of English Literature at New York University, where she also taught literature and
writing; she also has an MSc in Gender Studies from London School of Economics. She
specialises in Victorian literature, especially the fin de siecle, and also in queer, gender, and
disability studies. She teaches primarily critical theory and LBGT/queer studies.
Nicholas Royle researches modern literature and literary theory, especially deconstruction and
psychoanalysis; the uncanny; creative writing
Martin Ryle researches in the areas of travel writing, Irish literature and culture, and nineteenthand twentieth-century literature.
Minoli Salgado's research has a regional connection to South Asia, a literary focus on
postmodernist texts, and a theoretical orientation towards post-structuralist debates on migration.
She is especially interested in exploring the literary construction of migrant subjectivity, and in
comparing the ways in which different forms of displacement affect the representation of place and
time. This has led her to write and teach on Salman Rushdie and Michael Ondaatje, exploring in
the process some of the links between complexity theory and diasporic writing. She is currently
writing a monograph on Sri Lankan literature in relation to the civil war due to be published by
Sam Solomon’s teaching and research are broadly in twentieth century and contemporary
literature (poetry and cross-genre writing especially) as they relate to radical social movements; he
has written on the connections of gay and women's liberation to political economy, particularly in
the context of Marxist-feminist praxis. Research and teaching interests include: creative writing,
feminism, Marxism, contemporary poetics, cross-genre and documentary writing, queer theory,
critical university studies, Yiddish literature and culture, literary translation, aesthetics and politics.
Keston Sutherland researches contemporary and twentieth century English and American poetry,
Marxism and Frankfurt School critical theory, phenomenology and philology, poetics, the history of
Pam Thurschwell has worked on the intersection of psychoanalysis, new technologies and the
supernatural at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, and new technologies.
She has also published on music, popular culture and film. She is especially interested in the
question of how you work on what you love, from high cultural artifacts to favorite pop songs. Her
current book project is on adolescence and anachronism.
Hope Wolf enjoys thinking about what modernist formal experimentation might bring (however
laterally) to contemporary questions and problems. These include: how we represent ourselves,
how we relate to our environments and to one another, and how we measure or calibrate our
experiences. She is also interested in comparing modernist modes of making with practices in the
cultural sector, particularly the ways in which memories, and other aspects of people’s lives, are
collected, archived, curated and interpreted. Hope has explored these topics in publications on war
memory, life writing and space, popular form (anecdotes, jokes, clichés, tweets and memes), and,
most recently, the work of poet, artist and calligrapher, David Jones (whose work she regards as a
kind of archive). Hope has also approached her research interests practically, in the making of
archives and collections.