Category Archives: British and Irish Literature

Fear of Fungi: From William Hope Hodgson to The Last of Us, and Vice-Versa

By | September 25, 2023

Guest post by Timothy S. Murphy We can probably all agree to call 2020 and 2021 the “COVID years,” but what to call 2022 and 2023 remains an open question. I’ve got no favorite for 2022, but although 2023 is not yet over, I’m leaning toward calling it the Year of the Fungi. The first… Read More »

Doing Animal Studies with Androids, Aliens, and Ghosts

By | May 30, 2023

Androids, aliens, and ghosts: No longer solely the territory of science fiction, the Gothic, and horror, these creatures increasingly cross literary genres as humans renegotiate and rework our conceptualizations of humanity, animality, and life itself in response to ongoing challenges posed by technology, environmental crises, and alterity. Doing Animal Studies with Androids, Aliens, and Ghosts borrows from the strangeness, creativity, and freshness of these emerging and imaginary creatures in contemporary novels, comic book series, and children’s books to reconceptualize often intractable views of nonhuman animals. Because these liminal figures confront anthropocentrism, or human-centeredness, in ways that necessarily push against all forms of species dominance, the android, the alien, and the ghost are literary devices that help us to see nonhuman animals afresh and to fruitfully reimagine the terms of our relationships with them.

Letters and Lives of the Tennyson Women

By | May 24, 2023

Guest post by Marion Sherwood The Tennyson women were Alfred Tennyson’s forebears – the poet’s paternal grandmother, Mary Tennyson (1753-1825), her daughters Elizabeth Russell (1776-1865) and Mary Bourne (1777-1864), and her daughter-in-law Frances Tennyson, later Tennyson d’Eyncourt (1787-1878). The women were an inseparable and influential part of the poet’s early life until he left Lincolnshire… Read More »

Reading James Joyce via Photography on Bloomsday

By | June 16, 2022

Guest post by Georgina Binnie-Wright Mentioning ‘Bloomsday’ to those unfamiliar with the work of James Joyce may provoke a quizzical reaction. Yet the date of Ulysses’ setting, on 16 June 1904, marks an opportunity to celebrate a text that has been heralded as signalling the birth of literary modernism. Celebrations will be heightened this year… Read More »

Virginia Woolf: the Original Influencer? How Apps like Instagram Continue a Tradition of Using Photographs to Tell Stories About Ourselves.

By | May 17, 2022

Guest post by Emily Ennis.

“Apps like Instagram tap into a centuries’ old tradition of using photographs to tell stories. Yes, taking photos often provides a window directly into how we live our lives on a day-to-day basis. But we also edit those photos – apply filters, crop, resize – and our choices of captions – or no captions – as well as our very selection of the images we use says something about how we choose to present ourselves to the world.”

Response to Daniel Newman

By | January 11, 2022

This week, in a series of blog takeovers, we’re looking at Modernism, Theory, and Responsible Reading with posts from the collection’s contributors. Guest post by Yan Tang Daniel Newman’s essay deftly moves from a generative reading of postcritique that calls for alternatives to Theory’s reductive tendency, to responsible reading as a pedagogy of sharing our myriad experiences… Read More »

Finding the Experimentalists

By | November 23, 2021

After pouring over dozens of conference papers and journal articles, public lectures, a PhD thesis, a Fellowship, and spending hundreds of hours in archives around the world, I carefully constructed the case for the Experimentalists not only being a movement but perhaps being one of the most important British literary movements of the twentieth century.

Queering Contemporary Literature: The Work of Jeanette Winterson

By | July 27, 2021

A powerful use of language is to tell people our story, especially to tell our loved ones about ourselves. They will hopefully reply using the language of acceptance and understanding. Conversely, a person can conceal their own story through language, or have their declarations met with words of hate and violence. This is when language has an even more important role to play in illuminating the path to equality; as Jeanette Winterson says, we need a language “capable of expressing all that it is called upon to express in a vastly changing world.”

Samuel Beckett and the Politics of Closed Space

By | June 4, 2020

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about confinement.

How many steps from my desk to the fridge? (seven) How many from the fridge to the bathroom? (twelve) How many times per day do I track this route?

In October 1954, Samuel Beckett too was thinking of confinement. He was reading a letter from German prisoner Karl-Franz Lembke, who had translated, rehearsed and staged Beckett’s debut play, Waiting for Godot, behind bars. Beckett was clearly moved, as we can see in his response:

Rereading Childhood Books

By | September 6, 2019

Guest post by Alison Waller The recent death of Judith Kerr, creator of the Mog books and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, generated an outpouring of love and nostalgia from adults, many of whom recalled encountering her picturebooks as adults and subsequently passed them on to children and grandchildren. Revisiting my own battered copy… Read More »