UCL English


Dr Julia Jordan


Email: julia.jordan@ucl.ac.uk
External phone: 020 7679 3124
Internal phone: 33124
Office: Foster Court 206A

Graduate Tutor

Julia Jordan photograph

Education and Experience

Julia Jordan has a BA in Classics, and an MA in modern English literature (the ‘Issues in Modern Culture’ MA on which she now teaches). She received her PhD from UCL in 2008, and she has since taught various aspects of twentieth and twenty-first century literature at the Universities of Cambridge, Sussex and Cardiff. She was appointed to UCL as a lecturer in September 2013, and made Associate Professor in 2019.

Research Interests

My research has largely focused on chance, late modernism, the avant garde of the postwar period, and experimental writing more broadly. My first monograph, Chance and the Modern British Novel, was published in 2010, and since then I have published essays in journals including Textual Practice, Critique and Modern Language Review. My second monograph, Late Modernism and the Avant-Garde British Novel: Oblique Strategies, was published by Oxford University Press in March 2020. Its subject is the generation of experimentalist writers in Britain who were influenced by Samuel Beckett and the continental writers of the nouveau roman, and grappling with the legacy of the modernist tradition. The monograph considers, among others, Alan Burns, Christine Brooke-Rose, Brigid Brophy, B. S. Johnson, Nicholas Mosley, Ann Quin, Muriel Spark, Alexander Trocchi, and Denis Williams, and argues for this species of literature as particularly in thrall to the oblique and the accidental. The resurgence of the study of Johnson in particular has been instrumental in reinvigorating interest in this field: I am the co-editor of the anthology of his work Well Done God! The Uncollected B.S. Johnson (Picador, 2013), and the editor of a collection of essays on his work B. S. Johnson and Postwar Literature: Possibilities of the Avant Garde (Palgrave, 2014). I have also contributed chapters on the mid-century avant garde for the recent Cambridge Companion to post-’45 British Fiction (Cambridge, 2015), and Flower/Power: British Literature in Transition 1960—1980, edited by Kate McLoughlin (Cambridge, 2017).

Other long-standing interests have included the writing of Samuel Beckett, Thomas Pynchon, Henry Green, Iris Murdoch and William Empson. Increasingly I have been working predominantly on poetry. I am interested in some aspects of theological and phenomenological literary criticism and theory, including the work of Jean-Luc Marion, and particularly in the light of the poetry of various writers from Hopkins and Empson to Peter Larkin and R. F. Langley. My new project, which has stemmed from these interests, will be about the notion of the post-secular pastoral, and how this might be deduced by thinking about the representation of trees in poetry. This project, or at least its first offshoot, will be entitled Arborealism.

I am or have recently been on the supervisory team for PhDs on Muriel Spark, the concept of the anexact in literature of the mid-twentieth century; the intersection between experimental 1960s literature and art; avant-garde literature and the ludic; narrative form and experimentalism in Iris Murdoch, Brigid Brophy, and Sam Selvon; and the legacy of Pavlov, behaviourism and the twentieth-century novel. I welcome approaches from candidates wishing to research topics that align or overlap with any of my particular research interests.


Late Modernism and the Avant-Garde British Novel: Oblique Strategies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020)

Chance and the Modern British Novel: from Henry Green to Iris Murdoch (London: Continuum, 2010)

Well Done God! Selected Prose and Drama of B.S. Johnson eds. Jonathan Coe, Philip Tew, Julia Jordan (London: Picador, 2013)

B.S. Johnson and Post-War Literature: Possibilities of the Avant-Garde eds. Julia Jordan and Martin Ryle (London: Palgrave, 2014)

Articles and Chapters in Books

‘Autonomous Automata: Opacity and the Fugitive Character in the Modernist Novel and After’, The Legacies of Modernism: Historicising Postwar and Contemporary Fiction, ed. David James (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 96—113.

‘Iris Murdoch’s “Thingy World”’ Modern Language Review, 107: 2 (April 2012), pp. 364—378.

‘“For recuperation”: Form and the Aleatory in B.S. Johnson’s The Unfortunates’, Textual Practice, 28: 5 (July, 2014), pp. 745-761.

‘Evacuating B.S. Johnson and Samuel Beckett', in B.S. Johnson and Post-War Literature: Possibilities of the Avant-Garde eds. Julia Jordan and Martin Ryle (London: Palgrave, 2014), pp. 136–152.

‘“What Arises From This?” The Autostereogrammatical in Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon’ Critique, 56: 3 (May, 2015), pp. 270–283.

‘Late Modernism and the Avant-Garde Renaissance’ in The Cambridge Companion to Post-1945 British Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

'Error and the Aleatory in the 1960s Experimental Novel', in Flower/Power: British Literature in Transition 1960—1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

'Indeterminate Brooke-Rose' Textual Practice, 32: 2 (May, 2018)