UCL English


Research Students

William Andrews’s project is about description in contemporary poetry. Many poets – like Vahni Capildeo or Mark Doty – are writing texts that describe the world. This upends much thinking about language: this urge to describe suggests a different approach to and practice of language than that posited in most twentieth-century theories. The project comes as description is being re-evaluated in literary studies. But new thinking about description remains limited, while description continues to be predominantly treated in prose-based contexts. Reading for the descriptiveness of contemporary poetry, his project will explore what description does in, and what that means for, language. Email: wra.andrews.22@ucl.ac.uk

Shiran Avni did her BA in English and American studies (Hons) from Tel Aviv University, and MA in ‘Issues in Modern Culture’ from UCL in 2015. Supervised by Alison Shell, her thesis title is "Ambiguity and Meaning: The Hebraism of John Donne (1574-1631)" which explores Donne's understanding of Hebrew and how it manifests in his sermons. In her dissertation, she explores how grammar school students in early modern England learnt Hebrew, and how Christian Hebraists of the time implemented their knowledge and understanding of the language. This year, Shiran published her first article titled “Biblical Echoes in Meir Wieseltier’s Hebrew Translation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth” (European Judaism), which discusses the modern Hebrew translation of Macbeth and how it affects how Israeli students perceive the play. Email: shiran.barmatz.14@ucl.ac.uk

Rana Banna graduated from Royal Holloway with a first-class degree in English in 2013. She stayed on to complete an MA in English Literature with distinction in 2014. Now conducting her doctoral research at UCL, her PhD is currently entitled ‘Word-Magic: Early Modern Linguistic Sign Theory in Shakespeare’s Late Plays’. It considers how early modern linguistic theory had not lost the occultist or religious faith that language could conjure, summon, curse, cure, or bind with oaths, and therefore sustained conceptions of a fertile semiotics whereby the word did not just refer or designate, but could also create and invoke. Despite the fact that magical-thinking withdrew from the period’s popular culture as science encroached on its imaginative territory, Shakespeare’s late plays were, ironically, those most reliant upon moments of wonder, mystery, and impossible faithfulness. Towards the end of his career – alert to this upsurge in scientific rationalism – Shakespeare exhibited a nostalgic yearning to recuperate magical-thinking in his writing. This thesis argues that Shakespeare sought to prove and preserve language’s enduring power in spite of this cultural shift, showing that words, used expertly, could still miraculously perform meaning, embodying an optimistic semiotics. Email: rana.banna.16@ucl.ac.uk

Shani Bans is a final year PhD student at University College London. Her thesis, ‘Optics in Shakespeare’s Tragedies’, explores Shakespeare’s use of optics as a metaphor for the relativity of human perception in HamletOthelloMacbeth, and King Lear

Killian Beashel completed a BA in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin (2017-2021), graduating with the Gold Medal. He completed an MLitt in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture at the University of St Andrews (2021-2022): His research ‘Artists’ Writing in Ireland from Independence to the Present’ examines the connections between visual arts and literature in Irish writing from the early decades of the twentieth century to the present, seeking to expand the scholarly lineage examining Irish literary avant-gardes and offering an addition to the literary history of global anglophone modernisms. Throughout the past decade, an increasing number of Irish visual artists have incorporated published literary work into their practice. This field of artists' writing has emerged as a vibrant, generative space, though a field whose aesthetics and thematic foci have scarcely received any sustained degree of scholarly attention. Beginning with a consideration of the novels of the painter Jack B. Yeats, the project charts something of a history of Irish artists’ writing. Considering figures and collectives such as the White Stag Group, Mainie Jellett, Tim Robinson, Erica Van Horn, Eimear Walshe, Adrian Duncan and more, the project indicates the heterogenous ways in which Irish artists have engaged with print and with literary production. This sustained consideration of a much-ignored strand within experimental Irish writing, far from being an exercise in obscurity, will hopefully cast a new light on the literary engagement with issues such as place and the environment, discourses of modernisation, and the treatment of print in Irish literature. His primary supervisor is Dr Julia Jordan, with his secondary supervisor being Dr Dennis Duncan.Email: killian.beashel.23@ucl.ac.uk.

William Burns graduated with a first-class degree from UCL in 2018, before completing an MPhil at the University of Cambridge in 2020 (Distinction). Supervised by Mark Ford, his research is concerned with the ambivalent, often fractious interactions between American modernist poets and the modern American university, using theories of secularisation to explore the considerable overlap between institutional reforms and innovative poetics throughout the twentieth century. By focusing on moments where these tensions are staged in poets’ readings/lectures within the space of the university, his thesis will look to combine this approach with a close attention to both institutional contexts and stylistic intricacy, not only with regard to poetry but also critical prose as a creative medium. Prospective authors to be discussed include T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, and Adrienne Rich. Email: william.burns.15@ucl.ac.uk

Sam Caleb is a London Arts and Humanities Partnership funded PhD candidate in the English Department at University College London. Provisionally titled Ludic Late Modernism: play, games, and sport in British experimental fiction of the long 1960s, his research explores the ludic turn in postwar experimentalist writing. His thesis contends that during the postwar period writing, and, more broadly, life itself, came to be viewed through the lens of games and play. The authors it focuses on—Christine Brooke-Rose, Zulfikar Ghose, B. S. Johnson, and Alexander Trocchi, among others—challenge the longstanding association of the ludic with inconsequential and carefree play. Instead, the games their texts represent, whether football, pinball, cricket, or chess, frequently confront us with aspects of the ludic that are unsettlingly adversarial and antagonistic, lude and deluded. Email: sam.caleb.18@ucl.ac.uk

Emma Cavell read English at the University of Cambridge before completing her MA in French literature at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Supervised by Marilyn Corrie, her research explores pioneering authors – including women – writing in French for the very first time in medieval Britain after the Norman Conquest. Her thesis examines an understudied corpus of Anglo-Norman saints’ lives, the most prolific genre in the period, to explore what these self-conscious writers can tell us about their own undertaking as translators reworking Latin into vernacular French. Email: emma.cavell.21@ucl.ac.uk

Sarah Chambré is a graduate of Cambridge University and the Open University. She completed an MA in English Literature with distinction at KCL in 2017, with a thesis on Henry James and the theatre.  Her PhD thesis at UCL, supervised by Professor Philip Horne, is entitled “Henry James and the Pastoral Imagination”. James, the archetypal cosmopolitan author, arrays in his work an abundance of gardens, parks and landscapes and employs metonyms such as benches, balconies, terraces and penny chairs, challenging the usual dialectical distinction between urban and rural. This career-spanning study examines James’s representation of the garden as a flexible and self-referential literary trope that draws on a paradigm of retreat and return, a quest for the locus amoenus and biblical connotations of the acquisition of knowledge and the Fall. Gardens with their associations of innocence, fertile plenty and tranquillity enact a symbolic interrogation of transatlantic national identity and constitute a recurrent topos in James’s oeuvre. Concurrently, James’s fiction and non-fiction juxtapose the urban drawing room with a panoply of “out-of-doors” arenas, offering a rich socio-historical, political and cultural commentary. James, ever the dramatist, engages with the liminal possibilities of the threshold, privacy and the suspension of “indoors” social norms and constraints. Email: Sarah.chambre.18@ucl.ac.uk

Laurence Chen was awarded his BA in English at UCL in 2021, before completing a MSt in English (1550-1700) at the University of Oxford, Oriel College in 2022. Supervised by Anthony Ossa-Richardson and Eric Langley, his doctoral research explores the figural potential of alchemical metaphors in the early modern lyric poem. With the secrets of alchemy often concealed within a dense network of cover-names, metaphors, and allegories, the successful transmission of alchemical knowledge was reliant on the interpretative capacities of the diligent alchemical adept. His thesis contends that the hermeneutic interactions between adept and master, or moreover, reader and author, reveal alchemy’s essential kinship with both literature and poetry. Through close readings of lyric poets’ usages of various alchemical metaphors and doctrines, this thesis intends to reveal more about the fundamental relationship between science, magic, and literature in the early modern period. Writers to be discussed include alchemists such as George Starkey, founding members of the Royal Society such as Robert Boyle and Elias Ashmole, and poets such as Henry Vaughan, Hester Pulter, and Margaret Cavendish. Beyond his thesis, he has broader research interests in the history of science, the history of the book, and women’s writing. He has presented at conferences on such themes as the political usages of fear in the sermons of Lancelot Andrewes and trans epistemologies in the alchemical canon, and he would welcome any inquiries regarding his research and interests. Email: laurence.chen.18@ucl.ac.uk

Calum Cockburn obtained his BA in English from UCL (2012-2015), before completing an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (2015-2016), also from UCL. His MA thesis considered the interplay between text and illustration in the design of late Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and its subsequent effect on the development and transmission of devotional iconography in the post-reform era. His doctoral research examines the representation of the underworld across Anglo-Saxon art and literature, with an especial focus on the iconography of the hell-mouth and infernal devourers, whose gaping jaws became a standard eschatological motif in England and Western European until the end of the Renaissance. Email: calum.cockburn.12@ucl.ac.uk

Sarah Collier received a BA in English and French from Queen Mary University of London and an MSt in Modern Languages from Oxford University, where she completed a dissertation on masculinities in contemporary Francophone narratives of the Algerian War. Returning to English for her PhD, her research explores representations of contemporary military masculinities in American narratives of the ‘war on terror’. Looking particularly at how masculinities are shaped and mediated through developments in weapons and communications technologies, her thesis considers the extent to which a new American masculinity might emerge from the space negotiated by twenty-first century man’s relation to technology. Email: sarah.collier.19@ucl.ac.uk

Siobhan Cooke completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and History of Art at the University of Melbourne and her masters in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Her writing will explore how folk mythology and traditional oral folklore, which are often considered low culture, are appropriated into the high visual and material culture of the ruling houses of Britain at times of transition or crisis, as a way of connecting the new or challenged regime emotively to the national identity. This research considers the Jacobites as a focused case study. Her project combines methodology from both History of Art and English Literature in an interdisciplinary project. Email: siobhan.cooke.17@ucl.ac.uk

Lana Crowe completed her MA in Modern Literature and Culture at King's College London after graduating with a BA in English from the University of Cambridge in 2017. Her LAHP-funded project focuses on American composer Duke Ellington, examining his body of unpublished writing, programmatic music and holistic, mixed-media approach to form as pivotal in the synthesis of the arts. Email: lana.crowe.21@ucl.ac.uk

Sarah Edwards graduated from Cambridge in 2019 with a BA in English Literature and an MPhil in Modern and Contemporary Literature. Her research explores how contemporary feminist essayists--writing in America, Britain and Canada--are influenced by the internet. Her dissertation focuses on theorising the essay in the context of fourth-wave feminism and digital publication methods. The project shows the ways in which fourth wave feminism, the digital age and the essay genre are intertwined by arguing that contemporary feminist essays are crafted in ways that respond to contemporary politics and life online. Further, it investigates claims made by fourth wave feminism about the role of digital spaces and digital platforms for feminist action. She received The Rossetti Prize from Gonville & Caius College for a modest poetry collection and the Cambridge University T.R. Henn Prize for an original composition. Alongside her studies, she organises community outreach events, teaches at widening participation events, and is a tutor on the Narrative Texts Module.  Email: sarah.edwards.19@ucl.ac.uk 

Will Fleming obtained his BA (Mod.) in English Literature and Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin in 2017. The following year he completed his MA in English: Issues in Modern Culture at UCL, where he wrote his dissertation on Irish experimental poetry in the context of the “British Poetry Revival” of the 1960s and ‘70s. Under the supervision of Matthew Sperling, his doctoral thesis will be an expansion upon this project, focusing on five Irish small presses whose collective operations together span the last half-century. By blending archival research and close comparative literary study, this thesis seeks to unearth hidden alliances between poets and presses across the British Isles, and in turn reveal resultant shared poetics hitherto unexplored. The aim is to chart the development of a tradition of Irish poetic experimentalism within—as opposed to alongside—a British Isles context. In March 2019, Will delivered an abridged version of his MA dissertation to the American Conference for Irish Studies in Boston. His first peer-reviewed article, also based on the research undertaken for his MA thesis and focusing on the Dublin-based small poetry press New Writers’ Press, was published in a special issue of the academic journal Humanities entitled “The Circles of Contemporary Irish Poetry” in 2019. While at Trinity College, Will edited the campus literary magazine, Icarus, and has had poetry published in a number of Irish magazines. Email: will.fleming.17@ucl.ac.uk

Luca Guerneri obtained his BA and MA from the University of Bologna, the latter with a thesis on Seamus Heaney’s poetics partly written during a long stay at the National University of Ireland, Galway. After spending many years working as an English teacher in Italian upper secondary schools and literary translator he has returned to university for his PhD. Poetry has always been his main interest and as a translator he has edited collections by Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Simon Armitage and Jamie McKendrick. The subject he wants to explore is the operation that went under the name of '1994 New Generation Poets', a group of British poets selected by publishers, writers and critics and anthologized in a special issue of the Poetry Review. The contradictory political and theoretical contexts in which the whole event was conducted, the possible formal narratives shared by those poets and the legacy left to younger authors represent the main focus of his research. Email: gian.guerneri.18@ucl.ac.uk

Zoe Guttenplan received her BA in English and History from Columbia University, New York and stayed in the United States to work in literary publishing for three years. She completed her MA in English: Issues in Modern Culture at UCL, where her dissertation on Virginia Woolf’s Orlando earned the Hobbes Prize. Under the supervision of Dennis Duncan, her doctoral thesis will expand on this project, focusing on several female author run presses from the first half of the twentieth-century. Through archival research, object analysis, and literary study, this thesis will examine women often regarded as mere literary midwives, and seeks to place their work in the context of a network of Modernist writer-publishers. Alongside her studies, Zoe continues to work as a designer and editor for Archipelago Books in New York. Email: zoe.guttenplan.21@ucl.ac.uk.

Yingyue He completed her MA in English Linguistics at UCL after obtaining a BA in English Language and Literature at Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in China. She is now conducting her doctoral research on pragmatic borrowing in English. The main focus of the study contains pragmatic functional forms, such as discourse markers, interjections, expletives, tags, vocatives, and adverbs with discourse-functional meanings. Additionally, the project aims to investigateon the degree of parallelism of a borrowed form in its Source language and in Recipient language, and a counterpart item in the RL indicating a similar discourse function if there is. Email: yingyue.he.17@ucl.ac.uk

Miriam Helmers focuses her PhD on figurativeness in Charles Dickens, researching a potential connection between his unique style of figurative comparison and embodied "make-believe" in performances of Dickens (performed readings and adaptations). She holds an MA in English Language from the University of British Columbia (2019) and a BA in English from the University of Toronto (2011), both in Canada. After teaching for two years at a high school in Toronto, she completed a BDiv in Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Italy (2016) before returning to Canada and to her first love of English literature to pursue a career in academia. Her other interests include all things theatrical and pedagogical, the history and structure of the English language, Old English, biblical exegesis, and ecclesiastical Latin. Email: miriam.helmers.19@ucl.ac.uk

Naomi Hinds holds a BA in English Literature and Language, and an MA in English Literature: 1850 – present, both from King’s College London. In her thesis  ‘Cycles of Waste in Victorian London’  she will be exploring how the increased concern about excrement, and the circulatory routes that it should take through the city went on to infect the language of contemporary literature. Focusing on the works of Edwin Chadwick, Charles Dickens and John Hollingshead in particular, she will be examining how they navigate (and circumnavigate) the matter of bodily waste and its place in urban space. Email: naomi.hinds.18@ucl.ac.uk

Olivia Ho holds a BA in English literature from UCL, where she received the 2013 Morley Prize and John Oliver Hobbes Memorial Prize, and an MSc in Literature and Modernity from the University of Edinburgh. Her thesis considers interstitial space in fictional cities, with a core focus on Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, from which she aims to map a tradition of postmodern speculative city-texts ranging from China Miéville's The City & The City to Paul Auster's In the Country of Last Things. The project will also draw on the work of spatial theorists such as Henri Lefebvre, Michel Foucault and Edward Soja, as well as urban planning and architectural theory.

Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou completed a BA in English Literature at the University of Cambridge, Lucy Cavendish College, and an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London (in collaboration with the British Museum). Her thesis explores the representation of the body in the writing of Mary Wollstonecraft and her circle. She asks to what extent Wollstonecraft’s conception of the body was shaped by the prevailing philosophies and corporeal theories of the mid-late eighteenth century. Does Wollstonecraft’s formulation of the body conform to that found in, say, Whyttian neuro-physiology, Hartleian psychophysiology or Lavaterian physiognomy? Or does she contradict these scientific and pseudoscientific models when putting forward her own bodily ideal? Email: hannah.hutchings-georgiou.16@ucl.ac.uk

Chris Jones graduated with a first-class BA in English from UCL in 2020, where he was awarded the Morley Prize and the Faculty Medal (Rosa Morison Prize), and graduated with an MSt in English (1900-present) from the University of Oxford in 2021 (Distinction). His doctoral research proposes that the venereal disease epidemic of the early twentieth century was a significant medical and cultural event of particular concern to literary modernists in and around the city, and examines the ways in which the eugenic language of sexual health and social hygiene influenced modernist aesthetic strategies. His project is supervised by Dr Hugh Stevens and Prof Peter Swaab and is generously supported by a Wellcome Trust Doctoral Studentship in the Medical Humanities. Chris's archival work on T. S. Eliot and Omar Pound has been published in the TLS. Alongside his studies, Chris taught English at Charterhouse for two years before moving to St Paul's Girls' School in 2023, where he is currently based.  Email: Christopher.jones.17@ucl.ac.uk

Kate Kinley received a BA in English Language and Literature from UCL in 2018, and subsequently an MPhil in Renaissance Literature from Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 2019. Supervised by Helen Hackett, her research now interrogates how contemporary sociopolitical upheavals, coupled with mathematical advancements, increasingly destabilised the relationship between ‘place’ and ‘space’ in seventeenth century drama. Her research also draws upon urban development and architecture, observing how transformations in London’s cityscape manifested in the design of adjacent physical and imagined stage-spaces. Her thesis adopts a psychogeometrical approach to seventeenth century drama, exploring how angles, buildings, and plots are imagined to cohere or collapse; how spatial unities are gradually dismissed in favour of a more anti-Euclidean structural disorder. Email: catherine.kinley.19@ucl.ac.uk

Joshua Lok received from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore a first-class bachelor’s degree and a master’s by research degree in English Literature; the latter with a dissertation that considered Muriel Spark’s fiction in light of postmodernism and what came after. More broadly, he is also interested in German philosophical aesthetics, discourses of cynicism, postmodernism (its genesis, its residue), and the postcritique. Josh’s doctoral research, funded by UCL’s Graduate and Overseas Research Scholarships, is provisionally titled ‘Disharmoniously, Muriel Spark.’ This project aims to foreground ‘disharmonies’ as an aesthetic category unique to, and indeed carrying potential for reorienting critical approaches to, Spark’s oeuvre. And because it aims to formulate a fuller critical context for Spark’s work, it recalibrates the longstanding preoccupation with her novels by reading them—together with the more established body of criticism that they bring—alongside her short stories, poetry (many of them uncollected and forgotten), literary journalism and criticism, plays and radio plays, and little-known children’s stories. All this is in turn informed by archival and biographical research into how disharmonies in Spark’s life and experiences frame the form and function of disharmonies in her creative work. Josh’s project is supervised by Julia Jordan. Email: joshua.lok.21@ucl.ac.uk

Alice Maltby-Kemp graduated with a BA (Hons.) in History from the University of Warwick in 2010 before receiving an MA in Religious, Social and Cultural History 1500-1750 in 2011. After leaving university she worked in archives and records management whilst studying for a MSc Econ in Archive Administration via distance learning from Aberystwyth University which she received in 2018. Her thesis is an LAHP-funded collaborative PhD Studentship between UCL and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) entitled ‘Shakespeare and the Stratford-Upon-Avon Antiquarians’. This thesis is primarily supervised by Professor René Weis of UCL and Dr Paul Edmondson of the SBT with Dr Chris Stamatakis as secondary. The project aims to systematically explore the archival collections of antiquarians who worked to create the discourse of Shakespearian scholarship and the local history of Stratford-Upon-Avon from the 18th century through to the 20th century for new insights into their research and collections, local history and Shakespeare biography. Email: alice.maltby-kemp.18@ucl.ac.uk

Victoria (Tori) Mangan studies literature by and about trans people and is interested in how the reading practises modelled in these texts can form the basis of a distinctively transgender literary criticism. Having completed a BA in English Literature and an MSt in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Wadham College, Oxford between 2017 and 2021, she draws on traditions of feminist and queer literary theory to interrogate the increasingly large corpus of ‘trans literature’ and ask what meaning this term takes on, whether as a description of genre, origin or form, and what challenges it might hold for literary criticism both within the academy and outside of it. She is also interested in the relationships between trans studies, queer theory, and feminist theory over time, and in forms of writing not normally emphasised in literary criticism such as zines, pamphlets, comics and genre fiction. Email: victoria.mangan.22@ucl.ac.uk

Ilona Mannan obtained her BA in English from UCL, where she returned to complete her MA: Issues in Modern Culture, with a thesis on Henry James and Venice.  Under the supervision of Professor Philip Horne, her doctoral thesis will enlarge upon this research to consider the significance of the city to James both professionally and personally. James’s continued engagement with Venice will be examined through his recognition of the city as a model republic with which to analyse America’s growing economic and cultural power. Email: Ilona.mannan.10@ucl.ac.uk

Rolake Osabia graduated with a degree in English and American Literature and Creative Writing BA (Hons) from the University of Kent in 2017. She then completed an MA in English: Issues in Modern Culture at UCL in 2018. Her research explores the nuances of Blackness, feminism, and escapism with concentrated thematic focuses on isolation and kinship in contemporary Black British women’s literature. Drawing on works by Yrsa Daley-Ward, Bernardine Evaristo, Winsome Pinnock, and Zadie Smith, her thesis examines how the writers construct representations of loneliness and Black communities/friendships/intimacies in their respective texts. She intends to locate varied depictions of Black women and non-binary characters through the exploration of these themes. Rolake also leans into her artistic practice by using her paintings and illustrations as a research method to accompany literary and theoretical analysis. Email: rolake.osabia.17@ucl.ac.uk

Mahishi Ranaweera received a B.A. (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Linguistics from the University of Kelaniya.  She obtained an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language from the Northern Arizona University, USA on a Fulbright Master’s Fellowship award.  At UCL, she is currently engaged in a variational pragmatics research on pragmatic markers in English spoken in Sri Lanka.  The main focus is to understand the use of pragmatic markers by Sri Lankan English speakers.  Additionally, the study aims to investigate the impact of social factors such as gender, age and occupation may have on the use of pragmatic markers.  In the process, a corpus of online English interviews by Sri Lankans (COEI-SL) will be created. Email ranaweera.ranaweera.19@ucl.ac.uk 

James Reath holds an MA (GPA: 3.9) in English Literature from McGill University and a BA (first) in English Literature & History from Queen Mary, University of London. His PhD thesis is titled Anexact Cultures. Modernism—to borrow a line from Finnegans Wake (1939)—is a “riot of blots and blurs and bars and balls and hoops and wriggles and juxtaposed jottings linked by spurts of speed”. A good deal of it, we might suppose, is “anexact” or as Edmund Husserl says in Ideas I (1913), “essentially and not accidentally inexact”. Drawing on a wide-range of archival, genetic and theoretical research, Anexact Cultures conducts the first genealogy of the concept of the anexact in late modernity—charting its rise from late-Victorian topology and Husserlian phenomenology, through the post-war philosophies of Jacques Derrida, Michel Serres, and Deleuze-Guattari, and on to the contemporary thought of Jane Bennett, Manual DeLanda and more—before recapitulating it as an overlooked organising principle in modernism’s proliferation of minor aesthetic categories, weak feelings, and essentially inexact formalisms. Across seven chapters, Anexact Cultures develops a series of speculative taxonomies that index modernism’s “mesomorphic imagination” of inkblots, doodles, fuzzy colours, distortion machines, gelatinous globules, and synthetic chemicals. In between, new theories for a range of minor aesthetic categories—from the gaudy to the groovy—and weak feelings—from the pixillated to the icky—rise to the fore as the strong formal systems maintaining Wyndham Lewis’ “specifically Western heaven” of “noble exactitude” dissipate by way of modernism’s vague yet rigorous, trans-scalar and process-oriented cultures of essential inexactness. Expanding the temporal and conceptual parameters of modernism, Anexact Cultures also brings a range of understudied post-war writers—like Christine Brooke-Rose, Harry Mathews, Ann Quin, and Marguerite Young—into dialogue with more established modernists like James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, and Samuel Beckett. The project is supervised by Julia Jordan and funded by LAHP. In 2021-2022 James is a visiting scholar in the English Department at Yale University funded by the UCL-Yale Collaborative Exchange Program and a visiting research fellow at the Harry Ransom Centre at the University of Texas, in Austin funded by AHRC IPS. Email: james.reath.18@ucl.ac.uk

Will Rees received a BA and an MA in philosophy from the University of Sussex, and then an MA in literature from Goldsmiths. He spent a year at the University of Chicago before coming to UCL to complete his doctoral research. His Wellcome-funded project, tentatively titled “Studies in Hypochondria”, is a cultural and literary history of that phenomenon. By examining the medical, psychiatric and popular discourses of the fin de siècle, and its literary texts, he seeks to cast light on how during this period the hypochondriac of Renaissance medicine was reinvented as a figure of modernity. Away from academia, he writes for the TLS and is a founder of the literary publisher Peninsula Press. Email: will.rees.19@ucl.ac.uk

Victor Rees’s PhD examines Performance Writing as a speculative continuum that emerged in the late 20th and 21st centuries, using the novels of Brian Catling as a central point of reference.  He intends to analyse the influence of performance art upon Catling’s books, positioning them within the contested space of literary experimentalism in order to emphasise the cross-fertilisation of ideas between text and performance that emerged from the 1960s onwards. Email: victor.rees.22@ucl.ac.uk

Max Riviera holds a BA in English and Drama (2018; First Class and Principal’s Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievements) from Queen Mary University of London, and an MA in Early Modern Studies (2019; Distinction) from UCL. His doctoral thesis, sponsored by the London Arts and Humanities Research Council (LAHP), focuses on the early modern epyllion and seeks to investigate the reasons that made this literary genre so popular, and yet so short-lived. Particularly, Max’s research considers the ways in which the leading Elizabethan poets - like Shakespeare, Marlowe, Marston, Lodge, and Beaumont - that wrote epyllia in the last decade of the sixteenth century chose to re-adapt classical myths that already permeated the early modern literary imagination and, by intertwining sexuality and rhetoric in their retelling of Ovidian tales of desire, skeptically investigated not just the mechanisms and limits of the classical education promoted by the English education system, but also the very shortcomings of Humanism. Email: massimiliano.riviera.18@ucl.ac.uk

Luisa Signorelli received her bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages and Communication (2018) and her master’s degree in Modern Languages and Comparative Literature (2020) from the University of Catania, Italy, where she also received a master’s degree in Humanities and Social Sciences (2022) from the interdisciplinary programme of the Scuola Superiore di Catania. Her doctoral research at UCL explores the circulation of passages from Shakespeare’s plays in anthologies and miscellanies during the eighteenth century, arguing that literary collections influenced not only the dissemination, but also the mode of reading Shakespeare’s drama. Luisa’s research is funded by UCL’s Graduate and Overseas Research Scholarship and is supervised by Dr Charlotte Roberts and Prof Helen Hackett. Email: luisa.signorelli.17@ucl.ac.uk

Daisuke Suzuki completed his BA in Law at Waseda University in Japan and worked as an English teacher after his first career as international sales. Before joining UCL, he obtained his MSc in TESOL and Applied Linguistics from the University of Stirling and MA in Linguistic Science from Kwansei Gakuin University in a double degree programme in 2019. His doctoral study explores the pragmalinguistic aspects of requests in student-faculty e-mails written in English by university students who have different nationalities. The main focus of the investigation is on the epistemic stance such as modal auxiliary verbs. In addition, the project aims to build a corpus using these collected data with pragmatic annotation. Email: daisuke.suzuki.19@ucl.ac.uk

James Waddell completed his BA in English at Pembroke College, Oxford (2016; First Class). After working at The Economist for a year, he completed an MPhil in Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University (2018; Distinction). He was awarded the Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize in 2019, for his essay on the history of privacy. He continues to write about books and arts for The Economist, as well as for the Times Literary Supplement and others. His PhD research, funded by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (AHRC), investigates early modern anxieties about distraction and shortened attention spans, with particular regard to popular romance narratives. Romance reading was a principal target of anti-distraction discourse in this period, and was accused of inducing devious mind-wandering, absorbed reverie, and lax attention to worthier materials. Romances were also maligned for being intrinsically distracted, with their absent-minded protagonists and digressive narrative strands. Focussing on Spenser, Sidney, Nashe and Wroth, James’s research examines how literary form was mirrored and moulded by Renaissance metaphors of mind, their ethical valences, and their psychosomatic manifestations. Email: james.waddell.19@ucl.ac.uk

Damian Walsh graduated with a first-class BA from the University of Cambridge in 2018, before completing an MPhil at Cambridge in 2020 (Distinction). His doctoral research, which is funded by LAHP, is concerned with global cultures of spirituality at fin-de-siècle. Focusing provisionally on Oscar Wilde, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Vernon Lee, Walt Whitman, and W. B. Yeats, his thesis examines the parallels between literary forms and religious ritual, engaging with recent scholarship in affect theory to explore how certain literary forms might seek to alter and overpower their readers and act as aids for cultivating certain affective states. His research also seeks to unearth the largely unacknowledged debt these writers owed to South- and East-Asian philosophies and religious practices, and to contribute towards a more fully transnational understanding of late Victorian interfaith exchange. He also maintains a longstanding interest in the environmental humanities and has written and given papers on Vernon Lee’s travel writing, nonhuman aesthetics, and animal voices in the work of John Clare. Email: damian.walsh.21@ucl.ac.uk

Jacob Wiseman received a BA in English (2017; First Class) from the University of Oxford, where he also earned an MSt in English 1550-1700, (2019; Distinction) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. His doctoral research explores the intersections between biblical and literary cultures in early modern England. He has research interests in imaginative engagements with scripture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as poetics, material cultures and the history of Hebrew scholarship. His doctoral work is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and supervised by Prof. Alison Shell. He welcomes any inquiries regarding his work and interests. Email: jacob.wiseman.19@ucl.ac.uk

Sarah-Jean Zubair holds an MA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University (New York) and a BA in English from the University of Victoria (Canada). Her research centres upon motifs of disturbed sleep and liminality in Romantic poetry, focusing in particular on the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Drawing upon eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century philosophy and medical sciences, she aims to deconstruct the relationship between disturbed sleep and poetic form, and examine the connectivity between liminal states of consciousness and imagination in the Romantic psyche. Email: sarah-jean.zubair.17@ucl.ac.uk