Dr. John Scholar, our new colleague, introduces himself.

I’m delighted to be joining the Department of English Literature as a Lecturer, my first permanent academic job. I’m only coming 25 miles down the road as I’ve recently been at Oxford University, as PhD student, postdoc, and then lecturer. I’ve also studied in London University (at Birkbeck College and the LSE). My last permanent job was in my twenties when I spent three years working as an economist in The Treasury, under Gordon Brown. My first week in this job has been political in a different way: I was on strike before setting foot in my new office, which was a strange way to start, but since then I’ve really enjoyed meeting new colleagues and students, and finding my way around this green campus.  

My research bridges Victorian and modern literature, looking at how intellectual history can help us understand the changing form of the novel. I am currently finishing my first book Henry James and the Art of the Impression which places fiction and non-fiction of Henry James in dialogue with an interdisciplinary history of the ‘impression’, drawing in philosophy, psychology, the visual arts and modern critical theory. My interest in the relationship between literature and philosophy has also prompted work exploring how continental philosophy (Heidegger, Bergson) can historicize modernist form in James Joyce’s Ulysses, especially its representation of the material world and the ‘stream of consciousness’. I am a convenor of the Oxford Phenomenology Network, which promotes interdisciplinary discussions relating to phenomenological theory and practice. I am also interested more broadly in the fin-de-siècle, modernism, and narrative theory.  

I’m really looking forward to teaching a variety of modules: with Year 1, ‘Poetry in English’ and ‘Genre and Context’, with Year 2, ‘Restoration to Revolution: 1660-1789’, and, with Year 3, ‘Decadence and Degeneration: Literature of the 1880s and 1890s’. I convene a Year 3 module called ‘Modern “isms”: From Realism to Modernism’. And I am supervising Year 3 dissertations on science fiction, slavery literature in South Africa, contemporary black British female subjectivities, Orwell, and Woolf. 

About English Literature at Reading

The Department of English Literature at Reading has been an internationally recognised centre for research and teaching in English Studies for over a hundred years. Our teaching system, with its emphasis on seminars and tutorial work, encourages our students to discuss ideas with tutors and other students in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. All of our students have access to dedicated study advisors; our academic placement scheme and 'professional track' programme provide invaluable preparation for subsequent careers.
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