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20th and 21st Century Literature and Theory

Kurokawa Kisho Helix City 1961

Click for 20th and 21st Century Literature and Theory research outputs
Click for MA in Poetic Practice

The English Department at Royal Holloway offers a dynamic research environment for those working on the modernist and contemporary periods. Our strengths include the study of literature in relation to modernism, postmodernism, philosophy, film and visual media, sound, contemporary poetics and performance, genetic criticism, science fiction, technology, Holocaust studies, terrorism and state violence, and postcolonialism.

Research students working on modernist and contemporary topics are able to develop their work in an atmosphere of supportive and encouraging debate. Staff are active in research groupings and seminar series within the department and the University of London, as well as in national and international networks.

Potential PhD students should either contact relevant staff members direct or get in touch with the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr Will Montgomery.

Areas of Expertise


Postmodernism and Contemporary Literature

Literature and Philosophy

  • Robert Eaglestone (contemporary European philosophy, Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida)
  • Andrew Gibson (Post-Deleuzean French philosophy: modern and postmodern aesthetics; literature in modern philosophical contexts) 
  • Betty Jay (feminist theory)
  • Kiernan Ryan (Marxist criticism; new historicism and cultural materialism)
  • James Smith (Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction, early English criticism - especially F.R. Leavis and 'Scrutiny', applications of critical theory to contemporary politics)

Literature, Film and Visual and Sonic Media

Contemporary Poetics and Performance

  • Robert Hampson (contemporary British and American poetry and poetics)
  • Redell Olsen (contemporary poetics and textuality, performance)
  • Will Montgomery (contemporary British and American poetry and poetics)

Science Fiction, Literature and Technology

Holocaust Studies, Terrorism and State Violence

  • Robert Eaglestone (Holocaust and genocide studies, Arendt, historiography, literature)

American Literature


Current Postgraduate Research Students 

Click here to see details of our current postgraduate research students in 20th and 21st Century Literature and Theory.


‘The Blue Tape’, Kathy Acker and Alan Sondheim






Cover of 'punk faun', by Redell Olsen

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Image of book pages, viewed from side 
Series, Seminars & Reading Groups




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