Annabel Williams

I am in the final year of a DPhil at Merton College.  I graduated from Bristol University with a BA in English in 2007, followed by an MSt in English (1900-present) at Oxford. Before starting my DPhil, I was a tutor in Hong Kong for four years.

My research is currently focused on notions of travel, mobility and home in literature of the 1930s and 40s. I am particularly interested in modernist culture, and its interactions with national identity and the empire, and also critical theory, including spatial theory and cosmopolitanism.

My thesis examines Anglo-British travelogues and fictional travel narratives of the interwar period and the Second World War, and seeks to frame a new perspective for viewing how writers used travel to question entrenched values around notions of home and dwelling. I identify those ways of writing about place that are characteristic of late modernism, at a cultural and socio-political crossroads in which manifold kinds of wartime displacement forced writers to rethink what it means to be at home. The problem was encapsulated by Theodor Adorno in Minima Moralia (1951): ‘dwelling, in the proper sense, is now impossible’. Broadly, I argue that there was an irresolute movement to deterritorialise home that, allied with a modernist technique of hybridity across genres, disrupted traditional divisions between the factual travelogue and fictional travel narrative. Whether through journalistic mobility, self-exile, or a circumscribed wartime deployment, late modernist travel writers encountered politicised fantasies about national and domestic spaces – of the sort that sustain ‘imagined geographies’ – that informed their own constructions of home.

I would be very keen to hear from anyone interested in discussing similar areas.

 

Publications

‘“Vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts”: locating home in Evelyn Waugh’s travel writing’, Textual Practice (2016).

‘A Conversation with Martin Stannard and Barbara Cooke’, Exchanges: the Warwick Research Journal (2016).

 

Conference Papers

‘“Vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts”: Constructions of home in Evelyn Waugh’s travel writing’, Evelyn Waugh and his Circle, University of Leicester, April 2015

‘“Guide to a disturbed planet”: Modernist travel and the cosmopolitics of hospitality in Rebecca West’, Cosmopolis and Beyond: Literary Cosmopolitanism after the Republic of Letters, Trinity College, Oxford, March 2016

 

Teaching Experience

Michaelmas Term 2015, FHS Paper 6, Graduate Teaching Assistant on ‘Writing War’ – Kate McLoughlin and Marina Mackay

Michalemas Term 2015, FHS Shakespeare portfolio, tutorial

Michaelmas Term 2015, ‘Ink-deep into my fingers: Auden, Commitment and Poems (1928), lecture for undergraduates for ‘Poetry and Materiality’ series

Hilary Term 2016, Prelims Paper 4, Class and tutorials on ‘Evelyn Waugh and Displacement’

Thesis Title: Locating Home in Late Modernist Travel Literature Supervisor: Dr Rebecca Beasley Doctor of Philosophy in English I am in the final year of a DPhil at Merton College. I graduated from Bristol University with a BA in English in 2007, followed by an MSt in English (1900-present) at Oxford. Before starting my DPhil, I was a tutor in Hong Kong for four years. My research is currently focused on notions of travel, mobility and home in literature of the 1930s and 40s. I am particularly interested in modernist culture, and its interactions with national identity and the empire, and also critical theory, including spatial theory and cosmopolitanism. My thesis examines Anglo-British travelogues and fictional travel narratives of the interwar period and the Second World War, and seeks to frame a new perspective for viewing how writers used travel to question entrenched values around notions of home and dwelling. I identify those ways of writing about place that are characteristic of late modernism, at a cultural and socio-political crossroads in which manifold kinds of wartime displacement forced writers to rethink what it means to be at home. The problem was encapsulated by Theodor Adorno in Minima Moralia (1951): ‘dwelling, in the proper sense, is now impossible’. Broadly, I argue that there was an irresolute movement to deterritorialise home that, allied with a modernist technique of hybridity across genres, disrupted traditional divisions between the factual travelogue and fictional travel narrative. Whether through journalistic mobility, self-exile, or a circumscribed wartime deployment, late modernist travel writers encountered politicised fantasies about national and domestic spaces – of the sort that sustain ‘imagined geographies’ - that informed their own constructions of home. I would be very keen to hear from anyone interested in discussing similar areas. Publications ‘“Vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts”: locating home in Evelyn Waugh’s travel writing’, Textual Practice (2016). ‘A Conversation with Martin Stannard and Barbara Cooke’, Exchanges: the Warwick Research Journal (2016). Conference Papers ‘“Vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts”: Constructions of home in Evelyn Waugh’s travel writing’, Evelyn Waugh and his Circle, University of Leicester, April 2015 ‘“Guide to a disturbed planet”: Modernist travel and the cosmopolitics of hospitality in Rebecca West’, Cosmopolis and Beyond: Literary Cosmopolitanism after the Republic of Letters, Trinity College, Oxford, March 2016 Teaching Experience Michaelmas Term 2015, FHS Paper 6, Graduate Teaching Assistant on ‘Writing War’ – Kate McLoughlin and Marina Mackay Michalemas Term 2015, FHS Shakespeare portfolio, tutorial Michaelmas Term 2015, ‘Ink-deep into my fingers: Auden, Commitment and Poems (1928), lecture for undergraduates for ‘Poetry and Materiality’ series Hilary Term 2016, Prelims Paper 4, Class and tutorials on ‘Evelyn Waugh and Displacement’

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