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Alison Lutton

Lecturer in English
MA Edin, MA Liv, DPhil Oxf
Faculty of English

My teaching here at Somerville covers a breadth of literature and literary theory of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

For Prelims (first year) students, I teach Paper 4, Literature in English, 1910-present, and the ‘Literature’ portion of Paper 1, Introduction to English Language and Literature. For Finalists, I supervise dissertations on diverse aspects of modern literature – recent topics have included contemporary re-imaginings of the writing of Virginia Woolf; Paul Auster’s postmodernism; and the relationship between alcohol and modernist experience. I have also recently supervised MSt work on contemporary American poetry and fiction.

My own research is focused on contemporary (predominantly American) literature, literary production, and creative identities. My doctoral thesis, which I am currently revising for publication as a monograph, concentrated on the public figure of the author in the USA over the past thirty years. Considering the work of Bret Easton Ellis, Paul Auster, JT LeRoy, and a range of author-bloggers, it examined how the changing nature of literary culture, and the concomitant shift in how literary value is determined and understood, is both reflected in, and influenced by, authorial practice – arguing, above all, that celebrity, populism, and digital mediation are integral and productive aspects of how literary value is formed today. Developing from this research, I am currently also particularly interested in the relationship between urban space and literary production in the USA at the turn of the twenty-first century; and in manifestations of reader and author identities in cross-media settings, as expressed on social media and in other public places online.

Publications
  • I have papers published and forthcoming on the themes of transnationalism, (authorial) psychogeography, and surveillance in the work of Bret Easton Ellis. In addition to the monograph project described above, I am also currently at work on articles considering the mechanics of collaborative authorship, and the relationship between social media and literary practice.

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