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School of English and Drama

Julie Tanner


'Arty Art' and Aesthetic Reflexivity in Our Affective Turn



My thesis explores the idea that contemporary writers produce both theories and experiences of affect via self-reflexive engagement with the processes of reading, interpreting, and writing. I am primarily interested in the fiction and nonfiction of Lydia Davis, Elena Ferrante, Ben Lerner, and Ali Smith. My chapters cover ekphrasis, metafiction, criticism, and representations of reading. 

I completed my BA in English at Goldsmiths, followed by an MRes in English at the University of Birmingham. I then went back to Goldsmiths for an MA in Comparative Literary Studies (American Literature and Culture pathway). My dissertation on Lydia Davis addressed the question of how to conduct work on a contemporary author for whom there was no book-length study and sparse other critical commentary. In response to this, I produced a handbook of alternative sources and approaches and tested these against a selection of Davis’s short stories. My chapter on Davis’s ‘one-paragraph freedom’, based on elements of my dissertation, was published in Critical Insights: Flash Fiction. After a brief period working in publishing, I started my PhD at Queen Mary in 2017. 

I am a Teaching Associate in the department and taught on the undergraduate module Poetry in 2018, and am teaching on Narrative in 2019. 

My research interests include: contemporary American fiction; the relationship between form and aesthetic experience; the short story; studies of attention; rewriting and rereading; styles of reading and interpretation; reading and heat. 


I taught on ESH124 Poetry in 2018 and I am currently teaching on ESH123 Narrative



Professor Mark Currie and Dr Sam McBean