School of English and Drama

Dr Molly Macdonald, BA (Barnard) MA (UEA) PhD (QMUL)


Lecturer in Literary Theory



I grew up and went to school in America, in the state of Maine, and moved to New York City to attend Barnard College, Columbia University, where I earned a BA in English Literature.  I worked in publishing in New York and then completed an MA in Modernism at the University of East Anglia in 2002, writing a dissertation on Virginia Woolf, Hegel, and Freud. I then moved back to Brooklyn and worked for the New York affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2004, I moved from Brooklyn to London to begin my PhD on Hegel, his reception in the 20th Century, and psychoanalysis at Queen Mary.  I became a permanent member of staff at QM in 2012.


Research Interests:

  • Twentieth-century literature
  • Literary and critical theory
  • Continental philosophy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Concept of plasticity in philosophy, neuroscience/ cognitive studies, psychoanalysis
  • Intersubjectivity studies

Recent and On-Going Research:

The major focus of my research is the concept of intersubjectivity, which I approach in an interdisciplinary manner, drawing from twentieth-century literature, critical and literary theory, psychoanalysis, and in my current research, aspects of cognitive science. My monograph, Hegel and Psychoanalysis: A New Interpretation of 'Phenomenology of Spirit' was published in 2013 (Routledge). The book examines Hegel's philosophy, through the lens of his reception in the 20th Century, and argues for a reading of his work alongside psychoanalytic theory, with a focus on the work of André Green and Christopher Bollas. I explore, in particular, the concepts Force, binding, intersubjectivity, and 'thirdness'. With my current research, I am returning to the roots of my BA and MA work in literature and literary theory. With the aid of cutting-edge work in the cognitive sciences on concepts of plasticity, intersubjectivity, forgiveness and empathy, as well as other theoretical frameworks, I turn to a set of texts to explore ‘social plasticity’ in literature, theory and contemporary thought. I’ve also written on the relationship between art and philosophy - ‘Futures that Haunt Presents: On the Work of Mark Boulos and the Spirit(s) of Marxism’, Belkin Art Gallery Journal, (University of British Columbia, 2012) - and on the work of Catherine Malabou - New Formations, 2012.



Hegel and Psychoanalysis: A New Interpretation of 'Phenomenology of Spirit' (Routledge, 2013)

‘Resisting Deconstruction’, New Formations: A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics, 77 (2012)

‘Futures that Haunt Presents: On the Workof Mark Boulos and the Spirit(s) of Marxism’, Belkin Art Gallery Journal, University of British Columbia (2012)

‘“Suturing” as a Concept-Metaphor’, Parallax, 17 (2011), 46-55 doi:10.1080/13534645.2011.584414

‘Hegel, Psychoanalysis and Intersubjectivity’, Philosophy Compass, 6 (2011), 448-458

See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile


I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.