PhD in Comparative Literature
Thesis topic: Material Meanings: Embodiment and Experience in 20th - 21st Century European Literature
Zoe's is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council
First supervisor Professor Patrick ffrench
Second supervisor Professor Robert Weninger
Zoë is currently completing her PhD on the relationship between embodied experience and literature in 20th and 21st century European literature. She has been with the Comparative Literature department at King’s College London since 2007, where she completed her MA (Distinction), for which she received the prize for Outstanding Performance in an MA degree. She is grateful for the support of the AHRC for providing studentships for both her PhD and MA. Previously, she received her BA in Media & Modern Literature (First Class Honours) at Goldsmiths College, University of London where she received the Goldsmiths Society Award for Academic Excellence.
In 2011 she received funding from the Graduate School Research Development Fund to set up the monthly seminar group ‘Sensible Flesh: Rethinking the Body in the 21st Century’ and she co-organises the Comparative Literature student reading group.
Zoë’s thesis focuses on the relationship between embodiment and literature, situating this concept within the historical and critical context of the 20th century. The notion of embodiment refers to the experience of the lived body, such as the senses, and accounts for the bodily dimension of consciousness and subjectivity. While research on representations of the body are now common, Zoë is interested in understanding how the bodily experience of space, time, and language is an integral part of both the content and form of literature, and in the tension between ethics, aesthetics, and the body. She approaches this through close readings of texts by WG Sebald, Primo Levi, Maurice Blanchot, Michel Houellebecq, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett, thus taking into account the development of literature across the long 20th century, from Modernism to contemporary fiction.
Other research interests include the relation between visual art and literature, the avant-garde, critical theory, and Modernism.
Zoë has taught across a range of courses, including the MA modules, Prison Writing: An English and European Tradition and Comparative Theories and the BA module, Introduction to Comparative Literature: Methods.
The Death of Desire: Bataille, Transgression, and the Erotic Extreme in Michel Houellebecq’s Plateforme’ in The Contemporary Extreme, ed. by Russell Williams (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Forthcoming 2013)
‘Against Representation: Death, Desire, and Art in Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal’ in Philip Roth Studies, Special Issue: ‘Roth and Women’, Forthcoming 2012
‘Visions of Death and Desire: Exploring Embodied Ethics in Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber’ in Watermark Journal, Vol. 5 (2011)
The Art Object in Henry James and Michel Houellebecq’, Comparative Literature Research Seminar, King’s College London, November 2011
‘The Death of Desire: Reconsidering Desire and Transgression in Michel Houellebecq’s Plateforme’, Transgression(s), Association des Etudes Françaises et Francophones d’Irlande (ADEFFI), Université de Provence (Aix-Marseille 1), October, 2011
‘The Death of Desire: Michel Houellebecq’s Plateforme and the Erotic Extreme’, Autour de l’extrême littéraire, University of London Institute in Paris, June, 2011
‘Embodied and Creative Processes: Beyond the Body as a Theme in Literature’, Bodies In Movement, University of Edinburgh, May, 2011
‘Stories that Move Us: Exploring Narrative Space and Embodiment in WG Sebald’s Austerlitz’, Motion and Space, King’s College London, May, 2011
‘Embodiment and Literature in WG Sebald’s Austerlitz and Primo Levi’s Se questo è un uomo’, Comparative Literature Research Seminar, King’s College London, April, 2009
‘“Space-crossed time” in WG Sebald's Austerlitz’, Enclosures, Graduate Forum, Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, January, 2008