Successfully Defended

I successfully defended my dissertation and am finished with school! It feels amazing to be done, and my defense went even better than I expected. My co-supervisors were Alan Friedman and Neville Hoad, and committee members were Mia Carter (who first introduced me to Christopher Isherwood), David Kornhaber, and Michael Charlesworth (from the Art History department).
Photo Oct 20The defense was much more like a conversation than like a question-and-answer session (or a roast!), which made it relaxed and enjoyable. I wasn’t given any significant revisions, but I was given some amazing ideas for adapting this project and turning it into something bigger and more interesting, which I’m very excited about. Even though I’m probably leaving academia—or at least not making a career of it—I don’t want to put this project completely behind me. It has been too interesting and too influential to be left behind.

I also got to spend a few days in Austin catching up with my grad school friends and with my college friend L.A. Fields, who I hadn’t seen since 2012. She lives in Dallas now and came over to Austin to see me.

The best thing about completing my PhD is the feeling of getting closure on the “school” phase of my life without leaving behind the relationships I built at UT or the project that made me want to finish the degree. What I’m most looking forward to now is adapting my dissertation and reading more! I want to revisit my favorite Isherwood works without the pressure of the dissertation, and I want to start reading my London Reviews again, not to mention catching up on the backlog of fiction and non-fiction books on my “to-read” list!

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Dissertation Defense Scheduled

My dissertation defense is scheduled! I am so excited to be

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Japanese Gardens at the Huntington, 2015

wrapping up this interesting chapter in my life. I haven’t updated much about the process of completing the project because I’ve been so busy with work, a new house, and a new baby.

I’ll be in Austin for a couple of days, and I’m looking forward not only to wrapping up my grad school experience but also to catching up with my friends and professors. I haven’t seen them in person since April 2016 when I flew to Texas for a brief visit.

Wish me luck!

‘All the Conspirators’ on London Fictions

A piece I wrote about Christopher Isherwood’s 1928 novel All the Conspirators has appeared on the London Fictions website, thanks to Andrew Whitehead, who runs this wonderful page. London Fictions features articles about works of fiction set in London, from George Gissing’s 1889 The Nether World to Zadie Smith’s 2012 NW.

All the Conspirators

first edition dust jacket

I first heard of London Fictions at the Literary London Conference I attended in 2013, and I am very excited to be able to add Christopher Isherwood to the project.

Modernism Now!: British Association for Modernist Studies 2014 Conference

BAMS 2014 programmeI presented at the BAMS 2014 Annual Conference, Modernism Now!, on 28 June 2014, as part of a panel of UT graduate students and our supervising professor, Mia Carter.

UT grad students at BAMS

left to right: myself, Reid Echols, and Brianna Hyslop

Our panel was titled “‘More Forms and Stranger’: Actual and Imaginative Intermodernist to Late Modernist Journeys,” and took place at 3:30pm in Room 349 of Senate House Library in the Bloomsbury neighborhood of London.

I presented a paper titled “‘In Favour of Strangeness’: Interwar Anxiety in The Mortmere Stories.” The Mortmere Stories are a set of some finished and some unfinished short stories by Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward. The stories were written while both authors attended Cambridge in the 1920s, but were not published until 1993. They feature heavily in my dissertation.

Literary London 2013: Representations of London in Literature

at Senate House Library

at Senate House Library

I attended the Literary London Society’s 2013 conference at the Institute of English Studies (part of the University of London) on July 17th – 19th 2013. The experience attending a conference alone, without any other members of my own University, was challenging but very enjoyable. I met many interesting people from the UK and the US.

Marple Hall

Marple Hall

I presented a paper in the “Queer London” panel titled “The ‘Other Town’: Christopher Isherwood’s Romantic-Sinister London.” To obtain photos for an accompanying slideshow, I spent some of my two weeks in the UK visiting the locations where Isherwood’s family lived in London and in Marple, a town in Stockport, Greater Manchester. Isherwood’s family once owned Marple Hall in Marple itself and Wyberslegh Hall in the village of High Lane. Walking from Marple to Wyberslegh takes you on a beautiful journey along “The Ridge,” a road that overlooks green rolling hills and fields.

The Ridge at Marple

The Ridge at Marple

A few months after the conference, I learned that I had been nominated for The Presidents’ Prize, an award for outstanding presentations given by the presidents of the Literary London Society. While another presenter won the prize, I was thrilled to be one of eight nominees out of more than one hundred conference presentations. I look forward to attending this annual event again.