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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I graduated in English from St Catharine's College, Cambridge in 2011, and then gained four years of work experience (in the public sector, then at a charity) before continuing full-time education. I did my MA in French literature and culture at King's College London, where I wrote my dissertation on the novelist Georges Perec, the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, and how novels were and weren't like sociology in the seventies.

My PhD research is on twentieth-century and contemporary poetry in Britain, France and the US. It focuses on instances when poets have seen their work as a way to form or transmit a worldview, in the obvious sense that poetry might be imagined as telling you something about your historical moment, or recording something about someone else's. The idea of reception - a literary work's afterlife, but also its ability to pick up signals like a radio - has often been a focal point for fantasies about how poetry might work in this way. By examining the reception of Guillaume Apollinaire over the course of the twentieth century, in the work of poets such as F.S. Flint in Britain in the 1910s and Alice Notley in the US in the 1990s, I explore these fantasies of reception through their material conditions and consequences.

More widely, my research looks at the relations between marginal cultural forms (who actually reads poetry?), canons, consensus, the idea of data, and social imaginaries.

Department: English
Supervisor: Dr Deborah Bowman
College: King's
AHRC Subject Area: English
Title of Thesis: Fantasies of reception from Apollinaire to Notley
 Conrad  Steel