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A stack of novels.

The Novel Network

Investigating the role of the novel in a digitised society
The Novel Network group examines the relationship between the novel and the ‘everyday’.

About us

Comprising academics from across the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Novel Network examines the novel from a range of disciplinary perspectives: from the literary critical to the socio-historical, philosophical and ethnographic.

We consider:

  • how the global novel functions politically and socially
  • whether periodicity is a useful way of classifying novels or whether there is another more compelling way they can historicised
  • the current state of novel theory
  • whether there is more than a nostalgic place for the novel’s particular readerly pleasures, such as: for deep absorption, for the framework of the page and the tactile rhythm of its turning.

Our group supports the work of the postgraduate Novel Studies Reading Group, which meets across semesters for detailed discussion of specific authors or novel theorists.

The Novel Network is formally affiliated (via a Memorandum of Understanding) with the Society for Novel Studies in the United States.

Mark Byron’s recent research focuses on the material genesis of the novel as textual process, from notes, glosses, annotations and manuscript drafts to published texts, versions and various kinds of scholarly editions.

John Frow has a continuing interest in narrative theory: his current ARC Discovery Project, "Regimes of reading", will deal with particular cases of interpretive conflict that will include the novel.

Sarah Gleeson-White's project, “The Mechanics of Regionalism”, investigates regionalism's interactions with modernity by examining the novels of a diverse group of American regionalists along with their really quite significant but frequently overlooked contributions to cinema, radio and mass publishing.

Françoise Grauby’s recent project on literary vocation addresses the birth of vocation in French literature by studying the novels, diaries and autobiographies of a selection of French writers, from the 19th century to the 21st century.

Melissa Hardie's most recent project, entitled "novel objects", addresses the mid-century Anglophone novel and considers publication, translation, distribution, remediation, citation, collection and pricing as forms of circulation.

Isabelle Hesse’s recent work, entitled Palimpsestic Tropes: The Holocaust, Israel, and Palestine in contemporary British and German culture, considers the aesthetic strategies authors use to engage with the Holocaust, Israel, and Palestine since the first Palestinian intifada and how these tropes can be seen as challenging or confirming political and historical representations.

Fiona Lee’s most recent research explores how writers and artists in British Malaya and postcolonial Malaysia deploy realist modes of representation in historical and graphic novels to grapple with the mutating forms of colonial racial knowledge that persist in the life of the nation.

Peter Marks's research interests include 20th century and 21st century literature, particularly –but not exclusively – British literature. His interest in the novel includes the study of film adaptations; the political novel (broadly defined); surveillance, utopian and dystopian fiction; modernist fiction and questions surrounding realism as a mode.

Peter Morgan’s most recent work includes the book-length study of the novel as a form of exploration of emerging male homosexual identities in the context of European, particularly German modernism.

Nicola Parsons's has recently worked on an ARC funded project that uses the twinned careers of Eliza Haywood and Daniel Defoe as a means of rethinking the connections between gender and genre in the formative decades of the novel.

Brigid Rooney's project "The novel and the suburb in Australia: 1901 to the present" investigates a productive nexus between fictional and real suburbia in Australian novels over the past century.

Vanessa Smith's recent research project, "Toy Stories: object relations from Defoe to Winnicott", links novel writing with British object relations theory via representations of juvenile writing and reading.

Carolyn Stott’s research focuses on the contemporary French novel with a particular emphasis on French detective fiction and the roman noir featuring Paris, and more specifically the north-eastern quartier of Belleville.

Matthew Sussman's most recent research focuses on the aesthetics of prose fiction as understood through the history of style and rhetoric.

Anne L Walsh’s area of research interest is contemporary Spanish narrative, specifically the popular novel of the 20th century and 21st century. The link between society, and how society expresses itself through fiction, reveals much about the everyday concerns of the general population.

The Novel Network is made up of academics and researchers from across the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. We welcome the opportunity to connect with other researchers in various and similar disciplines.



Group Convenor

Professor Vanessa Smith