Chris Witter

English Literature PhD Student and AHRC Award holder, 2009 - 2014

My research explores American short fiction, during the 1960s and 70s, focused around conceptions of experimentation, metafiction, and modernism. My aim is to reformulate current understanding of the works of this period; to historicise and politicise the textual practice of authors such as Donald Barthelme, William H. Gass, Walter Abish, Stanley Elkin, Thomas Pynchon and Robert Coover. I am currently writing two short pieces: the first explores reoccurring sexual metaphors in Gass’ In theHeart of the Heart of the Country and Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife. The second piece considers Donald Barthelme’s textual engagement with critical and artistic theories of la vie quotidienne, and I hope to deliver this as a conference paper in early 2010.

I completed my BA in English Literature at Lancaster University, where I took advantage of two full modules in American literature, spanning from Columbus to Coupland. I’m pleased to see these modules still run roughly as I took them. I moved to the University of Nottingham to complete an MA in English Literature, feeling that it was necessary to experience a different institution and a different city. I’ve returned to Lancaster for the PhD, which I have just begun. My research is supervised by Dr Brian Baker, for which I am duly thankful. I have been awarded AHRC funding, and I am a member of the British Association for American Studies (BAAS). I have just begun to work with a small team of fellow postgraduate students on a Lancaster University postgraduate journal, which is called Luminary. I was born in Watford, and raised on brown bread in the flat lands of Peterborough. University was a welcome escape.