Samuel Gormley


My DPhil research, supported by the Wolfson Foundation, examines the roles played by speculative evolution, mutation, genetic manipulation, and extinction in post-1990 French fiction. Key writers discussed are Marie Darrieussecq, Michel Houellebecq, Jean-Christophe Rufin, and Antoine Volodine.

Originally grounded in ecocritical theory, my research has since shifted towards an interrogation of the concept of “life” more broadly, and its plasticity and mutability across intertwining discourses in science and literature. My research draws widely on philosophical and theoretical work in science studies, non-/posthuman theory, and the new materialisms to argue for a renewed attention to new forms of humanity emerging in contemporary fiction. I argue for the importance of speculative modes of literature in the twenty-first century, especially for imagining possible trans-/post-/nonhuman futures.

I received my BA and MSt degrees in French from St. Hugh’s and Merton respectively. I have worked in modernist poetry and travel writing, especially the work of Paul Morand and Blaise Cendrars. My Masters dissertation (supervised by Michael Sheringham, All Souls) examines the links between literature, travel, and music in the oeuvre of Swiss traveller Nicolas Bouvier. My wider research interests include modern American fiction, weird fiction, and popular culture.


I am in the early stages of organising a TORCH-funded network to run throughout 2018-19 entitled Life Itself in Theory and Practice. The interdisciplinary network brings together researchers in the sciences and humanities to explore the shifting meanings of “life” across cultural discourses, literature and film, and the concrete practices of scientific research. 

Forthcoming publications

“Scarred Landscapes, Hybrid Spaces, and the Pitfalls of Technological Modernity in Paul Morand’s U.S.A.-1927”. Anglosphere: Perspectives on Literature, History, and Culture (Poland: University of Kielce) vo.1 no.1

Teaching and Mentoring

I taught Samuel Beckett’s En attendant Godot to Prelims students at St. Hugh’s College in late 2016.

I am a graduate mentor in French at Merton College, as well as a mentor within the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty.

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