Samuel Gormley


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

Originally grounded in traditional ecocritical theory, my research has since shifted towards an interrogation of the concept of “life” more broadly, and its plasticity and mutability within scientific and futuristic discourses as well as in contemporary literature. Drawing widely on philosophical and theoretical work in Science Studies, non-/posthuman theory, and the new materialisms, I develop a way of reading contemporary fiction that highlights the precariousness of the human species as a stable category. I also 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 poetry 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 (DeLillo, Pynchon, McCarthy), film, and all aspects of popular culture.


I  taught Samuel Beckett’s En Attendant Godot for French Prelims at St. Hugh’s in Michaelmas 2016. 

I am currently a Graduate Mentor at Merton, where I offer undergraduates advice on essay structure, revision techniques, and exam timing, as well as on all aspects of translation and modern literature.


“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 (University of Kielce) vo.1 no.1, forthcoming.

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