Dr Alice Honor Gavin
I joined the School of English as Lecturer in Fiction and Writing in September 2015. Prior to coming to Sheffield, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry between 2012-2014, and held a Teaching Fellowship in Twentieth-Century English Literature at the University of Sussex. I completed my PhD within the doctoral programme of the London Consortium at Birkbeck, University of London, and hold a BA (Joint Honours) in English and History from the University of Oxford.
My research and writing moves across and between fiction, critical theory, film, and modern literature. My work is additionally informed by ongoing interests in linguistics, architecture, and queer theory.
Shortlisted for the 2015 Gordon Burn Prize, which rewards writing that demonstrates ‘innovative literary methods’ and ‘challenges perceived notions of genre’, my first novel, Midland: A Novel Out of Time (Penned in the Margins, 2014), is both an anarchic narrative of an unnamed city and an experiment in personal history. My current creative project is a parafictional account of the comeback of a boyband that never existed – an exploration of fate, narrative, and gender that also incorporates performance.
My critical work frequently focuses on forms of oblique expression. In my first monograph, Literature and Film, Dispositioned: Thought, Location, World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), I read the encounter between literature and silent cinema as frustrating the assumption that literary modernism entails an amplification of subjectivity. Comparing the ‘unoccupied perspective’ of represented thought in literature to the unattributable shots of cinema, I show how free indirect style involves a subjective exuberance that is simultaneously subjectivity’s quitting. I also foreground the anachronistic character of many encounters between literature and film, moving beyond discussions of cinematic influence to attend, instead, to writerly attachments to film’s mute resistance to interiority. The book concludes with a discussion of Samuel Beckett’s Film, which I read as a key iteration of the excommunicative impulse of Beckett’s writing.
Two new projects combine my research interests with experimentation in creative criticism. The first of these entails a protracted close reading of the coffin pictogram in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. The second explores the textual significance of the General Slocum Disaster of June 15 1904 in James Joyce’s Ulysses.
I teach creative and critical writing at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I also offer lectures on literature modules such as ‘Modernism’ and ‘Studying Prose’. Along with Dr Melanie Richter-Montpetit in the Department of Politics, I co-organised a Learning and Teaching workshop series on the topic of ‘Queer Methodologies and the Politics of Creative Practice.’
Essays in Books
Selected Short Pieces (Online and Zines)