Dr Hannah Simpson


*Twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature 

*Theatre and performance 

*The human body in literature 

*Literary depictions of physical pain and disability 

*Samuel Beckett

*War literature 

*Literature and politics 

*Northern Irish literature



*Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Witness: Pain in Post-War Francophone Drama (Oxford University Press, May 2022); analyses the depiction of physical pain in the post-World War II plays of Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Eugène Ionesco, Marguerite Duras, and Pablo Picasso.


Forthcoming monograph:

*Samuel Beckett and Disability Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, July 2022): examines contemporary disability performances of Beckett’s stage plays and offers a new theorising of Beckett’s treatment of the impaired body.



My postdoctoral project, tentatively entitled The Unexpected Dramatist: Modernism’s Forgotten Stage Plays, explores the forgotten plays of modernist novelists Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, E. M. Forster, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Flann O’Brien, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner. It explores why these novelists turned to (and then turned away form) the theatre medium, and the implications for their conceptions of communal and national forms of literary and cultural engagement.

*Prelims Paper 1 (Introduction to Literary Theory), Prelims Paper 3 (Literature in English 1830-1910) and Paper 4 (Literature in English 1910- present day).

*FHS Papers 6 and 7 in twentieth- and twenty-first century literature.

*Department of Continuing Education, Foundation Certificate in English Literature: Victorian and Modernism modules (lecture, seminar and tutorial series), plus regular lecture and seminar contributions on topics related to theatre, performance, war litertaure, and Irish, English and French literature.

I serve as Theatre Review Editor for The Beckett Circle, and as “Theatre and Performance” reviewer for Oxford University Press’s The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory.


College profile: https://www.st-annes.ox.ac.uk/cpt_people/simpson-dr-hannah/

Academia.edu profile: https://oxford.academia.edu/HannahSimpson

Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/hsimpson100



Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Witness: Pain in Post-War Francophone Drama, Oxford University Press, 2022.

Samuel Beckett and Disability Performance, forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan, Summer 2022.


Book Chapters

“Theatre in Northern Ireland Post-1989”, invited for The Routledge Companion to European Theatre and Performance, ed. Aneta Mancewicz and Ralf Remshardt. Routledge, under contract, in progress.

“Decolonial Absurdist Literature”, co-authored with Nic Barilar, invited for The Routledge Companion to Absurdist Literature, ed. Michael Y. Bennett. Routledge, under contract, in progress.

“Displacing the Human: Representing Ecological Crisis on Stage”, co-authored with Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, Life, Re-Scaled: The Biological Imagination in Twenty-First-Century Literature and Performance, eds. Liliane Campos and Pierre-Louis Patoine. Open Book Publishing, forthcoming.

“Beckett’s Afterlife in Northern Irish Poetry”, Samuel Beckett’s Poetry, eds. James Brophy and William Davies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming November 2022.

“Waiting for Godot and the Fascist Aesthetics of the Body” in Beckett and Politics, eds. William Davies and Helen Bailey. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, pp. 155-176.

“‘Hurts! He wants to know if it hurts!’: Suffering Beyond Redemption in Waiting for Godot” in Beckett Beyond the Normal, ed. Seán Kennedy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020, pp. 79-89.

“Waiting for GOdoT: Samuel Beckett and HBO’s Game of Thrones” in Pop Beckett: Intersections with Popular Culture, eds. David Pattie and Paul Stewart. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019, pp. 227-246.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“‘in control… under control’: Not I, Sexual Trauma, and Rape Play”, Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui 34.1, 2022, pp. 24-38.

“Wallace Stevens and the Necessity of Distance: International Influence and the Theatre Auditorium”, The Wallace Stevens Journal 46.1, 2022, 82-96.

“Trying Again, Failing Again: Samuel Beckett and the Sequel Play”, New Theatre Quarterly 37.3, 2021, pp. 258-272.

“Samuel Beckett and Disability Performance”, Journal of Beckett Studies 30.1, 2021, pp. 26-44.

“‘le maigre dos tourné à l’humanité’: Eleutheria, la souffrance, et son public” (French-language), Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui 32.2, 2020, pp. 176-191.

“Kinaesthetic Empathy, Physical Recoil: The Conflicting Embodied Affects of Samuel Beckett’s Quad”, Journal of Modern Literature 42.2, Winter 2019, pp. 132-148.

“Tics in the Theatre: The Quiet Audience, the Relaxed Performance, and the Neurodivergent Spectator”, Theatre Topics 28.3, November 2018, pp. 227-238.

“Samuel Beckett and the Nobel Catastrophe”, Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui 30.2, Winter 2018, pp. 337-364.

“‘Where / Do I begin and end?’: Circular Imagery in the Revolutionary Poetics of Wallace Stevens and W. B. Yeats”, The Wallace Stevens Journal 42.1, Spring 2018, pp. 46-61.

“‘Strange laughter’: Post-Gothic Questions of Laughter and the Human in Samuel Beckett’s Work”, Journal of Modern Literature 40.4, Summer 2017, pp. 1-19.

“‘Away, come away’: Moving Dead Women and Irish Emigration in W. B. Yeats’s Early Poetry”, Études Irlandaises “Embodying-Disembodying Ireland,” 42.1 Automne – Hiver 2017, pp. 45-60.

“Destabilising Decapitation in King Henry VI”, Exchanges: The Warwick Research Journal 4.1, October 2016, pp. 45-60.

“‘Now keep out of the way, Whitelaw’: Self-Expression, Agency and Directorial Control in W. B. Yeats’s and Samuel Beckett’s Theatre”, Comparative Drama 49.4, Winter 2015, pp. 399-418.


Editor Publications 

Special issue editor, “World War II: Bodies Beyond the Battlefield”, Medical Humanities 46.2, 2020

Special issue editor, “Writing Bodily Resistance in World War II”, Twentieth Century Literature 66.1, 2020.

Special issue editor, “Global Perspectives on the Body and World War II”, The Journal of War and Culture Studies 13.2, 2020.


Other Publications

“Performing Northern Ireland: Stephen Rea in Cyprus Avenue and Hard Border”, commissioned for Contemporary Irish Literature, November 2020. Available at https://contemporaryirishlit.files.wordpress.com/2021/07/hannah-simpson-1.pdf

“Disability, Neurodiversity, and Feminism”, invited position statement, The Journal of Feminist Scholarship 16.1, Spring/Fall 2019, pp.  81-83.

“Jess Thom’s Not I: The Relaxed Performance and Tourette’s Syndrome”, The Beckett Circle, Summer 2017.

Selected Publications