Thesis title: The Essay as Non-Narrative Life-Writing: Woolf, Didion, Solnit
Supervisor: Professor Kate McLoughlin
Doctoral research: My research considers the reductive tendencies of narrative life-writing, as observed across the fields of philosophy (Galen Strawson), historiography (Hayden White), and life-writing studies (Hermione Lee). In light of these concerns, I present the literary essay (from the French verb essayer, "to attempt") as an alternative life-writing form that might allow a person's life to be depicted with more realistic complexity. In particular, my thesis pays attention to twentieth- and twenty-first century female essayists, including Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), Joan Didion (1934-2021), and Rebecca Solnit (1961-).
I have presented my research at the International Conference on Virginia Woolf, the Oxford English Graduate Conference and the Modern and Contemporary Graduate Forum (both Faculty of English), and the Franks Society Talks (Worcester College). I was previously a Reader for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography in 2021.
As regards teaching, I am currently supervising a BA dissertation on Virginia Woolf, as well as teaching Prelims Paper 4 (Literature in English 1910-Present).
You can find me on Twitter @DallawayJulia.
Research interests: life-writing, the essay form, women's writing, narratology, modernism, literature and philosophy, literature and religion, mysticism, cultural history