Rachel Fountain Eames

School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title:  The New Physics in Modernist Literature and Culture
SupervisorsProfessor John Holmes, Dr Will Tattersdill and Dr John Fagg
PhD English Literature

Research

My thesis is an interdisciplinary historicist study of how the growing cultural influence of physics in the early 20th Century offered writers and artists in American and Europe a powerful new language and methodology. I examine the work of American and European modernists, William Carlos Williams, Mina Loy, H.D., Wallace Stevens, and Louis Zukofsky to explore the myriad ways in which the concepts and language of physics bled into, influenced, and was influenced by, their work.

My research is concerned with the role of science in early 20th century literary and cultural production, focussing on the two-way relationship between the revolution in physics during this period (Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics) and the work of the writers and artists of the Modernist avant-gardes in Europe and America. My study participates in the recent repositioning of science as a product of cultural and historical influence, and considers the reflexive way in which the fields of art, literature, and science communicate and are communicated. 

As such, I am particularly interested in ideas of communication, and particularly of popular science communication to the public. Both physics and modernism are fascinating, but culturally loaded terms whose perceived difficulty often prevents them from reaching a wider audience. I am very interested in breaking down these barriers and opening up my research through public engagement.