My current major research focuses on the relationship between literature and totality, particularly as it pertains to questions of epistemic violence and injustice. This work builds from my PhD research, which focused on the ways that modernist and contemporary writers work with and against the history and practice of Western, modern (post-1700s) encyclopaedic thought. That work led me to consider in greater detail the ways that the concepts of ‘totality’ and ‘the totalising imagination’ are being re-developed in 21st Century fiction. This research, which will be published in my forthcoming monograph, Encyclopaedism and Totality in Contemporary Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2023), focuses particularly on the works of Leslie Marmon Silko, Don DeLillo, Roberto Bolaño, and Karen Tei Yamashita.
Alongside this, I am currently working on a smaller project that commemorates the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses; key outputs include a co-edited collection of articles for Textual Practice, including my own contribution, which uses Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners to open up questions about Joyce’s ‘hypercanonicity,’ and an event, to be held in June 2022 at the University of Sussex. I am also finalising commissioned articles on Joyce’s influence on Don DeLillo, for Edinburgh Companion to Don DeLillo and the Arts, and on the ‘decolonial’ ontological anthropology of Eduardo Viveiros de Castro as understood through Herman Melville’s The Confidence-Man, for Oxford Handbook to Herman Melville.
My next project returns me to global modernist studies and the 20th Century: looking specifically at the development, circulation, and impact of the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, this project will consider the extent to which the Britannica and its widely advertised brand of imperial, Anglocentric epistemology can be understood as a key artefact both in the emergence of late colonial and postcolonial literatures.