Professor Catherine Morley

Head of School

School/Department: Arts, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2638



I completed my undergraduate and Masters studies at University College Cork, after which I moved to Oxford Brookes University to complete my AHRC-funded PhD. Upon completion of my doctorate, I moved to the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford, as Academic Director, before returning to Brookes to take up a UKRI postdoctoral fellowship in the Cultures of Modernism. I joined the University of Leicester in 2008 as Lecturer in American Literature. I became Associate Professor of American Literature in 2011, Director of Studies for English in 2016, and Head of the School of Arts in 2020-21.


I work primarily in American literature and culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with particular emphasis upon literary form and visual art, epistemology and terrorism. I have published two monographs on modern American literature and I have edited three collections on contemporary American culture and transatlantic modernism. I’ve also published more than 30 chapters and articles on subjects from the transnational epic tradition to the novels of a range of American writers and from literary anarchism in the 1930s to the fictional legacies of 9/11.

My current research project will focus on the works of the American writer Willa Cather, exploring her politics and her ambiguous relationship with experimental modernism through art. Although Cather is often perceived as antipathetic to the modernist movement, my project makes the case that her interest in and use of the tenets and practices of visual art offer crucial insights into a more innovative aesthetic in her writing. Cather’s work abounds with references to particular paintings, sculptures or frescoes. Using these textual references as my starting point, I will explore how she studied the techniques of the artists she admired and attempted to integrate them into her writing. In consonance with this project, I have been commissioned by Oxford University Press to complete a scholarly edition of Cather’s 1927 novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop.


Books and Edited Collections

Catherine Morley, ed., Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023).

Catherine Morley, ed., 9/11 in Contemporary American Literature (London: Bloomsbury, 2016).

Catherine Morley, Modern American Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012).

Catherine Morley, The Quest for Epic in Contemporary American Literature: John Updike, Philip Roth and Don DeLillo (New York: Routledge, 2009; paperback edition, 2010).

Catherine Morley and Alex Goody, eds., American Modernism: Cultural Transactions (Durham: Cambridge Scholars’ Press, 2009).

Catherine Morley and Martin Halliwell, eds., American Thought and Culture in the Twenty-First Century (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008).


Catherine Morley, ‘Don DeLillo and Video Art’ in Catherine Gander, ed., The Edinburgh Companion to Don DeLillo and the Arts (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2023), pp. tbc.

Catherine Morley, ‘Accents of the Future: Ethnic American Modernism’ in Mark Whalan, ed., The Cambridge History of American Modernism (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2023), pp. 113-128.

Catherine Morley, ‘Agitators and Intellectuals: Radical Jewish Storytellers’ in Ross Wilson, ed., The Cambridge Companion to New York Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020), pp. 31-46

Catherine Morley, ‘Women’s Voices: The Assimilated Subject and the Persistence of Marginalisation’ in Victoria Aarons, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the New Jewish American Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 156-168.

Catherine Morley, ‘Architects of History: Protest and Experimentation in American Writing of the 1930s’ in William Solomon, ed., The Cambridge Companion to American Literature of the 1930s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 55-71.

Catherine Morley, ‘Philip Roth – Newark’s Shakespeare’ in Aimee Pozorski and David Goobler, eds., Philip Roth After 80 (Lanham: Lexington, 2016), pp. 109-126.

Catherine Morley, ‘Unbridgeable Gaps: Time, Space and Memory in the Post 9/11 Novel’ in Leslie Eckel and Clare Elliott, eds., The Edinburgh Companion to Atlantic Literary Studies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016), pp. 384-396.

Catherine Morley, ‘The Architecture of Memory and Memorialisation in Amy Waldman’s The Submission’ in Catherine Morley, ed., American Writing After 9/11 (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), pp. 185-200.

Catherine Morley, ‘Sensibilities of Estrangement: Delmore Schwartz, Isaac Rosenfeld and Saul Bellow’ in David Brauner and Axel Staehler, The Edinburgh Companion to Modern Jewish Fiction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015), pp. 33-42.

Catherine Morley, ‘Ethnic American Modernisms’ in Joshua Miller, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the American Modernist Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 52-67.

Catherine Morley, ‘Possessed by the Past: History, Memory and Nostalgia in The Human Stain’, in Debra Shostak, ed., Philip Roth: American Pastoral, The Human Stain, The Plot Against America (London: Continuum, 2011), pp. 80-92.

Catherine Morley and Alex Goody, ‘American Modernism: Cultural Transactions’ in American Modernism: Cultural Transactions (Durham: Cambridge Scholars’ Press, 2009), pp. 1-25.

Catherine Morley, ‘Writing in the Wake of 9/11’, in Catherine Morley and Martin Halliwell, eds., American Thought and Culture in the Twenty-First Century (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), pp. 211-227.

Catherine Morley and Martin Halliwell, ‘The Next American Century’, in Catherine Morley and Martin Halliwell, eds., American Thought and Culture in the Twenty-First Century (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), pp. 1-17.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Catherine Morley, ‘“The Book of My Life is a Book of Voices”: Philip Roth and the Bloodlines of his Fiction’, Philip Roth Studies, 15.1 (Spring 2019), pp. 98-104.

Catherine Morley, ‘Willa Cather and Dutch Golden Age Painting’, Modernist Cultures, 11.1 (2016), pp. 118-136.

Catherine Morley, ‘“How Do We Write about This?” The Domestic and the Global in the Post-9/11 Novel’, Journal of American Studies, Vol. 45, Special Issue 04, 2011, pp. 717-731.

Catherine Morley, ‘Crossing the Water: Willa Cather and the Transatlantic Imaginary’, European Journal of American Culture, Vol. 28, No. 2, Fall 2009, pp. 125-140.

Catherine Morley, ‘Memories of the Lindbergh Administration’, Philip Roth Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 2008, pp. 137-152.

Catherine Morley, ‘The End of Innocence: Tales of Terror after 9/11’, Review of International American Studies, Vol. 3.3-4.1, Fall 2008, pp. 82-94.

Catherine Morley, ‘Plotting Against America: 9/11 and the Spectacle of Terror in Contemporary American Fiction’, Gramma, Vol. 16, 2008, pp. 293-312.

Catherine Morley, ‘Bardic Aspirations: Philip Roth's Epic of America’, English, Vol. 57, No. 218, Summer 2008, pp. 171-198.

Catherine Morley, ‘The Transnational American Epic’, Literature Compass, Vol. 5, No. 5, Summer 2008, pp. 877-893.

Catherine Morley, ‘Voice of the Prairies: Willa Cather and the International Modernist Scene’, Willa Cather Review Vol. 51, No. 1, Spring 2007, pp. 7-11.

Catherine Morley, ‘Excavating Underworld, Disinterring Ulysses’, Journal of Comparative American Studies, Autumn 2006, pp. 175-197.

Catherine Morley, ‘Don DeLillo’s Dialogue with Sergei Eisenstein’, Journal of American Studies, Spring 2006, pp. 17-35.

Catherine Morley, ‘The Bard of Domesticity? John Updike Reconsidered in Terms of Transnationalism’, European Journal of American Culture, Vol. 23, No. 3, Autumn 2004, pp. 187-201.


I am happy to hear from potential students with an interest in any aspect of American literary or visual culture. I also have a keen interest in Irish writing from James Joyce through to contemporary writers such as Sally Rooney, Anne Enright, Sebastian Barry, Donal Ryan and Megan Nolan. I have supervised numerous PhD students through to completion and examined over twenty doctoral theses throughout the UK and Ireland. Previous and current doctoral students have worked on topics such as multilingualism in the work of Willa Cather, psychology and visual art in the work of Gertrude Stein, the visual aesthetics of John Updike's short stories, and Italian American modernism, amongst many other topics.


I teach on the UG English BA degree, the BA in English and American Studies, the BA American Studies as well as the MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature. The undergraduate modules include EN2013 Diversity in American Literature, EN3044 American Masculinities and EN3149 New York Stories. I contribute to various other modules across the degree and welcome UG and PGT dissertation queries.

Press and media

I am happy to field media queries on any aspect of twentieth and twenty-first century American literary or visual culture.

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