Dr Doug Battersby

Lecturer in Modern Literature

Photo of Doug Battersby

School/Department: Arts, School of




I joined Leicester as a Lecturer in Modern Literature in January 2024. Prior to this, I was a postdoctoral or visiting fellow at the universities of Bristol, Columbia, Stanford, Sydney, and Tokyo. I earned my BA in English & Philosophy from the University of Leeds, my MA in English: Issues in Modern Culture from University College London, and my PhD from the University of York, with a year spent as a postgraduate researcher at Trinity College Dublin. My research has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the European Union, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, and the Leverhulme Trust. 

At Leicester, I teach and research literature from the 19th century to the present, with a particular focus on the history and theory of the novel. My past and current research projects explore how novelists' representations of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations have evolved over the history of the form. My first book, Troubling Late Modernism: Ethics, Feeling, and the Novel Form (Oxford, 2022), was shortlisted for the Modernist Studies Association First Book Prize. I am currently working on a second book, provisionally titled Cardiac Realism: The Affective Life of the Modern Novel. I have written articles and book chapters on a wide range of writers, such as Thomas Hardy, Ford Madox Ford, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, Vladimir Nabokov, Toni Morrison, J. M. Coetzee, and Kazuo Ishiguro. I also review contemporary fiction on a freelance basis in outlets such as the Times Literary SupplementThe Irish TimesThe Sydney Morning Herald, and the Financial Times. 

I would be delighted to hear from prospective PhD students hoping to work on any topics related to my interests, including (but not limited to!) philosophical approaches to literature, interdisciplinary studies of literature and medicine/science, affect theory and emotion history, theories and practices of close reading, and the history and theory of the novel (19th century to present). 






Troubling Late Modernism: Ethics, Feeling, and the Novel Form. Oxford University Press, 2022. Link

Journal Special Issue

“Affective Forms of the Modernist Novel.” Journal of Modern Literature, 47:3 (forthcoming 2024).

Journal Articles

“Thomas Hardy’s Betraying Heart: Realism and Bodily Affect.” ELH: English Literary History (forthcoming).

“Elizabeth Bowen’s Equivocal Modernism.” Journal of Modern Literature, 47:3 (forthcoming 2024).

“Sensation Fiction, Sexual Health, and Medical Prose: John Milner Fothergill and the Late Victorian Novel.” Literature and Medicine, vol. 40, no. 2, 2022: pp. 419–27. Link

“Reading for Attention: The Good Soldier in the Method Wars.” Essays in Criticism, vol. 72, no. 4, 2022: pp. 419–27. Link

“‘Who in This World Knows Anything of Any Other Heart?’: Ford Madox Ford and the New Cardiology.” Modernist Cultures, vol. 17, no. 2, 2022: pp. 246–66. —  Winner of the 2021 British Association of Modernist Studies (BAMS) Essay Prize. Link

“Reading Ishiguro Today: Suspicion and Form.” Ishiguro After the Nobel. Ed. Chris Holmes and Kelly M. Rich. Special issue of MFS: Modern Fiction Studies vol. 67, no. 1, 2021: pp. 67-88. Link

“Close Reading, Epistemology, and Affect: Nabokov After Rorty.” Philosophy and Literature, vol. 44, no. 2, 2020: pp. 323-49. Link

“Reading Against Polemic: Disciplinary Histories, Critical Futures.” The Cambridge Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 2, 2020: pp. 103-23. Link

“‘The mental rimmed the sensuous’: Nabokov and the Singularity of Literary Experience.” Textual Practice, vol. 33, no. 4, 2019: pp. 605-21. Link

“‘The unbounded power of eloquence’: Banville, Conrad, and Metamodernism.” Modernism’s Contemporary Affects. Ed. David James. Special issue of Modernism/modernity (Print Plus), vol. 3, no. 3, 2018. Link

“Contemporary Realism, Postmodernism, and Bodily Feeling: Ian McGuire’s The North Water.” English: Journal of the English Association, vol. 67, no. 256, 2018: pp. 1-22. —  Winner of the 2017 English Essay Prize. Link

Book Chapters

“Ishiguro and Genre Fiction.” The Cambridge Companion to Kazuo Ishiguro. Ed. Andrew Bennett. Cambridge UP, 2023. 138-151.

“Reading by Example: Disciplinary History for a Polemical Age.” The Work of Reading: Literary Criticism in the 21st Century. Ed. Derek Attridge, Anirudh Sridhar, and Mir Ali Hosseini. Palgrave, 2021. 91-111. Link

“‘To have that on the imagination!’: Beckett and the Subjectivities of Literary Fiction.” New Perspectives on Community and the Modernist Subject: Finite, Singular, Exposed. Ed. Gerardo Rodríguez Salas and Paula Martín Salván. Routledge, 2018. 231-246. Link

Academic Reviews

Review of Nabokov in Context (Cambridge UP, 2018), ed. David Bethea and Siggy Frank. Journal of American Studies, vol. 54, no. 2, 2020: pp. E27. Link

Review of Guilty Aesthetic Pleasures (Harvard UP, 2018), by Timothy Aubry. The Review of English Studies, vol. 70, no. 295, 2019: pp. 592-593. Link

“Extremely Slow and Incredibly Close: How to Read Modern American Novels.” Review of Mere Reading: The Poetics of Wonder in Modern American Novels (Bloomsbury, 2017), by Lee Clark Mitchell. Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 42, no. 1, 2018. Link

Review of Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History (Harvard UP, 2017), by Joseph North. English: Journal of the English Association, vol. 67, no. 257, 2018: pp. 195-197. Link

Literary Reviews

So Late in the Day (Faber, 2023), by Claire Keegan. The Irish Times, 2 September 2023. Link

Mild Vertigo (Fitzcarraldo, 2023), by Mieko Kanai. The TLS, 18 August 2023. Link

Open Throat (Picador, 2023), by Henry Hoke. The Irish Times, 11 August 2023. Link

The Pole and Other Stories (Text Publishing, 2023), by J. M. Coetzee. The Sydney Morning Herald / The Age / Brisbane Times WA Today, 14 July 2023: p. 12. Link

The Guest (Chatto & Windus, 2023), by Emma Cline. Financial Times, 4 May 2023. Link

Shy (Faber, 2023), by Max Porter. The Irish Times, 8 April 2023. Link

The Bookbinder of Jericho (Chatto & Windus, 2023), by Pip Williams. The Sydney Morning Herald / The Age / Brisbane Times WA Today, 24 March 2023: p. 12. Link

The Lock-Up (Faber, 2023), by John Banville. The TLS, no. 6260, 24 March 2023: p. 17. Link

Old Babes in the Woods (Chatto & Windus, 2023), by Margret Atwood. Financial Times, “Life & Arts,” 23 February 2023: p. 10. Link

Stella Maris (Picador, 2022), by Cormac McCarthy. The Irish Times, 26 November 2022. Link

The Passenger (Picador, 2022), by Cormac McCarthy. The Irish Times. 29 October 2022. p. 11. Link

Lapvona (Penguin, 2022), by Ottessa Moshfegh. Financial Times, “Life & Arts,” 11 June 2022: p. 11. Link

April in Spain (Faber, 2021), by John Banville. Financial Times, “Life & Arts,” 23 October 2021: p. 11. Link

Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost (Faber, 2021), by David Hoon Kim. Financial Times, “Life & Arts,” 17 July 2021: p. 10. Link

Klara and the Sun (Faber, 2021), by Kazuo Ishiguro. The Irish Times, “Ticket: The Irish Times Culture Magazine,” 6 March 2021, p. 13. Link

The Art of Falling (John Murray, 2021), by Danielle McLaughlin. Financial Times, 6 January 2021. Link

Sisters (Jonathan Cape, 2020), by Daisy Johnson. The Irish Times, “Ticket: The Irish Times Culture Magazine,” 3 October 2020, p. 13. Link

The Abstainer (Simon & Schuster, 2020), by Ian McGuire. The Irish Times, “Ticket: The Irish Times Culture Magazine,” 19 September 2020: p. 14. Link

The Liar’s Dictionary (William Heinemann, 2020), by Eley Williams. Financial Times, 23 July 2020. Link

The Death of Jesus (Penguin, 2019), by J. M. Coetzee. Financial Times, “Life & Arts,” 4 January 2020: p. 10. Link

Lanny (Faber & Faber, 2019), by Max Porter. Financial Times, “Life & Arts,” 23 February 2019, p. 10. Link

Charles Bovary, Country Doctor (NYRB, 2018), by Jean Améry, Financial Times, “Life & Arts,” 3 November 2018: p. 10. Link

Invitation to a Bonfire (Bloomsbury, 2018), by Adrienne Celt. Financial Times, “Life & Arts,” 21 July 2018: p. 11. Link

The Melody (Picador, 2018), by Jim Crace. Financial Times, “Life & Arts,” 17 February 2018: p. 10. Link

Mrs Osmond (Viking, 2017), by John Banville. London Evening Standard, 12 October 2017: p. 46.


Back to top