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My research publications include essays and articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian and English narrative literature (De Marchi, Fogazzaro, Liardet; Verga, Tabucchi). While doing this work I also co-edited (with Ulrike Hanna Meinhof) a volume of essays by British and German scholars on Intertextuality and the Media: from Genre to Everyday Life (Manchester University Press, 2000); this includes a chapter, and a substantial theoretical introduction, co-authored by the editors. More recently I have been developing these different interests by working on the theoretical writings of Umberto Eco. This phase of work has produced another series of articles, and I am also working on a book, provisionally entitled Eco’s Narratologies: Explorations of Narrativity and Semiotics.

This study will provide a unique overview of Eco’s theoretical work, from its beginnings in the early 1960s into the new millennium. It is organized around the theme of narrativity, and the remarkable originality and fertility of Eco’s contributions to narrative theory (which despite his fame as a novelist have been relatively little recognized, even by specialists in one or the other field). These contributions are inflected successively by Eco’s early interests in the aesthetics of the avant-garde and in mass communication studies, and then by his close involvement in the development of semiotics, from the language-centered (and highly politicized) theories of culture developed in the 1960s and early 1970s, via the recent explosion of interest in the great American philosopher Charles S. Peirce (1839-1914), to the current interdisciplinary re-conceptualization of cognition as well as communication which places contemporary semiotics at the interface of linguistics, cultural studies and philosophy with psychology and biology.

Publications

  1. His Problem or Ours? Notes on Eco and Psychoanalysis. Journal of Romance Studies 10(3), 75-88.
  2. Eco and Ricoeur: Perspectives in Narrative Theory. Romance Studies 28(3), 145-157.
  3. Umberto Eco; or, A Portrait of the Semiotician as a Young Media Critic. In Philip Bounds and Mala Jagmohan (Ed.), Recharting Media Studies: Essays on Neglected Media Critics. (pp. 249-281). Oxford: Peter Lang.
  4. De te fabula narratur: narrativity, ethics, and psychoanalysis in the critical thought of Umberto Eco. , 168-82.

Teaching

  • ML-M25 Gender in Contemporary European Culture

    This module provides an introduction to the representation of gender in contemporary European culture through in-depth analysis of groundbreaking, sometimes controversial, novels, plays and films. It pays close attention to the nexus of gender and sexuality, ethnicity, work, the media, history, scandal, desire and politics. All texts will be read in translation.