Imola Nagy-Seres

Department: English and Film Studies
Discipline: English

Project Summary

Modernist fiction has often been considered hostile to feelings, partly as a reaction to earlier trends of Romantic and Victorian sentimentality. T. S. Eliot’s notorious claim that poetry is ‘an escape from emotion’ seemed to be applicable to poets and prose writers alike. My thesis seeks to interrogate and complicate this idea by showing that the sharing of affects occupied a central place in modernism. Through the close reading of D. H. Lawrence’s, Virginia Woolf’s and Elizabeth Bowen’s selected novels, essays and personal writings in conjunction with Maurice Merleau-Ponty's philosophy, I will argue that sympathy in the modernist novel often takes place in the 'hollow' between two touching hands. While the major part of my thesis is concerned with modernist authors, in my last chapter I investigate the way in which contemporary novelist Ian McEwan has engaged with modernist ideas of fellow feeling in his later novels. 

Supervisory Team

Dr Kirsty Martin

Professor Laura Salisbury

Dr Jana Funke

Wider Research Interests

Literary Modernism

Katherine Mansfield

Jean Rhys

Literature and Emotion

Empathy Studies

Contemporary Literature

Julian Barnes

Medical Humanities

Foreign Languages and Cultures: German and Italian

Authored Publications/Reports

Imola Nagy-Seres (2017) 'The Post-Millennial British Novel', Review of The 2000s: A Decade of Contemporary British Fiction, Ed. Nick Bentley et al., HJEAS

Imola Nagy-Seres (March 2017) "Virginia Woolf and Ballet", The Virginia Woolf Blog

Imola Nagy-Seres (July 2017) "Fragmentary Notes on Hat-Making and Teaching Modernism", University of Exeter, Doctoral College Blog