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Dr Rachel Murray


Department: Humanities

I joined Northumbria as a Lecturer in September 2022. Prior to this, I was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. From 2018-2020, I was a Doctoral Prize Fellow in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Loughborough University. I have taught at the Universities of Sheffield, Loughborough, and Bristol.

I completed my AHRC-funded PhD on insects in modernist literature at the University of Bristol in 2018. I have an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Culture and Thought from the University of Sussex, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Cambridge.

My research specialises in modernist literature, animal studies, and the environment. My first book, The Modernist Exoskeleton: Insects, War, Literary Form (Edinburgh University Press, 2020) argued for the importance of insects to modernism’s formal innovations.  Focusing on the writing of Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence, H.D. and Samuel Beckett, it uncovered a shared fascination with the aesthetic possibilities of the insect body – its adaptive powers, distinct stages of growth and swarming formations. Reviews of the book are available here and here. My research was also the subject of a BBC Radio 4 documentary entitled 'Lady Chatterley's Bed Bugs,' which you can listen to here.

I am currently working on a book project entitled Marine Attachments, which examines aesthetic and affective responses to marine life in modern and contemporary poetry. You can read more about this research here and here.

At Northumbria, I teach the following modules:

  • Writing and Environment (third year, option)
  • Reading Poetry (first year, core)
  • Introduction to Literary Studies (first year, core)
  • Talking Texts (first year, core)
  • Dissertation (final year, core)

I am the Early Career Member of the British Society for Literature and Science.


Rachel Murray

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Colds and Carbuncles: Peter Fifield, Modernism and Physical Illness: Sick Books, Oxford University Press, 2020, 272 pp., £80 hardback, 9780198825425, Murray, R. 18 Oct 2022, In: Women: A Cultural Review
  • Reading Modernism in the Sixth Extinction, Hovanec, C., Murray, R. 7 Oct 2022, In: Modernism/Modernity
  • Things that Cling: Marine Attachments in Eliot, Murray, R. 23 Jul 2022, In: Journal of Modern Literature
  • The Modernist Exoskeleton: Insects, War, Literary Form, Murray, R. 1 Apr 2020
  • Review of Caroline Hovanec, Animal Subjects: Literature, Zoology and British Modernism, Murray, R. 1 Sep 2019, In: Modernism/Modernity
  • Beelines: Joyce's Apian Aesthetics, Murray, R. 17 Jun 2017, In: Humanities
  • "Delightfully dense": The Art of Stupidity in Late James, Murray, R. 1 Jan 2016, In: Henry James Review

English Literature PhD March 20 2018

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