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Conor Carville

  • Associate Professor in English and Creative Writing
  • Co-Director of Reading University's Samuel Beckett Centre
  • Programme Director of our BA.

Areas of interest

At Reading I teach or contribute to modules on Poetry, and on Modernism. I also teach several modules on our Creative Writing joint degree.

My research focuses on Irish writing since 1800, particularly the work of Samuel Beckett. I am also interested in contemporary poetry, poetics and philosophical aesthetics. Recently I have been working at the intersection of literature and art history. My forthcoming On Ghost Trio: Beckett's Visual Aesthetics, to be published by Cambridge University Press, builds on my 2019 book Samuel Beckett and the Visual Arts, also from Cambridge. My first book, The Ends of Ireland, Criticism, History, Subjectivity (Manchester University Press, 2012) critically examined a range of theoretical approaches to Irish literature and culture. The subjects of my many essays include W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney and Medbh McGuckian.

I have published two collections of poetry: Harms' Way (Dedalus, 2013) and English Martyrs (Two Rivers Press, 2018). You can read an interview with me here

In 2017 I received a British Academy Grant for my project Room to Rhyme, Poetry, Crisis and Arts Policy in Northern Ireland, 1968-1978. This resulted in two workshops, a conference and poetry reading, as well as two essays drawing on work in the Seamus Heaney Archives at Emory and the National Library of Ireland. You can see the project website here:

Postgraduate supervision

Current Ph.D students work on Beckett, on Yeats, and on Creative Writing (Fiction). I have previously supervised successful projects on Northern Irish poetry, contemporary Irish Fiction, Finnegans Wake and Creative Writing (Poetry), and am always open to new proposals.

Selected publications


English Martyrs (Two Rivers Press, 2019)

Samuel Beckett and the Visual (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Harm's Way (Dedalus Press, 2013)

The Ends of Ireland: Criticism, History, Subjectivity (Manchester University Press, 2012).

Edited Books

Co-Editor, with Mark Nixon, of "'Beginning of the Murmur': Archival Texts and Pre-Texts", Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd'hui, Vol. 27 (Leiden, Brill, 2015). (50 percent)

Co-editor, with Marilyn Butler, of Vols. XI & XII of The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth, 'Patronage' (Pickering and Chatto, 1999).

Journal Articles

'Magee's Beckett/Beckett's Magee: Performance Style and Late Modernism'. Theatre Research International. (8000 words)

'Yeats in Belfast: Poetry, Late Modernism and Crisis, 1971-1973', The Irish Review, Spring 2020. (8000 words).

Room to Rhyme: Poetry, Arts Policy and Cultural Tradition in Northern Ireland 1968-1971', Review of English Studies, December 2019. (8000 words)

'Konvolut for Axon', Axon: Creative Explorations, Summer 2019. (4000 words)

'Murphy's Thanatopolitics' in The Irish Review, Winter 2016. (8000 words)

"'Petrified in Radiance": Beckett, Dutch Painting and the Art of Absorption' in Conor Carville and Mark Nixon, "'Beginning of the Murmur': Archival Texts and Pre-Texts", Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd'hui, (Brill, 2015) (8000 words)

'Heaney and the Neighbour: Poetry between Politics and Ethics', Textual Practice 28 (4), 2014. (8000 words)

'Autonomy and the Everyday: Beckett, Late Modernism and Contemporary Visual Art', Samuel Beckett Today/ Aujourd'hui, Nov. 2011. (8000 words)

'Modernism, Nationalism and Postcolonialism: Four Figures from "The Dead"', The Journal of Irish Studies, December 2008. (8000 words)

'Spectral Ethnicity: Writing Race in Victorian Ireland', Irish Review, December 2007. (8000 words)

'Ne pas Céder sur son Désir: Symptom and Fantasy in Seamus Deane's Reading in the Dark', Irish Studies Review, Nov. 2007. (8000 words)

'Daniel Corkery and the Expatriated Nation', Irish Studies Review, Vol. 6, no. 2, 1998. (8000 words)

Essays in Books

'Reading 'The Statues' in 2020: Yeats, A Vision and Fascist Aesthetics' in A Festschrift for W J. McCormack (Library of the Hungarian Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2021).

'Modernism and the Visual Arts: Kant, Bergson, Beckett' in The Bloomsbury Companion to Modernist Literature, ed. Ulrika Maude and Mark Nixon (Bloomsbury, 2018) (8000 words)

'Smiling Tigers: Trauma, Sexuality and Creaturely Life in Beckett's Early Poems', Tajiri, Yoshiki ed. Beckett and Trauma (Manchester University Press, 2018). (8000 words)

'Late and Belated Modernism: Duchamp, Stein, Feininger, Beckett' in Samuel Beckett and Modernism ed. Pim Verhulst (Palgrave, 2018). (8000 words)

'Beckett Beyond the Avant-Garde: The Case of "Casket of Pralinen for a Daughter of a Dissipated Mandarin"' in On In Their Company: Essays on Beckett, with Tributes and Sketches; Presented to Jim Knowlson on his 80th Birthday; ed. Mark Nixon and John Pilling (Reading: Beckett International Foundation, 2015). (8000 words)

'The Degree of Power Exercised': Recent Ekphrasis' in Peter Robinson (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (Oxford, 2013). (8000 words)

Warding off an Epitaph: 'Had I a Thousand Lives' in Alcobia-Murphy and Kirkland (eds.) The Poetry of MedbhMcGuckian: The Interior of Words (Cork University Press, 2010). (8000 words)

'Keeping that Wound Green': Irish Studies and Traumaculture', in S. Murphy (ed.), What Rough Beasts?: Irish and Scottish Studies in the New Millennium, Cambridge Scholars Press (2008). (8000 words)


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