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John Scholar


Student Engagement Officer (Department of English Literature).

Areas of interest

My research bridges Victorian and modern literature, looking at how intellectual history can help us understand the changing form of the novel. I am currently finishing my first book Henry James and the Art of the Impression which places fiction and non-fiction of Henry James in dialogue with an interdisciplinary history of the 'impression', drawing in philosophy, psychology, the visual arts, and modern critical theory.

My interest in the relationship between literature and philosophy has also prompted work exploring how continental philosophy (Heidegger, Bergson) can historicize modernist form in James Joyce's Ulysses, especially its representation of the material world and the 'stream of consciousness'. I am also interested more broadly in the fin-de-siècle, modernism, and narrative theory.


I teach 'Poetry in English' (EN1PE), 'Genre and Context' (EN1GC), 'Restoration to Revolution: 1660-1789' (EN2RER), and 'Decadence and Degeneration: Literature of the 1880s and 1890s' (EN3DD).

I convene a Year 3 module called 'Modern "isms": From Realism to Modernism' (EN3ISM).


I have studied at the University of Oxford (BA, D.Phil.), the London School of Economics (MSc), and Birkbeck College (MA). Before coming to Reading, I was a Research Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford, and a Lecturer at New College, Oxford. Before my academic career, I worked as an economist in HM Treasury.

Selected publications

  • Henry James and the Art of the Impression (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)
  • 'Joyce, Heidegger, and the Material World of Ulysses: "Ithaca" as Inventory' (James Joyce Quarterly, 54.1-2)