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Alice Kelly

Women in the Humanities Postdoctoral Research Fellow
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My interdisciplinary research interests are in British and American twentieth-century literature; war cultures and commemoration, particularly the First World War; and the history of death. I have a BA in English from the University of Sussex (with a year abroad at Reed College, Portland, Oregon), a MSt in English and American Studies from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in English from the University of Cambridge. I was previously based at Yale University on a Fox International Fellowship and later as a Lecturer in English, and as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Modern British History at Wesleyan University. I have been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Women in the Humanities Programme at TORCH since October 2015.

My research to date has focused on rethinking modernism from the perspective of war commemoration. My current book project examines literary and visual representations of death and the culture of war commemoration that underlies British and American modernism in the wartime and immediate postwar period. This project seeks to reassess the significance of the Great War for modernist culture, increasing our understanding of the development of literary modernism and the cultural history of death. By restoring neglected and previously unknown First World War documents through archival research and considering lesser-considered genres (letters, scrapbooks, reportage), my publications for both scholarly and public readerships seek to further nuance our understanding of the effects of the war on modernist language and form. My critical edition of Edith Wharton’s First World War reportage, Fighting France (1915), was published by Edinburgh University Press (and Oxford University Press in the US) in late 2015, and I organised a roundtable discussion on ‘Wharton in Wartime’ in February 2016 (podcast available here). My TLS article on ‘The Field of Honour’, an unknown war story by Edith Wharton that I discovered in the Beinecke Library at Yale, generated international media coverage in the Oxford Arts Blog, The New Criterion, The Atlantic, New York Times, Yale News, Jezebel, The Smithsonian's Smart News, Mental Floss, Livres Hebdo, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, Bustle, BookRiot, Libertad Digital, and MPR News. It was translated into multiple languages and the story has been adopted on college syllabi in the US and the UK. I have previously published on Katherine Mansfield’s war writings and deathbed scenes in First World War nurses’ narratives.

As well as my academic role, I have established and lead the twice-weekly Academic Writing Group for DPhil students and Early Career Researchers. I am involved with the War, Literature, Culture research cluster in the Faculty of English and the Globalising and Localising the Great War network in the Faculty of History, and I am on the advisory board of the next International Society for First World War Studies conference. I am on and Twitter.