Dr Joshua Powell
I came to Cardiff in 2017, having completed a PhD in English at the University of Exeter. My research focuses on the relationship between nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, and psychology. Much of my work has focused on the writing of Samuel Beckett and I published a monograph on Beckett's relationship with experimental psychology in January 2020 as part of Bloomsbury's Historicizing Modernism series. Other authors that I work on include Mary Augusta Ward, George Moore, Gertrude Stein, Ann Quin and Philip Roth.
My current research looks at experiences of depersonalisation, understood as experiences of unreality and detachment from one’s ‘mind’, ‘self’, ‘body’, or ‘surroundings’. I'm interested in how these experiences have been discussed in literary writing and psychiatry from the midde of the nineteenth century to the present.
At Cardiff I currently teach on the relationship between literature and science, the history of gothic literature, and modernist fiction.
I completed my undergraduate and MA degrees at the University of Reading, before moving to the University of Exeter to begin my Phd in 2015. I completed my PhD in two years of study and began teaching at Cardiff in 2017.
I have taught on a wide range of modules at Cardiff, including:
Gothic Fiction: The Romantic Age
Gothic Fiction: The Victorians
Literature and Science
Ways of Reading
I also act as Assessment and Feedback lead for ENCAP, and am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
My research focuses on the intersection between literary writing and psychology. In particular, I have considered the relationship between Samuel Beckett’s literary experiments and the disciplines of experimental psychology and psychotherapy. I worked to share this research through a series of publications that culminated in a monograph (published by Bloomsbury in January 2020): https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/samuel-beckett-and-experimental-psychology-9781350091726/).
Reviews now emerging of the monograph have spoken of ‘fascinating insights… convincing… ambitious interpretations (Journal of Beckett Studies) and a ‘convincing argument, supported by rich analysis’, ‘great on the cognitive textures of Beckett’s writing’ (Journal of French Studies).
I have recently moved away from Beckett to publish articles on writers such as Philip Roth and Ann Quin, but the core aim of my research remains that of detailing how scientific, therapeutic and aesthetic methodologies can inform one another.
Looking ahead, my current research looks at experiences of depersonalisation, understood as experiences of unreality and detachment from one’s ‘mind’, ‘self’, ‘body’, or ‘surroundings’. I'm interested in how these experiences have been discussed in literary writing and psychiatry from the midde of the nineteenth century to the present.
I'm also working on a project that considers the writing of Philip Roth in relation to mid-twentieth-century American social science.
I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:
- Samuel Beckett studies
- Modernist Literature
- Literature and Psychology
- Philip Roth studies
- Gothic literature