Prof Steve Connor, Peterhouse



Biographical Information

I am currently Chair of the Faculty of English. Before moving in 2012 to the Faculty of English in Cambridge, I taught at Birkbeck College London,  where I was Professor of Modern Literature and Theory from 1994. From 2003 to 2012, I was Academic Director of the London Consortium Graduate Programme in Humanities and Cultural Studies, a collaboration between academic and cultural institutions in the capital that fostered and supported students in projects of cross-disciplinary enquiry.

Research Interests

My research interests are focussed in the literature and culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, though many of my projects have a longer historical contour. I still write regularly on Dickens and Beckett, and my areas of interest include magical thinking; the history of medicine; the cultural life of objects and the material imagination; the relations between culture and science; the philosophy of animals; literature and mathematics; literature and technology; and the history of sound, voice and auditory media. I have also written extensively on contemporary art for Cabinet, Tate Etc, Modern Painters and others, and broadcast regularly for radio. My next book, Dream Machines, which I am writing for Open Humanities Press, will be about the history of imaginary machines and mechanisms.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and its contexts; Dickens, Joyce, Beckett; literary and cultural theory; visual culture; literature, culture and science

Selected Publications

These are my principal publications since 2010. The links given are mostly to the versions on my website,, which provides a full list of publications, along with the texts of unpublished essays, broadcasts and lectures.


The Matter of Air: Science and Art of the Ethereal (London: Reaktion, 2010) 

Paraphernalia: The Curious Lives of Magical Things (London: Profile, 2011) 

A Philosophy of Sport (London: Reaktion, 2011) 

Beyond Words: Sobs, Hums, Stutters and Other Vocalizarions (London: Reaktion 2014)

Beckett, Modernism and the Material Imagination (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)


(ed)  Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable (London: Faber, 2010)


'Thinking Things', Textual Practice, 24 (2010): 1-20.

'Beckett and the Loutishness of Learning', in Samuel Beckett: Debts and Legacies, ed. Erik Tonning, Matthew Feldman, Matthijs Engelberts and Dirk van Hulle (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2010), pp. 255-73 .

'Auscultations', Sound Effects, 1 (2011), 5-18.

'A Philosophy of Fidgets', in Touched, ed. Paul Domela (Liverpool: Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, 2011), pp. 30-7.

‘Doing Without Art’, New Literary History, 42 (2011): 53-69

 'Rage, Rage Against the Dying of Delight', in Crrritic! Sighs, Cries, Lies, Insults, Outbursts, Hoaxes, Disasters, Letters of Resignation, and Various Other Noises Off in These the First and Last Days of Literary Criticism ... Not to Mention the University, ed. John Schad and Oliver Tearle (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2011), pp. 63-78.

'Chiasmus', Studies in Musical Theatre, 6 (2012): 8-27

 '-sistence', in Nina Canell, Into The Eyes As Ends of Hair (London: Cubitt Gallery, 2012), pp. 5-16.

'De Profundis Clamavi', in Mikhail Karikis and Uriel Orlow, Sounds From Beneath (Brussels: Sub Rosa, 2012), pp. 20-23.

'Mutatis Mutandis', in Annie Cattrell (Inverness: Timepsan and Inverness Museum and Gallery, 2012), pp. 31-41.

'Accidence', in (.) Imogen Stidworthy (London: Matt's Gallery/Maastricht: Jan van Eyck Academie, 2012), pp. 63-79.

'Soft Machines: Looking Through X-rays', in The Moderns: Wie sich das 20. Jahrhundert in Kunst und Wissenschaft erfunden hat, ed. Cathrin Pichler and Susanne Neuburger (New York and Vienna: Springer, 2012), pp. 207-18.

‘Sounding Out Film’, in The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics, ed. John Richardson, Claudia Gorbman and Carol Vernallis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 107-20.

‘Exhaust: On Aerial Rejectamenta’, in Aesthetic Fatigue: Modernity and the Language of Waste, ed. John Scanlan and John F.M. Clark (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), pp. 71-80.

'Rustications: Animals in the Urban Mix', in The Acoustic City, ed. Matthew Gandy and B.J. Nilsen (Berlin: Jovis, 2014), pp. 16-22.

‘Spellings Things Out’, New Literary History, 45 (2014): 183-97.

'Scilicet: Kittler, Media and Madness', in Kittler Now: Critical Perspectives in Kittler Studies, ed. Stephen Sale and Laura Salisbury (Cambridge and Malden MA: Polity, 2015), pp. 115-31.

'Guys and Dolls'Women: A Cultural Review, 26 (2015): 129-41.

‘Literature, Technology and the Senses’, in The Cambridge Companion to the Body in Literature, ed. David Hillman and Ulrika Maude (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 177-96.

‘Choralities’, Twentieth-Century Music, 13 (2016): 3-23.

'Vocus Pocus', in This Is A Voice: 64 Exercises to Train, Project and Harness the Power of Your Voice,  ed. Jeremy Fisher and Gillyanne Kayes (London: Profile, 2016), pp. 6-16.


Living By Numbers: In Defence of Quantity (London: Reaktion, 2016).

‘Modernism After Postmodernism’, The Cambridge History of Modernism, ed Vincent Sherry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

‘How To Do Things With Writing Machines’, Modernist Technographies, ed. Sean Pryor and David Trotter (Sydney: Open Humanities Press, 2016).

‘The Chronopher’, Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies, ed. Kathy Meizel and Nina Sun Eidsheim (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

'Decomposing the Humanities', New Literary History 47 (2016).

'Numbers It Is: The Musemathematics of Modernism', in Moving Modernisms: Motion, Technology, and Modernity, ed. David Bradshaw, Laura Marcus and Rebecca Roach (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 98-109.

'Two-step, Nerve-tap, Tanglefoot: Tapdance Typologies in Cinema', in Sounding Modernism: Rhythm and Sonic Mediation in Modern Literature and Film, ed. Julian Murphet, Helen Groth and Penelope Hone (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017)