Prof Steve Connor, Peterhouse



Biographical Information

I studied for a BA and DPhil in English at Wadham College, Oxford from 1973 onwards, gaining my DPhil in 1980. I became Lecturer in English at Birkbeck College, London in 1980, 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. I moved to Cambridge, where I am currently Grace 2 Professor of English, in 2012.

Research Interests

My research interests usually have their rise in the literature and culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, though most turn out to have a longer historical contour. 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; the body, sense and sexuality; literature, numbers and economics; literature and technology; and the history of sound, voice and auditory media. I have also written on contemporary art for Cabinet, Tate Etc, Modern Painters and others, and broadcast regularly for radio. Dream Machines, a book about the history of imaginary machines and mechanisms, will appear in June 2017 in the Technographies series I coedit with for Open Humanities Press. I am currently thinking about magical thinking and the madness of knowledge, for a book to be called, perhaps, In the Know.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

Nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature and its contexts; literary and cultural theory; modern art; visual and material culture; literature and economics; medical humanities; animal studies; voice and sound studies; the body and senses; culture, science and technology.

Selected Publications

These are my publications since 2014. 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given are mostly to the versions on my website,, which provides a full list of publications, along with the texts of unpublished essays, broadcasts and lectures.


Beyond Words: Sobs, Hums, Stutters and Other Vocalizations (London: Reaktion/Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014)

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

Living By Numbers: In Defence of Quantity (London: Reaktion/Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016)


'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

‘ “Was That a Point?” Beckett’s Punctuation’, in The Edinburgh Companion to Beckett and the Arts, ed. S.E. Gontarski (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014), pp. 269-81

'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

'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

'The Game of Work: Ai Weiwei and Wittgenstein', Ai Wewei: Cubes and Trees (Cambridge: Heong Gallery, Downing College, 2016), pp. 23-7

'Decomposing the Humanities', New Literary History, 47 (2016): 275-88

‘How To Do Things With Writing Machines’, Writing, Medium, Machine: Modernist Technographies, ed. Sean Pryor and David Trotter (London: Open Humanities Press, 2016), pp. 18-34

'The Return of Finitude', Textual Practice, 30 (2016), 1165-6

‘Modernism After Postmodernism’, The Cambridge History of Modernism, ed Vincent Sherry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 820-34

'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), pp. 211-27


‘The Chronopher’, Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies, ed. Kathy Meizel and Nina Sun Eidsheim (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)

‘Imaginary Energies: The Arts of Perpetuity’, in Energy in the Arts, ed. Douglas Kahn (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2017)

Dream Machines (London: Open Humanities Press, 2017)