Conrad Steel, King's

Degree: PhD
Course: 1830-PD
Supervisor: Dr Deborah Bowman
Dissertation Title:

Fantasies of reception from Apollinaire to Notley


Biographical Information

I graduated in English from Cambridge in 2011, then gained four years of work experience (in the public sector, then at a charity) before continuing full-time education. I did my MA in French literature and culture at King's College London in 2015-16, writing my dissertation on the novelist Georges Perec and the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, and returned to Cambridge to begin a PhD in 2016.

Research Interests

My research focusses on connections between strangers (especially writers); social imaginaries; and ideas to do with reception. I work on poetry from Britain, North America and France, and one of the aims of my research is to contribute to the dialogue between poetic cultures in English and French. Another is to think about the role of poetry in forming or passing on a worldview. My thesis considers a network of writers who are connected, but only just: Guillaume Apollinaire in France; F.S. Flint in Britain; the friendship of Allen Ginsberg and Frank O'Hara, and Alice Notley (whom my project started from) in the US.

I am also interested in:

  • contemporary visual art: I have reviewed for publications including the Burlington Magazine.
  • why late eighteenth-century French (and to a lesser extent British) poetry is so unpopular.
  • why we study literature, and what English departments should look like in future.

Areas of Supervision

Part I: practical criticism; 1830-1945; 1870-the present.

Part II: practical criticism; Tragedy; Lyric; Modernism and the Short Story; Contemporary; American; Literature and Visual Culture.

I am happy to discuss dissertations on any area of twentieth-century or contemporary poetry; relations between English and French literature; or literature and sociology.

Selected Publications