Dr James Riley, Girton




Biographical Information

James Riley is Fellow and College Lecturer in English at Girton College. James is currently working on two book projects: Playback Hex, a study of William Burroughs and tape technology and Road Movies, a psychogeographic study of cult film. He is also co-directing The Alchemical Landscape, a research and public engagement project looking at notions of magic and geography. 

Between 2010 and 2013 James developed and directed an editorial project linked to the archives of the film-maker and novelist Peter Whitehead. This international collaborative project yielded a series of publications with Wayne State University Press and Adam Matthew Digital. 

James blogs at Residual Noise and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 

Research Interests

British and American literature; literary and critical theory; Beat writers, especially Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Alexander Trocchi; literature and technology; recording, noise, cybernetics; counterculture and the 1960s; postmodernism, posthumanism and related writers, particularly J.G. Ballard; experimental cinema; terrorism; Forteana.

Selected Publications

Edited Collections

  • Terrorism Considered as One of the Fine Arts: A Dossier (Nohzone, 2015)
  • Selections from the Nohzone Archive: 1964-1969 part of Rock n Roll, Counterculture, Peace and Protest: Popular Culture in Great Britain and America, 1950-1975 gen ed. Bill Schurk (Adam Matthew Digital, 2012) 
  • Framework 52. Things Fall Apart: Peter Whitehead Issue [2 vols.] (Wayne State University Press, 2012)

Book Chapters

  • "The Spiderhood: Psychedelic Literature, Literary Psychedelia and the Writing of LSD" in Flower/Power: British Literature in Transition, volume 2, 1960-1980 ed. Kate McLoughlin (Cambridge University Press, 2017) [forthcoming].
  • "Playback Hex: William Burroughs and the Magical Objectivity of the Tape Recorder" in Strange Dimensions: A Paranthropology Anthology ed. Jack Hunter (Psychoid, 2015)
  • "Dracula and Phonography", in Telegraph for Garlic ed. Samia Ounoughi, (Red Rattle, 2013)
  • "'Have you no reverence, no respect?': Narrative and Critical Subversion in Herk Harvey's Carnival of Souls (1962)", Crash Cinema: Issues of Representation in Film, ed. Mark Goodall, Jill Good and Will Godfrey, (CSP, 2007)


  • "Notes on the Modernist Ghost Story", Wormwood 25 (2015)
  • "Auguries of Discord: Protest, Activism and the Swarm", Performance Research 19.5 (2014)
  • "M.R. James, Night of the Demon and Projection", One+One 13 (2014)
  • "Cult Films for Cult Religions: Craig Baldwin and Mock-Up on Mu (2010)", One+One 13 (2014)
  • "White Walls and Empty Rooms: A Brief History of the Fleapit", One+One 12 (2014)
  • "The Technology of Myth: Peter Whitehead as Novelist", in Framework 52.2 (2012)
  • "The Other Side of Madness: Charles Manson, 1969 and the Continuation of a Cult", Transgressive Culture 2.1 (2012)
  • "Peter Whitehead and Terrorism", One+One 1.3 (2010)
  • "Archive Fever: Craig Baldwin", Vertigo 3.7 (2007)
  • "Illuminating the Images: Notes on Paul Cronin’s Conversations with Peter Whitehead", Vertigo 3.5. (2007)
  • "David Goodis, Dashiell Hammet and the Lack of Transcendence", Crimeculture (2004).

Review Essays 

  • "Science Fiction: A Guide for the Perplexed", The Cambridge Quarterly 43.4 (2014)
  • "Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture", Studies in Theatre and Performance 34.2 (2014)
  • "David Peace: His Dark Materials" The Cambridge Quarterly 41.2 (2012)
  • "Sherb: New Urban Writing from Coventry", Avocado, 2.8 (2008) 

Interviews and Journalism

  • "Steve Quenell", Monolith. (2013)
  • "Richard Gordon", Scary Monsters 66 (2008)
  • "Jenny Fabian", Redeye 1.1 (2006)
  • Numerous features, reviews and articles for Burnout, ERB, Film and Video Maker, Milk, Naked, Repeat, Sound Projector and others