Dr Lisa Mullen, Queens'



Biographical Information

I teach Modern and Contemporary Literature and Film as a Senior Teaching Associate of the English Faculty, and as a Fellow at Fitzwilliam College. I am also an academic associate at Cambridge Film and Screen.

I graduated in English from St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and then embarked on a career as an arts journalist before returning to academia in 2009, gaining my MA and PhD at Birkbeck, University of London. After a six-month post-doctoral fellowship at Birkbeck in Medical Humanities, I moved to back to Oxford, where I spent three years as a Junior Research Fellow at Worcester College, before coming to Cambridge to take up my current post.

My teaching and research range from modernism to the contemporary, with a particular focus on ecocriticism, cultures of health and sickness, and the affordances of interdisciplinary approaches to critique. I teach the MPhil seminar 'Green Ink: Landscape, Literature and Ecocriticism', and  supervise a range of postgraduate work on literature, film, and visual culture.

For the English Tripos, I teach the following papers: Part IB: Paper 7B (English Literature and its Contexts, 1870 to the present); Parts IB & II: Paper 1 (Practical Criticism and Critical Practice); Part II Paper 2 (Tragedy), Paper 12 (Contemporary Writing), Paper 11 (Prose Forms 1936-1956), Paper 16 (History and Theory of Literary Criticism),  and Paper 18 (Literature and Visual Culture). 

I am also a regular presenter for BBC R3's flagship arts and ideas programme, Free Thinking, and have written and presented several radio features.


Research Interests

My first monograph, Mid-Century Gothic: The Uncanny Objects of Modernity in British Literature and Culture after the Second World War, traces the uncanny agency and unsettling intimacy of powerful objects in key texts by Sam Selvon, Iris Murdoch, George Orwell, Rose Macaulay, Alan Turing, and Elizabeth Bowen, and films by Powell and Pressburger, the Boulting Brothers, Michael Anderson, and the Free Cinema movement. The book examines cultural responses to bombsites, gentrification, immigration, radioactivity, synthethics, and machine intelligence.

My second book, Orwell Unwell: Pathology and Contamination in the Fiction and Journalism of George Orwell deploys insights and methodologies from critical environmental and medical humanities in order to excavate new readings of Orwell’s fiction and journalism. It argues that structures of pathology and contamination informed not only Orwell’s subject matter, but his language and style, and had a profound impact on his political concerns about colonialism, socialism, and individual autonomy. 

I am currently also working on a book on ecocriticism, ecopoetics, and radical landscapes, as well as A Very Short Introduction to Ecocriticism for OUP.

Selected Publications


Lisa Mullen, Mid-Century Gothic: The Uncanny Objects of Modernity in British Literature and Culture after the Second World War (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2019).

Lisa Mullen (ed.), Oxford World Classics: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021). 

Lisa Mullen, A Very Short Introduction to Ecocriticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).


Articles and chapters

'Silence, pregnancy, and apocalypse in debbie tucker green’s second coming (2015) and ear for eye (2018/2021), Textual Practice, May 2023. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0950236X.2023.2214111

‘Orwell the stylist’, in The Oxford Handbook of George Orwell, ed. by Nathan Wadell. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023).

‘Reeling and writhing in Benjamin’s Arcades: The curious case of the girl who wasn’t there’, in Modernism in Wonderland, edited by Michelle Witen (London: Bloomsbury, 2023). In press.

‘Political animals: Aesthetic instability and the revolutionary gaze in the film adaptation of Watership Down’, in Watership Down: Perspectives on and Beyond Animated Violence, edited by Catherine Lester (London: Bloomsbury, 2023). 

‘“That’s not writing, that’s typewriting”: Machines and masculinity from Cummings to Kerouac’, in Thanks for Typing, edited by Juliana Dresvina (London: Bloomsbury, 2021).

‘Orwell’s literary context: Modernism, language and politics’, in The Cambridge Companion to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

‘“Sound, substantial flesh and blood”? The redundancy of the body in T. S. Eliot’s ‘East Coker’ (1940) and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)’, Twentieth Century Literature 66:1 (Spring 2020).

‘“The few cubic centimetres inside your skull”: A neurological reading of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four’, BMJ Medical Humanities 45 (2019), 258-266.

‘Orwell’s tattoos: Skin, guilt and magic in ‘“Shooting an Elephant” (1936)’, Humanities, 7:4 (2018), 124.

‘And who is not amused?’ Review of The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh (OUP). Essays in Criticism, 68:4 (1 October 2018), 16-23.

‘The architecture of visibility: Blitzed modernism in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four’, George Orwell Studies 1:2 (2017), 13-28.

‘“The end of all our exploring”: Poetic inscription at the 2012 London Olympics and the 1951 Festival of Britain’, in Spatial Perspectives: Literature and Architecture, edited by Terri Mulholland and Nicole Sierra (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2015).

Selected Media and journalism

Presenter: ‘Free Thinking: The Life of Objects’, BBC Radio 3, 14th December, 2023.

Presenter: 'Free Thinking: Plastic and Clay', BBC Radio 3, 9 November, 2022.

Guest: ‘In Our Time: Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four’, BBC Radio 4, 15 September 2022.

Presenter: ‘Free Thinking: The Barbican’, BBC Radio 3, March 2022.

Contributor, ‘1922: The Birth of Now’, BBC Radio 4, 24 Jan-4 Feb 2022.

Writer and presenter: ‘Sunday Feature: How to Rebuild a City’, BBC Radio 3, 26 Sept 2021.

Presenter: ‘Free Thinking: Archiving, Curating, and Digging for Data’, BBC Radio 3, 12 May 2021.

Presenter: ‘Free Thinking: Shakespeare’s Life Lessons’, BBC Radio 3, 21 April 2021.

Writer and presenter: ‘The Essay: Inez Holden’, BBC Radio 3, 19 March 2021.

Presenter: ‘Free Thinking: Eco-Criticism’, BBC Radio 3, 2 February 2021.

Writer and presenter: ‘Sloe Time’. Feature for BBC Radio 3, 4 October 2020.

Guest: 'Start the Week', BBC Radio 4, 20 January 2020.

Writer and presenter: ‘The Art of Rowing with Mary Wollstonecraft’. Feature for BBC Radio 3, 16 June 2019.

Writer and presenter: The Essay: Who (Really) Wrote Animal Farm?: BBC Radio 3, 9 April 2019.

Film reviewer and writer for the BFI’s Sight & Sound magazine, 2006-2022.