Claudia Cornelissen, St John's

Degree: PhD
Course: English
Supervisor: Dr Sarah Dillon
Dissertation Title:

Feminist Revisionist Literature in the Twenty-first Century

Biographical Information

I read English at St John's College, Cambridge as an undergraduate, before studying for a MSc in Gender (distinction) at the LSE. I also obtained an MA in Western Literature (summa cum laude) at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. In 2021 I returned to St John's College as a Gates Cambridge Scholar to study for the PhD in English. 

For the 2022-3 academic year, I was the faculty's PhD student rep, and I am a co-founder and convenor of the Ambivalent Archives Research Network at CRASSH.


Research Interests

My research consists of a genealogical enquiry into feminist revisionism, the genre in which authors rewrite canonical stories to centralise female voice and subjectivity. By placing revisionist literature in its cultural and feminist-theoretical context, and studying how revisionist literature has previously been conceptualised, I consider the genre’s epistemological potential and limitations, as well as the wider implications of revisionism becoming one of the most visible 'feminist' literatures of our time. 

Some of the authors I'm currently studying are Pat Barker, Ali Smith, Saidiya Hartman, Angela Carter, Fran Ross, Margaret Atwood, Augusta Webster, M. NourbeSe Philip, Maggie O'Farrell, Aphra Behn, Adrienne Rich, and Colm Tóibín.


Selected Publications

Conference papers:

'Feminist Revisionist Literature: Making it New, Again', NeMLA, March 2024

'“A new song”? The problem of novelty in feminist revisionist literature, Cambridge Classical Reception Seminar, October 2023

'Feminist Revisionist Literature and the Limits of Political Reading', Gates Cambridge Day of Research, May 2023

'The Telling of Violence, and the Violence of the Telling: The Inscription of Memory in Tan Twan Eng's The Garden of Evening Mists', ACLA Annual Meeting, June 2022 

'"If the inner life were the whole of life": E. M. Forster’s Critique of Social Philosophies in Howards End', MDRN Research Lab Seminar, KU Leuven, June 2021

'Reconsidering Canonical Silences', Faculty of Arts Graduate Research Conference, KU Leuven, December 2020

'Hearing the Subaltern in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things', Post/Coloniality and Development Workshop, LSE, December 2019


'The Telling of Violence, and the Violence of the Telling: Narrative and the Choice to Forget in Tan Twan Eng’s The Garden of Evening Mists', in Reading Violence and Trauma in Asia and the World, an edited collection to be published by Routledge in 2024