Lisa Feklistova, Newnham

Degree: PhD
Course: 1830-PD
Supervisor: Dr Rod Mengham
Dissertation Title:

'Going through the Motions' - Portrayals of Mobility in the Modern Short Story


Biographical Information

I read English Literature and Film & Television Studies at Glasgow University, graduating in 2016 with a dissertation on gendered anxieties in late-Victorian Gothic tales. I went on to obtain an MSc in Literature and Modernity from Edinburgh University in 2017, where my dissertation focused on literary and cinematic portrayals of the metropolis against the backdrop of utopian city planning discourses at the turn of the twentieth century. My doctoral project examines the formal evolution of the short story between the 1880s and the 1930s in a Pan-European context. 

 

Research Interests

My doctoral dissertation expands on Edgar Allan Poe's assertion that the formal ‘design’ of a short story ought to resemble ‘a building so dependently constructed that to change the position of a single brick is to overthrow the entire fabric’ of the text. Poe’s architectural metaphors are frequently dismissed on the grounds that short stories do not convey a single, unbroken impression to the reader, but build their effects over time, meaning their plot structures cannot be productively compared to structures such as buildings, which exist in physical space. 

I contend that analogies between architectural and formal designs must be amended, not abandoned, in order to explain the breakdown of structural cohesion associated with the advent of the modern short story. Short story structures are in many ways akin to buildings, with the author acting as both architect and tour-guide, plotting a path for readers to follow as they make progress through the text. Just as the interior lay-out of a house is not apprehended in its entirety the moment a visitor steps through the front door, but is perceived in the process of moving from room to room, so too does the plot structure of a short story emerge gradually, as the reader advances through successive passages in the process of reading. On the way, the reader encounter inhabitants, fictional characters whose trajectories through the story stand in relation to the route which the author has plotted for the reader. By examining this relationship between the reader's progress through the text and the movements of the characters, I aim to identify the main types of short story structures which emerged at the turn of the twentieth century, in a cultural climate rife with anxieties about the disruption of tranquil home life, as new technologies facilitated individual mobility. 

 

Areas of Supervision

I would be delighted to hear from students working on any of the following topics:

Short stories, Victorian Gothic literature, modern and contemporary horror fiction, cities of literature, modernism and techonology, writing by 'New Women', literature of the First World War and the Interwar years, literature and disability, Jean Rhys, Joseph Conrad, Katherine Mansfield, Franz Kafka. 

I am also highly interested in hearing from students working on film studies topics such as:

Contemporary television drama, film and television reception (both popular and critical), German expressionist cinema, cinematic portrayals of the city, surrealist film, Film Festivals, female directors, David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Haneke, Yuri Norstein.

Please get in touch with me by emailing: ef400@cam.ac.uk

Selected Publications

Feklistova, Elizaveta. 'Phenomenology.' Black Middens - New Writing Scotland 31, edited by Carl MacDougall and Zoë Strachan, Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2013.