Vidya Venkatesh, King's

Degree: PhD
Course: CC
Supervisor: Dr Helen Thaventhiran
Dissertation Title:

Talking, Feeling: Affect, Articulation, and Avoidance in Proust, James, and Larsen.


Biographical Information

From 2013-2017, I read for a B.A. (First Class Honors) in Philosophy at Williams College, Massachusetts. The following year I was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to complete an M.A. in Philosophy at University College Dublin, where I received the Professor Magennis Memorial Prize for coming first in the program. In 2019 I completed an MPhil in English at Cambridge, in which I wrote my thesis on weak affectivity in the later works of Ludwig Wittgenstein. I am now entering the third year of my PhD, which is funded by a Dr. Herchel Smith Fellowship.

Research Interests

My thesis considers (in)attention, affect, sociability, and reserve in the modernist novel, particularly Proust, Henry James, and Nella Larsen. Within this project and beyond, my interests include: ordinary language philosophy; taste and aesthetics; literary modernism; Eve Sedgwick; digression, distraction, and circumlocution; Deleuze; pragmatism; dandyism; the Harlem Renaissance; friendship and queer friendship; Wittgenstein; frivolity and triviality; histories of twentieth century philosophy; pedagogy; childhood; humor and surprise.

Areas of Supervision

I supervise on literary modernism, theory, and philosophy, including Practical Criticism (Part II), The Ethical Imagination, and the History and Theory of Literary Criticism. I welcome dissertation students in any of my interests.

Selected Publications

My review of Dora Zhang’s Strange Likeness: Description and the Modernist Novel is forthcoming in The Cambridge Quarterly. 

Other publications include ‘Weak Affects in Later Wittgenstein’, forthcoming in Diacritics, and ‘Material volatility: Wittgenstein’s notebooks and editorial practice’ in Textual Practice (2020).