I am an AHRC funded PhD candidate co-supervised at the universities of Bristol and Exeter. My thesis looks at the modernist fascination with insects during and after the First World War. It argues that modernist writers (Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis, and Samuel Beckett) became fascinated with popular entomology for two reasons: firstly, insects provided a reflection of the degraded conditions of human life during and after WW1 - the increasingly mechanised status of daily life, the dissolution of the self into the swarms of mass culture, and secondly, these life forms also offered creative strategies by which to survive these conditions, such as camouflage, body armour, mimicry of terrification (i.e. imitating predators), and cocooning.
As well as examining the modernist interest in the survival strategies of insects, my project also examines the broader cultural fascination with insect life in the early decades of the twentieth century. During this time, there was a surge in the public appetite for books about insects, and these life forms also began to feature on the radio and on the cinema screen in the 1920s, granting audiences access to their unique physiology and behaviours for the first time.
I have a BA in English Literature from the University of Cambridge, and an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature from the University of Sussex.