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Lecturer at School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University

Jess Cotton is Lecturer in English at Cardiff University. She works on twentieth-century American and English literature and has published on modernism, American poetry and loneliness.

I am currently completing two monographs: Memory in a Cold Climate: American Poetry, Psychoanalysis and Postwar Thought, which focuses on how American poets reimagine structures of memory that resist the dominant strains of memory-making – nostalgic, melancholic, individualist – at the heart of twentieth century thought, to present a new reading of the Cold War period and John Ashbery (Reaktion Books/University of Chicago Press, Autumn 2021), a biographical-literary study of the late poet's work.

I am currently working on two related projects: Lonely Subjects: The Cultural Transformation of Loneliness, 1945-2000, a study of the postwar history of loneliness, which looks at how psychoanalysis, feminism and poetry provide a vocabulary for loneliness's social life: as a positive and galvanising affective state that both emerges from, and is essential to combatting, states of isolation and In Their Time: The Contemporary Novel, Feminism and the Archival Turn, which looks at how the contemporary novel has made use of archival forms at the same moment that critical theory, and feminism in particular, has turned increasing to draw on fiction's imaginative archives.


  • 2020–2021
    Lecturer , Cardiff University