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About me

Nigel Mapp's interests are in early modern literature, disenchantment, and philosophical aesthetics.

I started in my permanent post at Westminster in August 2010 and am currently a senior lecturer in English Literature.

I was educated at the University of Manchester (BA Hons First Class English Language and Literature) and the University of Wales, Cardiff (PhD English). I have held research posts at the University of Newcastle and the University of Leeds. More recently I was a lecturer in English Philology at the University of Tampere, Finland, and a research fellow of the Academy of Finland (2006-10).

I have delivered around 40 papers on varied literary and theoretical topics. Universities I have spoken at include: Cardiff, Cyprus, Essex, Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sunderland, Tampere, Westminster and West of England. In 2009 I was an invited plenary speaker for a conference on Paul de Man at University of California at Irvine. More recently, I have delivered papers at the University of Edinburgh, at Royal Holloway, London, and Kingston University as well as at Westminster.

Teaching

I have taught on a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate modules at Cardiff, Newcastle, Leeds, and Tampere. At Westminster, my undergraduate teaching has mainly concerned early modern topics, including a third-year option on John Milton, although I have also taught some Romantic and Theory classes and supervise level 6 dissertations on various subjects.

Currently I am teaching on the following undergraduate modules:

What is Literature?, for which I am module leader, introduces students to a range of forms and genres of literary work from the late Elizabethan to the contemporary period. The module relates specific formal issues to the political and cultural issues that its chosen works absorb, and in which they intervene. The module also considers the concept of literature as such, reflecting on the notion of the canon as well as recent challenges to or redefinitions of it. 

Writing Revolutions, for which I am module leader.

Research

I am especially interested in the Early Modern period and in critical theory and philosophical aesthetics. My research focus is genealogical, exploring Early Modern treatments of the senses and matter, of giving and exchanging, of ethics and law. I take these topics as both sources of modern reasoning and vital sites of that reason's contestation, its irrational ferments. I am interested in the question of experience's necessary embodiment and I consider the media of artworks, verbal or non-verbal, as a clue to the modern evacuation of the subject (of its social and somatic conditionality and embeddedness), and to contemporary efforts to contest it. That interest hopes to link up with research on both the cognitive purport of more modern artworks and post-Romantic aesthetic thought more generally. I was awarded a four-year research grant by the Academy of Finland (2006-10) to pursue this project on early modern "disenchantments". This work has now been further developed and I am working towards a monograph on that topic. The role of theological thought and religious practices in the period has moved to a more central position in my work, and I see in debates around grace, for instance, or iconoclasm, important disenchanting moves, from the nuanced and critical to the delusional. I have completed an essay on Andrew Marvell's discursivized nature and George Herbert's critical relation to ascetic tradition, arguing in the latter case that theological commitments are inseparable from the verse's shaping by, and refusal of, emergent economistic thought (PhiN 65: www.phin.de). I am at present finalizing an essay on Macbeth and another on the structures of Shakespeare's comedic intersubjectivity. In both cases, the aim is a reassessment of Shakespeare's scepticism. In the first case, the prominent formalist claim of Macbeth -- its insistence on its own terms -- is discussed in order to think about how and why critics have taken the play as requiring a self-consciousness about methodology, as if the play's autarchic self-consciousness must be both recruited and tamed. The goal is to examine how the play senses and adapts some of the conceptual commitments of modern criticism -- which it sees as fearful and mortifying -- and thus to assess the penalties of scepticism. An essay on Milton's heresies is also in preparation: this compares his social theoretical commitments to those of the Radical Orthodoxy movement in an effort to assess and connect the theological investments of modern secularity with early modern entanglements in "pagan" poetic culture.

My most recently completed essay is "Lyotard Art Seeing", Philosophy of Photography 4:1 (September 2013 [2014]). My publications include: William Empson: The Critical Achievement (1993) and Adorno and Literature (2006), volumes of which I was co-editor. A monograph, Paul de Man: Rhetoric, History, Aesthetics is forthcoming from Polity Press and another, Early Modern Disenchantments, is in preparation.

I am main supervisor for one doctoral researcher at present and am on the supervisory team for two others. I would welcome students needing supervision in any of the above or related topics.

Publications

For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.