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The University of Southampton
EnglishPart of HumanitiesPostgraduate study

Ms Lian Patston BA, MA

Postgraduate Research Student

Ms Lian Patston's photo

I completed my BA in English Literature at the University of Southampton (2012), completing my undergraduate dissertation on the cultural fascination with the notorious, and problematic, narrator of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. This was closely followed with an MA at Southampton in 20th and 21st Century Literature at Southampton that culminated in a dissertation exploring the themes of obscenity and the body in Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. Following an exciting spell working in the automotive industry, I returned to Southampton in 2016 to pursue a PhD focussing on the figure of the stranger and digitalisation in contemporary fiction.

Research interests

My research examines how the novel form interrogates the problematic and changing notion of the stranger in an age of increasing digitalisation. My interest in this topic arises from the notion of the stranger as the ‘unknown’. Whilst prevalent throughout literary and cultural history, I argue that the figure of the stranger is increasingly at odds with what we know about others within a digital age.

I explore a range of contemporary fiction including Chris Kraus, Dana Spiotta, Chloe Aridjis, Jennifer Egan, William Gibson and Gary Schteyngart. In my research, I look to understand how digitalisation within fiction enables an understanding of how we might ethically claim to ‘know’, and know who the stranger is. These novels provide an archive to examine how forms of relation, such as Donna Haraway’s notion of affinity, can illuminate new meaning on the constitution of subjects and strangers. I am particularly interested in how these constitutions influence the interactions between the self and others and how affinity, and other forms of relation, can be regarded in the 21st century.

In Semester 1 2017-18, I am teaching on the second year module Children’s Literature.

Ms Lian Patston
Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

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