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The University of Southampton
Humanities Graduate School

Harry Warwick

My studies at the University of Southampton began in 2010 when I joined its undergraduate English programme. Over the next three years I became interested in the relationship between literature and critical theory, which culminated in a dissertation on psychoanalysis and the detective novel.

Harry Warwick

I was awarded the Sue Wilson and Richard Newitt bursaries at the end of my undergraduate degree to fund an MA in Literary Studies, still at Southampton. The extra year allowed me to focus on my interests in critical theory, especially Marxist approaches to culture: in the first semester, for instance, I completed an individually negotiated topic on the aesthetic theories of Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno, and Walter Benjamin. These studies laid the groundwork for my master’s dissertation on Marxist hermeneutics and literature-to-film adaptation. I begin my doctoral research in the English department in September 2014.
 
 
Research:
The point of departure for my research is Fredric Jameson’s definition of ideology as a logical bind or antinomy and not, as it is sometimes thought, a vaguely defined set of beliefs or a 'worldview'. This is an important intervention in cultural studies because it refocuses artworks as imaginary resolutions to these real contradictions: it posits them as attempts to release ourselves from the limits of our own thinking by generating hypothetical situations in which those limits appear to be overcome. But the shackles of ideology are not so easily broken, and an imaginary resolution is imaginary precisely because it is impossible, hence not a resolution at all. My doctoral research takes over from Jameson here. I am interested in the effect of this argument on the field of adaptation studies, and especially its implications for the ideological function of adaptations, which produce new resolutions to old contradictions but fail somehow to escape the original logical bind. This line of reasoning suggests that adaptation theory is not the place for moralistic judgements about ‘fidelity’, about this or that omission or addition. I am keen to propose that adaptation theory might instead find its fulfilment in the properly Marxist task of ideological critique.

Key facts

Harry is supervised by Dr Michael Hammond and Prof Linda Ruth Williams.

Email Harry here.

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