Robert Eaglestone,

Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought

Robert Eaglestone is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London.  I am Deputy Director (and was formerly Director) of the Holocaust Research Centre and I was Deputy Dean of Arts and Humanities. I work on contemporary literature and literary theory, contemporary philosophy and on Holocaust and Genocide studies.


Department of English

Royal Holloway, University of London



TW20 0EX

01784 434455




I joined the Department in 1997 having taught in literature and in philosophy departments at several UK universities.  My PhD is from the University of Wales, my MA from Southampton University and my BA from Manchester University.



Research Interests

My main interests are in the contemporary, spanning literature (mainly fiction), philosophy and history.

I am deeply interested in issues of ethics, aesthetics and the philosophy of history, and have spent some years been working through a series of questions about the legacy of the Holocaust and the Second Word War in these fields. I have worked and published on a number of modern European and British, European and American writers. I have also published extensively on Holocaust testimony, fiction, historiography and poetry.

I am strongly committed to interdisciplinary and collaborative research work and have an interest in pedagogy.

I am currently completing a manuscript on the Holocaust and genocide in contemporary literature and culture, and my volume of the Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Literary and Cultural Theory (Volume 2 1966 to Present day).


Select Publications


  • Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students third revised edition (London: Routledge, 2009)

·         The Holocaust and the Postmodern (Oxford; Oxford University Press, 2004) (paperback edition 2007).

  • Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students second revised edition (London: Routledge, 2002)

Japanese translation, 2003.

  • Postmodernism and Holocaust Denial (Cambridge: Icon Books, 2001)

Slovak translation, 2001; Turkish Translation, 2002; Japanese Translation 2004.

  • Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students (London: Routledge, 1999).
  • Ethical Criticism: Reading After Levinas (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997)


·         Co-editor, with Elleke Boehmer and Katy Iddiols J.M. Coetzee in Context and Theory (London: Continuum, 2009)

  • Co-editor, with Simon Glendinning Legacies of Derrida: Literature and Philosophy (London; Routledge, 2008)

·         Co-editor, with Barry Langford Teaching Holocaust Literature and Film (London: Palgrave, 2008)

·         Editor, Reading The Lord of the Rings (London: Continuum, 2005)


Selected Recent Book Chapters and Refereed Articles


·         ‘Philosophy of Cinders and Cinders of Philosophy’  in The Origins of Deconstruction, eds. Martin McQuilland and Ika Willis (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010), 226-243

·         ‘Reading ‘Heart of Darkness’ after the Holocaust’ in After Representation? The Holocaust, Literature, and Culture. eds. R. Clifton Spargo and Robert Ehrenreich. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010), 190-219.

·         ‘The age of reason is over…an age of fury was dawning’: Contemporary Anglo-American fiction and terror” Terror and the Postcolonial eds. Stephen Morton and Elleke Boehmer (Oxford: Blackwell, 2010), 361-369.  Reprint from Wasifiri.



·         ‘Religion, truth and the ‘New Aestheticism’ in Religion, Literature and The Imagination eds. Mark Knight and Louise Lee (London: Continuum, 2009) 37-46

·         ‘Agamben and Authenticity’, Law and Critique 20:3 (2009), 271-280

·         ‘From Mutiny to Calling upon the Author: Cave’s religion’ in Cultural Seeds: new perspectives on the work of Nick Cave eds. Karen Welberry and Tanya Dalziell (London: Ashgate, 2009), 139-152.



·         ‘“You would not add to my suffering if you knew what I have seen”: Holocaust testimony and contemporary African Trauma Literature’ for ‘Postcolonial Trauma Novels’ Special. double issue of Studies in the Novel 40.1-2 (2008) 72-85.

·         The “subterranean stream of Western history”: Arendt and Levinas after Heidegger’ in Hannah Arendt, Imperialism and Genocide eds. Richard King and Dan Stone Berghahn Books (Oxford/New York), 205-216

·         ‘Working through’ and ‘awkward poetics’ in Second Generation poetry’ for Critical Survey 20:2 (Special issue on Holocaust Poetry), pp.18-30.

·         ‘Holocaust Theory?’ in Teaching Holocaust Literature and Film (London: Palgrave, 2008) eds. Robert Eaglestone and Barry Langford, 1-14, 28-36.

·         ‘Derrida and the Legacies of the Holocaust’ Derrida’s Legacies (London: Routledge, 2008), eds. Robert Eaglestone and Simon Glendinning, 66-75


·         ‘The age of reason is over…an age of fury was dawning’: Contemporary Anglo-American fiction and terror in Wasifiri 22: 2 (2007) 19-22.

·         ‘Transition, ‘Hard’ Theory and disciplinary consciousness’ for International Journal of Adolescence and Youth 14: 1 (2007). 31-42


·         ‘Philosophy’s Metaphors: Dennett, Midgley, Derrida’ in Literature and Philosophy ed. David Rudrum (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006) pp. 194-203.

·         ‘Unpacking Theory’ in English: The Condition of the Subject ed. Philip Martin (Basingstoke, Palgrave 2006), pp. 161-167.

·         Salman Rushdie: paradox and truth’ in British Fiction Today: Critical Essays eds. Rod Mengham and Philip Tew (London: Continuum, 2006), pp. 91-102.



I have spoken at conferences and universities in the USA, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Hungary and Poland, as well as at public events, conferences and universities in the UK. In 2009, I was a fellow at The Flemish Academic Centre for Science and the Arts in Brussels.




I teach EN2324 Debates in Contemporary Literary Theory; EN 3106 Literature and Philosophy; EN3510 Special Author Salman Rushdie and on PY1001 Basic Problems in Philosophy.


In 2009/10 I will be teaching a new course on Literature, Atrocity and Genocide.


I also teach on the MA Literatures of Modernity, where I teach British and American contemporary fiction and on the MA in Holocaust Studies, where I teach Representing the Holocaust in British and American Literature and Post-Holocaust Philosophy.


I am Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.



Routledge Critical Thinkers

I am series editor of Routledge Critical Thinkers.

The series aims to provide a comprehensive introduction or ‘first point of call’ for specific critical thinkers and to provide crucial orientation for students and others to equip, enable and encourage them to read the original works. Please feel free to contact me with a suggestion for a subject or an author and if you feel you might like to contribute to this series or would like more information, please contact me.

To date, there are 38 volumes in the series, including three second editions, with more under contract: the series has sold over 140,000 copies world-wide. Several books in the series have been translated into Korean and Persian.

Routledge Critical Thinkers Homepage


Other Activities

I regularly speak at public events, most recently:

·         ‘Understanding the Holocaust Today’: a major public event at the Imperial Wear Museum on Holocaust Memorial Day, 2010.

·         LCASE  Inside/out event: ‘Contemporary Attitudes to the Holocaust’

·         Speaker at Hay Literary Festival, ‘How the light gets in’, Institute of Art and Ideas (May 2009)

·         SPILL theatre festival, public salon on ‘Complexity’, Soho, London (April 2009)

·         ‘Learning Jargonese’ at Battle of Ideas (Institute of Ideas annual conference, 2008)

I am a Literary Advisor to the British Council; I am on the Executive committee of the Forum for European Philosophy and am a consultant for the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency.



I have supervised 3 phds to successful completion:

·         Dr Iain Morland, ‘Ethics, narrative, medical science and intersex’ (2005)

·         Dr Nicole Gyulay, ‘Religion in the Post-colonial novel’ (2006)

·         Dr Katy Iddiols ‘Language and violence in J. M. Coetzee’ (2009).

I am currently the supervisor of four PhD students, working on: contemporary British fiction and the pastoral; theories of Jewish identity; the 9/11 novel; madness and contemporary fiction.


I welcome applications from potential PhD students in any of the areas of my expertise.



Page created by Professor  Robert Eaglestone

Last updated 22/03/2010

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