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Peter D McDonald

Peter D McDonald
Academic Position:
Professor of English and Related Literature and Tutorial Fellow
St. Hugh's
Research Interests:
19th/20th/ 21st Century; the socio-political space of literary production (c. 1880-present)

Professor Peter D. McDonald is a Fellow of St Hugh's College and a Lecturer at the University of Oxford. He has written extensively on the history of 'literature' as a category from the nineteenth century to the present day, on publishing history, and on the relationship between literary institutions and the modern state.

For most of his professional life he has been thinking about the idea of culture as it has been shaped and reshaped over the past two hundred years, and about the processes and perils of literary guardianship, especially in the complex, mobile, and interconnected world that emerged in the course of the long twentieth century. This guiding interest has informed his work on censorship, the rise of mass culture, media history and questions of the book, the public value of literature, critical theory, and interculturalism. It has also led him to write on an eclectic range of authors, including Arnold, Beckett, Bennett, Blanchot, Bourdieu, Brink, Breytenbach, Coetzee, Conan Doyle, Conrad, Derrida, Gordimer, Jensma, Lawrence, Matthews, Mphahlele, Ndebele, Pound, Serote, Woolf, and Yeats. His main publications include 'British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice' (1997) and 'The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences' (2009).

Recent Publications

  • 'Old Phrases and Great Obscenities: The Strange Afterlife of Two Victorian Anxieties’, Journal of Victorian Culture, 13.2, 2008.
  • The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences, OUP, 2009.
  • ‘The Ethics of Reading and the Question of the Novel: The Challenge of J. M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year’, Novel, 43.3, 2010.
  • ‘Calder’s Beckett’, Publishing Samuel Beckett, British Library, 2011.
  • ‘Thinking Interculturally: Amartya Sen’s Lovers Revisited’, Interventions 13.3, 2011.