Dr Russell Smith

BA, BA (Hons), PhD (Adelaide)
Lecturer in English
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: +61 2 6125 8472

Areas of expertise

  • British And Irish Literature 200503
  • Literary Theory 200525

Research interests

Modernist literature, especially Irish modernist writers Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bowen, James Joyce. Literary theory. 


I completed a PhD on Samuel Beckett at the University of Adelaide in 2001, and
taught at the University of Adelaide and University of South Australia before moving
to Canberra in 2003. I took leave without pay as a primary carer in 2010-2012.

I currently teach modernist literature and literary theory in the following courses:

  • ENGL3008: Theories and Methodologies for Literary Studies 
  • ENGL3022: Literature and Modernity
  • ENGL2087: Reality Effects: Truth, Representation and Narrative Form
  • ENGL4020: Researching and Writing the Thesis: A Workshop
  • ENGL4021: Creative Reading: Topics in Theory, Methodology and Interpretation.

Researcher's projects

I am currently working on a study of the impact of the experience of 1930s radio listening on James Joyce’s writing methods in Finnegans Wake and his conception of the media ecology of the literary text. I am also working on a history of literary depictions of the relations between human workers and intelligent machines. 

Available student projects

I am available to supervise PhD, Masters and Honours students in topics on 20th century literature, especially of the period 1910-1940, and on literary theory, especially gender and queer theory, psychoanalysis and marxist literary theory. 

Current student projects

Irish Orientalism and the place of Persian/Iranian culture in James Joyce's global cosmopolitanism (PhD)

Interpretation and ideology critique in the writings of Susan Sontag, Fredric Jameson and Slavoj Zizek (Honours)

Emotion, agency and metafiction in the stories of Katherine Mansfield (Honours)

Past student projects


2021. “Nothing Can Happen Nowhere”: Place and Trauma in Elizabeth Bowen’s Writing 

2020. Superpowered Security: The Cruel Optimism of National Security in Marvel’s Iron Man Films

2020. Essays on the Production and Reception of Anita Heiss’s Writing 

2016. Cognitive Poetics and the Modern Novel 

2011. Futures Far and Near: The Science Fiction Legacy of Olaf Stapledon 

2008. Richard Tipping and Multimedia Texts 



2008. ‘The Postcolonial Identity: A Comparative Study of Australian and Caribbean Literature’

2007. ‘The Limits of Infinity: Irony and Emotion in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest

2004. ‘Nauseous Heroes: Choosing Selves in Hamlet and Spider-Man



2022. ‘“This is the land I have been looking for all my life!”: Polysemic Narratives and Utopian Potential in C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia’. 

2022. ‘Survivor Testimony After #MeToo: The Discursive Effects of Eggshell Skull and Know My Name as Rape Trial Memoirs’

2022. ‘The Changing Critical Reception of James Baldwin’s Novels and Essays’

2021. ‘Realism, Nationhood, and Temporality in the Modernist Bildungsroman

2020. ‘The Repetition of Trauma Relating to World War One in the Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald’

2018. ‘Here and Queer: Moving Past the Heterocentrist Trap’

2016. ‘The First Feminist Murder Mystery? The Gender Politics of Higher Education in Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night (1935)’

2016. ‘Surface Enjoyment and Critical Distance: Readerly Pleasures in Akhenaten and The Monkey’s Mask

2015. ‘The Eloquent Listener: Language, Sound and the Act of Listening through Modernist Texts’

2015. ‘The Girl in the Panther Skin: A Short Story’, and ‘The melancholy allure of the Soviet Union: Stalinist nostalgia and the spectacle of violence in recent children’s literature’ (English/Creative Writing)

2014. ‘A Proper Story: An Argument for Games as a Narrative Medium’

2014. ‘The New Weird: A Semiotic Definition of a Fantasy Genre’

2014. ‘Cataclysmic Prophecies: Religion, Science and Political Power in Apocalyptic Fiction’

2009. ‘The Limits of the Author-Function and the ‘Australian’ Novels of J.M. Coetzee’

2009. ‘Unstitching Utopia: Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed and The Lathe of Heaven

2009. ‘Reading Alienation: Reader Complicity in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

2008. ‘The Long Anguish of Vagrancy and Freedom: Lost Objects and Desire in Samuel Beckett’s Molloy

2007. ‘A New Motherland: Symbolic Nationalism in Barbara Baynton’s Bush Studies

2007. ‘A Descriptive Investigation of Player Interaction in Computer Games’

2007. ‘The Rhythm of Thought: Spontaneous Expression in Theory and Practice’ (English/Philosophy)

2007. ‘The Hannibal Trilogy and Literary and Filmic Theories of Horror’

2006. ‘Approaching Adaptation Studies from an Intertextual Perspective: Intertextuality, Popular Film, and Chocolat

2006. ‘Reflections and The Second Self’ (English/Creative Writing)

2006. ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Identity in a World of Monsters.’

2004. ‘Rethinking Reading Practices: Oprah’s Book Club and Cultural Authority’


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Updated:  19 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers