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Dr Diana Leca

Robin Geffen Career Development Fellow in English


My research is focused on modernist and contemporary literature, criticism, and theory. I have a special interest in 20th-century American literature, as well as in questions pertaining to form; avant-garde movements; aesthetic philosophy; and intellectual history. I completed my doctorate at St John's College, University of Cambridge on the topic of literary minimalism.

At Keble, I teach the following: Paper 1b (Introduction to English Literature), Paper 3 (Victorian), and Paper 4 (Modern), which spans the period between 1910 and the contemporary. I have also taught papers focused on close reading practices, the history and theory of literary criticism, and the modernist short story. Additionally, I have lectured on contemporary Canadian poetry and poetics, including Anne Carson and M. NourbeSe Philip.

You can find my Faculty page here.

Research Interests

I currently have two monographs in progress. The first study, which developed out of my doctoral research, considers the relationship between literary minimalism and the natural environment. Examining diminutive and compressed forms, such as Gertrude Stein’s small prose-poems about rivers and light, I make a claim for the ecological significance of a poetics of 'lessness'.

My second project, 'Ex Minimis: Asceticism and the Diminishment of Poetry', builds on the first to examine the long-standing entwinement of American poetry with ascetic practices, such as contemplation, impoverishment, and what the Marxist mystic Simone Weil calls 'decreation'. The study attempts to establish new interpretive strategies for approaching radical economy in poetry.

You can read an article of mine, 'Roland Barthes and Literary Minimalism', in the journal Barthes Studies.

College Contact Details

Dr Diana Leca
Keble College
Telephone: 01865 272727
Fax: 01865 272705