Key Research Interests and Expertise

I have a strong attachment to thinking about feeling. But as well as theorising it, I want to know what happens when we read or write it, or when we see it being read; I am curious about the historical, cultural and political conditions that underpin any taste for feeling, and I am interested in how feeling can account for the critical neglect of literary subjects.

My interest covers any area that touches on feeling: emotion, affect, touch and texture, senses and the body, virtuality, as well as pathologies of feeling. But what I am most fascinated by is critical feeling — the ways in which feeling is at work in in what and how we write, research, and work as academics, and I am particularly interested in how such feelings texture our critical orientations, and our embodiments. I am, in short, interested in the cultural politics of emotion underpinning what we write about, and how we write.

The critical subjects that catch my attention are those that allow us to track the politics of our affective economies – I see ‘emotion’ as a resistant subject that can help us think about the politics of both critical neglect and critical recuperation, and my research maps thinking ‘feeling’ onto other similarly difficult, resistant or neglected subjects.  

Although I work mostly in late 19th to 21st century literatures, my interest in the history of thinking feeling is trans-historical. My methodologies are multi- and interdisciplinary, and I work across critical, creative, and creative-critical forms. Although I engage with a range of theoretical and philosophical perspectives I am most informed by feminism and deconstruction and my writing is frequently in dialogue with psychoanalysis. I am particularly interested in methodologies that transgress the boundaries of what constitute literary analysis: since my MA I have been interested in positioning literary scholarship as entangled with living and seek research practices that can explore this.


If you are a prospective PhD student, and thinking about getting in touch, please go to my Teaching and Supervision page.


My interests have a few current outputs: 


  • ‘Feminist Dwellings: Imagining the Domestic in the Twenty-first-century Literary Novel’ in Cooke, J. Ed, New Feminist Studies: Twenty-first-century Critical Interventions, Cambridge University Press (available online and in print early December 2020). In this chapter I observe feminism’s refusal, in the twenty first century, to relinquish the domestic as a site or language for imagining feminist possibility and practice, in order to read the domestic in Zadie Smith’s On Beauty (2005)Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home (2011) and Miranda July’s First Bad Man (2015). 

  • 'The True Heart: Sylvia Townsend Warner's Impolitics of Love' in Textual Practice (accepted, forthcoming). Here I situate Warner's critical neglect in terms of the ugliness of love that her novel imagines. I argue that Warner’s novel asks us to rethink our critical attachments to love. 

  • 'Not in the Mood: Reading Love in 21st Century Humanities Scholarship' in Savage, Dikova, McMahon (Eds), What We Think About When We Think About Love (accepted, forthcoming). I ask about the attachments to, and violences of, love in the academic institution by reading two kinds of critical love scenes, or plots: the humanities scholars’ loving attachment to their discipline in our cultural imaginary, and the rhetoric of love in contemporary defences of the humanities. Reading a range of texts including Luca Guadagnino's Call me by your name (2017), Zadie Smith's On Beauty (2005), Donna Tartt's The Secret History (1993), Stefan Collini's What are universities for? (2015) and Rita Felski's Limits of Critique (2015), I argue that if we are to imagine new critical moods -- and new critical modes -- perhaps we must be prepared to relinquish love.

  • ‘Lipo-literacy’ in Thorkelson and Mason-Deese (Eds), A Day is a Struggle (accepted, forthcoming). This creative-critical piece investiates how the discipline of literary scholarship is entangled with body-work. Reading fatness and analysis as imbricated plot-lines that render epistemic status a matter of embodiment, I work to produce lipo-literacy as a paradoxical position for the fat woman academic whose literary discipline is un-read by their materiality.


  • ‘Elizabeth Bowen in the 1940s’ in Tew and White (Eds), The 1940s: A Decade of Modern British Fiction (forthcoming, Bloomsbury Academic Publishing). No longer neglected, Elizabeth Bowen has emerged as a significant twentieth century British writer. Here I consider how her work in the 1940s can be situated both in relation to the period, and to her literary and critical inheritances. The chapter considers a range of novels, short stories and essays to broaden awareness of her work from her best-recognised war writing to some lesser known, but no less significant, materials.  


I am developing this research towards three studies that engage gender and feeling:


  • My major project at the moment is my book Fictions of Feeling: Elizabeth Bowen’s Short Stories, currently under consideration, in which I am arguing that the status of Elizabeth Bowen’s short stories can be understood in terms of their affect. Thinking feeling in radical ways, her short stories intervene not only in critical debates about her work and her contemporaries’, but also in contemporary debates about feeling itself.


  • In a follow-on project, Crimes of Passion: Gender, Feeling and the Affective Economies of Mid-Twentieth Century Literature builds on my work on Bowen and on Sylvia Townsend Warner by reading feeling in the work of five critically neglected and/or recuperated mid-century British writers: Bowen and la Crime Passionel; Townsend Warner’s impolitics of love; Betty Miller’s tackiness; Elizabeth Taylor’s ejaculations; and Patrick Hamilton’s feminine feeling.


  • In Gender Conditions: Feminist Practice in the Contemporary University, I ask what feminist practice looks like within the gendered labour conditions of the contemporary university. I read everyday scenes from academic life — not only research and teaching, but also assessment, administration, collegiality and appraisal — that materialise these gender conditions. I work over these as sites of feeling whose textures fabricate gendered orientations, affects and embodiments. I draw the materials of these scenes (emails, institutional languages, policy documents) into uncomfortable contacts with the violent misogynies of our cultural imaginaries at work in literature, film and art. I learn from feminist practices that mobilise such affects into new moods, and modes. And I repurpose these textures of feeling in my own writing in order to explore whether our academic gender conditions might, also, be generative and creative, materialising new forms of feminist practice in the contemporary university. 



Critical and Creative-Critical Publications

  • Schaller, K. (Forthcoming) 'Not in the Mood: Reading Love in 21st Century Humanities Scholarship' in Savage, Dikova, McMahon (Eds), What We Think About When We Think About Love.
  • Schaller, K. (Forthcoming) ‘Lipo-literacy’ in Thorkelson and Mason-Deese (Eds), A Day is a Struggle.
  • Schaller, K. (Forthcoming) ‘Elizabeth Bowen in the 1940s’ in Tew and White (Eds), The 1940s: A Decade of ModernBritish Fiction (Bloomsbury Academic Publishing). 
  • Schaller, K. (Forthcoming) 'The True Heart: Sylvia Townsend Warner's Impolitics of Love' in Textual Practice
  • Schaller, K. (Forthcoming, November 2020) ‘Feminist Dwelling: Imagining the Domestic in the 21st Century Literary Novel’ in Cooke, J. (Ed), New Feminist Studies: Twenty-first-century Critical Interventions (Cambridge University Press). 
  • Schaller, K. (2013) ‘I know it to be synthetic but it affects me strongly’: ‘Dead Mabelle’ and Bowen’s emotion pictures’ in Textual Practice 27 (1). pp. 163-185. ISSN 0950-236X 
  • Schaller, K. (2008) ‘Finding Form and Inspiration’ in Cole, Knowles, and Promislow (eds.) Creating Scholartistry:  Imagining the Arts-informed Thesis or Dissertation (Backalong Press) ISBN 978-1-894132-30-5.
  • Schaller, K. (2004) ‘Excerpt from “A Writing Story, on Being Written:  a Thetic Play on Words”’ in Coles, Knowles, Luciani & Neilsen (eds.) Provoked by Art:  Theorizing Arts-Informed Research (Backalong Press) ISBN: 1-894132-08-4. 
  • Schaller, K. (2001) ‘Travel as Research, Research as Travel’ in Coles, Knowles & Neilsen (eds.) The Art of Writing Inquiry (Backalong Press) ISBN 1-894132-06-8




Creative Publications


  • Schaller, K. (2008) ‘The Haircut’ in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing Vol. 5:3, pp. 197-200, ISSN: 1479-0726.
  • Schaller, K. (2010) ‘The Swimmer’. The New Writer, 101 
  • Schaller, K. (2010) ‘D.E.W. Line and Passiflora Edulis’. The New Writer, 100 
  • Schaller, K. (2006) ‘The Cartoon Man’ in Succour: The New Fiction, Poetry and Art, Issue 3 ‘Radio Eye’.
  • Schaller, K. (2006) ‘Speech Therapy’ in Breach, Issue #2, Thursday Press, Brighton.



Recent Conference and Invited Papers


  • “Embodied Metaphor: Architecture and Feeling” and “Feminist Dwelling”, Invited Speaker, Norwich University of the Arts, Dec 10, 2018.
  • “Absorption and Contemporary Literary Practice”, British Association for Contemporary Literary Study, ‘What Happens Now 2018’, July 10-12 2018. Collaboration with Dr Ruth Charnock, Senior Lecturer in Literature, Lincoln University.
  • “Brilliance and the Domestic Labour of Contemporary Literature Studies”, Invited Speaker at York St John Research Seminar, May 16, 2018.
  • The True Heart: Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Impolitics of Love” at ‘Sylvia Townsend Warner and Modernism, Manchester, April 6-8, 2018.
  • “Contact Work: Affect, Literature and Pedagogy” Invited Speaker at ‘Feminist Methodologies’, Symposium at Loughborough University, March 20-21, 2018.
  • “Rubbing: Feminine Diligence and Masculine Shine”, Invited Speaker at Lincoln University Humanities Research Seminar, Nov 17, 2017.
  • “Rubbing: Feminine Diligence and Masculine Shine” at ‘Intimaterial’, Royal College of Art, London, Jun 15-16 2017.



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