PhD candidate in English and Theatre Studies, School of Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne.
Joshua Barnes’ research is concerned with the development of the novel form across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and with the uses of “totality” as a concept in literary theory. How do literary texts deal with abstract concepts, systems that defy comprehension, collectivities so large that they cannot be fixed in the mind? To explore this question, this project develops new readings of canonical authors—including Daniel Defoe, Laurence Sterne, Jane Austen and Henry James—alongside other figures working in marginal, quasi- or proto-novelistic narrative forms. Indexing debates within Marxist theories of literature, this research also points towards the interests of the ERCC: to the contemporary legacies of Romantic aesthetics and notions of the Absolute, for example, and to the ongoing arguments about globalisation and the possibility of a world literature.