Dr Laura E Ludtke

My research to date has focussed on intersections modernity, technology, and aesthetics in literary and cultural depictions of urban spaces. I am currently at work on a monograph, ‘Modernities, Technologies, and Aesthetics: London’s Lightscape, 1880 to 1950’, which considers a cross section of literary and cultural responses to the electrification of London that draws on original archival research into the history of that electrification. It explores the emergence of a resistance to the Enlightenment dialectic in these responses and argues for an inclusive reading of popular, genre, and middlebrow fiction alongside literary modernism in order to contextualise modernist responses to the electrification of London.

My current research project fills a gap in studies of modernism and satire using the lens of the technologies and science of sex. This research emerges from my interest in the relationship between modernism and science, technology, and medicine and examines how satire (particularly satire about sex and issues surrounding consent) operates in this relationship as well as from the post-graduate seminar ‘Modernist Satire / Satirising Modernism’ that I devised and taught at Queen’s University (Canada) in 2018.

Currently, as a Stipendiary Lecturer in English at Merton College, I teach Prelims Paper 3 (‘Literature in English, 1830 to 1910’) and Paper 4 (‘Literature in English 1910 to present’). I have taught the full range of twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature and also have extensive experience of teaching the long nineteenth century. My primary focus is transatlantic anglophone literature from 1880 to 1950. This year, I am particularly excited to offer tutorials on the modern short story; fiction of the Harlem Renaissance; poetry of the AIDS Crisis; Blitz fiction; modernist sex, sexuality, and censorship; and anti-colonial modernisms.

After finishing my D.Phil. in English at St Anne’s College, I took up a year-long lectureship in Modernist Literature at Queen’s University, Canada, where I devised and taught an upper year seminar course on Virginia Woolf and T. S. Eliot, a year-long introductory lecture course on modernist poetry and prose, and a post-graduate seminar course on experimental modernist fiction entitle ‘After 1910: Early Modernist Novels’. In 2018, I returned to Queen’s as an Adjunct Assistant Professor, teaching an upper-year seminar course on elegy and memoir during WWI and the Spanish Civil War as well as a post-graduate seminar course on modernism and satire, ‘Modernist Satire/Satirising Modernism’. Last year, as a non-stipendiary Lecturer in English at Merton College, I taught Prelims Paper 4 and offered ‘Literature & Science, 1870 to 2005’ and ‘Literature & Medicine in the Long Nineteenth Century’, two series of tutorials for visiting students at Oxford.

During my D.Phil., I worked as a Graduate Tutor in English at St Anne’s College, offering tutorials on a wide range of topics for Prelims Papers 3 and 4, as well as specialist tutorial series for visiting students on the works of Virginia Woolf, Victorian literature, and creative writing.

Since 2015, I have supervised undergraduate dissertations in my areas of expertise for a number of college at the University of Oxford.

Topics I have supervised include:

  •     gift economy in the poetry of Isabella Whitney and Anne Carson;
  •     cyborgs in women’s early-twentieth century science fiction;
  •     representations of filth in late-Victorian urban fiction;
  •     light in the fiction of Aldous Huxley;
  •     literary representations of the 2007/8 financial crisis;
  •     G.E. Moore and the Bloomsbury group;
  •     gardens in the poetry of T. S. Eliot and Vita Sackville West;
  •     censorship and literary form in twentieth-century fiction; and
  •     emotions in the novels of Virginia Woolf.

Dr Laura E. Ludtke studied at the University of British Columbia (BA Hons Classical Studies) and Queen’s University, Canada (BA Hons English; MA Classics; MA English). After completing her D.Phil. at the University of Oxford, she returned to Canada to take up a series of fixed-term lecturerships at Queen’s University, returning to the UK in 2018.

She is Secretary of the British Society for Literature and Science and chairs its annual book prize.

Along with Dr Catherine Charlwood, she has co-hosted LitSciPod: The Literature and Science Podcast since 2019. Series 4 is coming in 2023.

Public Engagement