Daniela Caselli

Daniela Caselli


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Personal profile

Research interests

Daniela Caselli is Professor of modern literature, with specialisms in literary modernism, critical theory, comparative literature, and gender and sexuality studies. 

Samuel Beckett is one of her main research interests. She has been President of the Beckett Society between 2017 and 2021 and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Beckett Studies. She has written on Beckett and Dante (Beckett's Dantes. Intertextuality in the Fiction and Criticism, 2005; paperback 2009), the role of manuscripts and the archiveBeckett’s reception in ItalyBeckett and Italian literature and Beckett and Leopardi, and edited Beckett and Nothing: Trying to Understand Beckett (2010; paperback 2012; open access). Her new book – Insufferable: Beckett, Gender and Sexuality – is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in 2023.

Her focus on modernism, gender and sexuality led to the publication of Improper Modernism: Djuna Barnes’s Bewildering Corpus (2009; paperback 2016), a book which analysed for the first time Barnes's entire oeuvre, including her manuscripts. It argued for the need to recognise the work's resistance to normalising writing and reading practices, including those emerging from the modernist movement itself. 

Building on her interest in modernism, gender politics, and Dante, Caselli wrote on Dorothy Richardson, gender, Dante, and political economy (Comparative Literature, 2017, funded by The British Academy). The John Rylands Research Institute supported new research on modernist literature that engaged with Dante but refused to use him as cultural capital (see Oxford Handbook to Dante 2021).

She is currently writing a book entitled The Modernist Child. The project has emerged from work on affect theory, gender and the child (Feminist Theory) and literary and sexual experimentalism in the interwar period (Cambridge Companion to American Gay and Lesbian Literature, edited by Scott Herring). 'Attack of the Easter Bunnies’, a study of Walter Benjamin and childhood, with a focus on his Youth Hour radio programmes in the 1930s, can be found in Parallax (open access). The Wellcome Trust has funded new research on The Children's Society Archives, which will be part of The Modernist Child



I teach modern literature, especially modernism, critical theory, and gender and sexuality studies.

My work brings together twentieth-century studies, comparative literature, archival research and literary theory. 


Postgraduate Opportunities

I am interested in supervising doctoral students working on literary modernism, gender and sexuality studies, and critical theory. I am especially interested in projects on Samuel Beckett, Djuna Barnes, and critical modernist studies.  

I am currently supervising a number of theses: on 'pedestrian modernism'; on the Red Rag archives (a Collaborative Doctoral Award shared with Prof. Harker and the People's History Museum); and on WWI nursing, silence and critical race studies.    

 Previously supervised doctoral theses include:

Dr Eleanor Green, 'Queer Sexuality in Samuel Beckett's Late Prose' (with Prof Jackie Stacey)

Dr Alex Bennett, 'Modernist temporalities: deathlike lives and lively deaths in Virginia Woolf, Ford Madox Ford, and Elizabeth Bowen' (with Dr Robert Spencer)

Dr Zoe Gosling, 'Modernism and Mathemathics' (with Prof Mike Prest of the School of Mathematics)

Dr Federica Coluzzi 'Marginal Dantismo: the Scholarly Reception of Dante in Late Victoran England (1860-1890)' (with Dr Guyda Armstrong)

Dr Katharina Boeckenhöff, 'Border Crossing and Gender Reconfigurations Between the Wars’ (with Prof Laura Doan).

Dr William Simms, 'Unlawful Fictions: Literature, Obscenity, and Psychoanalysis' (with Prof Ian Parker)

Dr Şima İmşir: 'Bodies of Exception: Literary Constructions of Illness in Women’s Fiction in Turkish, 1912-1994' (with Dr Anastasia Valassopoulos)

Dr Andy Grundy, 'Rightly to be great: Dionysiac Greatness in Nietzsche and Shakespeare' (with Prof Jeremy Tambling)

Dr John Roache, 'Marginalia after Modernism: the case of David Foster Wallace' (with Dr Kaye Mitchell)

Dr Ben Moore, 'Invisible Architectures: Ideologies of Space in the Nineteenth-Century City' (with Prof Jeremy Tambling)

Dr Veronica Barnsley, 'Reading the Child Between the British Raj and the Indian Nation' (with Dr Anastasia Valassopoulos)

Dr Suryia Nayak, 'Re-Reading Audre Lorde: Declaring the Activism of Black Feminist Theory' (with Prof Erica Burman)

Dr Duncan Hay, 'Form, Space and Memory: Materialist Readings of Iain Sinclair's London Writing' (with Prof Bertrand Taithe)

Dr Asyia Bulatova, 'The Modernist Essay' (with Dr Kaye Mitchell)

Dr Shravika Damunupola, 'Constructions of the Child in Contemporary Sri-Lankan Fiction'

Dr Iain Bailey, 'Beckett and the Bible' (with Prof Terry Eagleton)

Dr Benjamin Ware, 'The Dialectic of the Ladder: Wittgenstein, the Tractatus and Modernism' (with Prof Terry Eagleton)

Dr Ingrid Palmary, 'Situating Women in War and Displacement' (with Prof Erica Burman)


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

Areas of expertise

  • PR English literature
  • PN0080 Criticism
  • PE English

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester


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