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Department of English Studies

Academic Staff

Dr Samuel Thomas

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 46577

(email at

Before arriving in Durham some years back, I completed my doctorate at the University of Sussex (where I also worked as a tutor in English and Cultural Studies). My research is mostly focused on resistance politics in fiction from the Cold War era to the present day, especially the work of Thomas Pynchon. My first book, entitled Pynchon and the Political, was published by Routledge in 2007 (available in paperback as of 2012). I am one of the founding editors of the new, open access journal Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon:

In August 2013, I organised 'International Pynchon Week' here in Durham:

I have also spoken about Pynchon on CBC's 'Sunday Edition':

My more recent work has a distinctly trans-atlantic and trans-hemispheric bent, exploring Pynchon’s engagement with national/regional cultures beyond the borders of the USA. This research includes articles on the representation of the Balkans in Against the Day and on Argentinian cultural politics in Gravity’s Rainbow (backed up by some unique archival sleuthing carried out in Buenos Aires).

In addition to this, I have strong interests in critical theory (esp. the Frankfurt School and Slavoj Žižek) and in the depiction of terrorism in fiction and film. In the latter area I have written on topics such as suicide bombing (from the American novel to Palestinian cinema) and the figure of 'Carlos the Jackal'.

I am currently in the process of starting a large new project on region and labour history in contemporary US crime fiction (initially focusing on Elmore Leonard's Kentucky-set 'Raylan' stories and the TV series Justified).




My teaching is mostly concentrated on the American Fiction and Literary Theory modules. I also run a special topic called Fictions of Terrorism and a Masters option on Thomas Pynchon, both of which are continually evolving in relation to new publications (and indeed to events in the world).

I supervise a number of PhDs and I welcome enquiries from anyone interested in working on a project related to my research areas.


Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Thomas Pynchon
  • Terrorism in Fiction and Film
  • Critical Theory
  • Argentina and Anglo-American Fiction
  • Contemporary US Crime Narrative


Articles: magazine

Articles: review

Books: authored

Books: reviews

Journal papers: academic