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Durham University

Department of English Studies


Academic Staff

Dr Marco Bernini

Assistant Professor in Cognitive Literary Studies in the Department of English Studies
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43265
Room number: Room 007, Hallgarth House

Contact Dr Marco Bernini (email at


Before taking up my current role as an Assistant Professor in Cognitive Literary Studies, I have been a Marie Curie Junior Research Fellow (2012-2014) and a Wellcome Postdoctoral Research Associate (2014-2018) in the Department of English Studies at Durham University. My first postdoctoral appointment was as a IASH fellow at the University of Edinburgh (2011-2012). I am also a core member of the Wellcome Trust interdisciplinary project on auditory-verbal hallucinations ‘Hearing the Voice' at Durham University (2012-2021). Outside Durham, I have been a member of a project on 'Narrative and Complex Systems' at the University of York (Interdisciplinary Centre for Narrative Studies) and of the 'History of Distributed Cognition' project (2014-2018; University of Edinburgh). I will be co-leading with Ben Alderson-Day (Department of Psychology, Durham) an interdisciplinary IAS Major Project on 'Dreams, Narrative and Liminal Cognition' in 2020-2021 (Durham University).

Research Interests

My research interests are in narrative theory (in particular cognitive narratology), modernist fiction (notably the narrative work of Samuel Beckett) and cognitive sciences. I have mainly worked on how literary narratives portray or, as I have been arguing, properly explore cognitve processes (e.g., levels of consciousness and self, transparency and opacity in self-knowledge and metacognition, memory, mindwandering, inner speech, moods and emotions, embodied and enactive couplings with the environment, hypnagogic and hypopompic transitions, altered and hallucinatory perceptions, dream states). I also worked on an application of the extended mind view to the relationship between writing and authorial intentionality, and on a narrative approach to cognitive theories of complexity and emergence. I have a forhcoming book on Samuel Beckett and cognition (Beckett and the Cognitive Method: Mind, Models, and Exploratory Narratives) with Oxford University Press.

I would welcome PhD proposals on:

  • Narrative Theory
  • Cognitive Narratology
  • Samuel Beckett
  • Literary Modernism
  • Cognitive Processes in the Novel
  • Narrative and the Self
  • Narrative, Emergence and Complexity
  • Narrative, Dreams and Hallucinations


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

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