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Department of English Studies


Academic Staff

Dr Vidyan Ravinthiran

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Contact Dr Vidyan Ravinthiran

Vidyan Ravinthiran completed his DPhil at Balliol College, Oxford in 2010, after which he joined Selwyn College, Cambridge as the Keasbey Research Fellow in American Studies; he arrived in Durham in 2014. Ranging from the Long Eighteenth Century to the present day, he has a strong interest in the formal qualities of both verse and prose, and how they relate to history and thought.

He writes verse, fiction, literary journalism and peer-reviewed academic research, and hopes even complicated ideas can be communicated in a style that is lively and gives pleasure. At Durham he teaches both literature and creative writing.

Elizabeth Bishop's Prosaic was published in 2015 by Bucknell University Press, and is winner of both the Warren-Brooks award for literary criticism, and the University English Book Prize. It has been reviewed as 'a compelling and fundamental breakthrough in Elizabeth Bishop scholarship as well as in the study of literary genre'. Vidyan's next research project is transatlantic and concerns 'spontaneity and form' in nineteenth and twentieth-century English and American prose. Related work has appeared in The Review of English Studies and Essays in Criticism.

Vidyan's first book of verse, Grun-tu-molani (Bloodaxe, 2014), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for First Full Collection, and the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. His poems have also appeared in several anthologies, as a pamphlet, and in a range of newspapers and magazines which include The Times Literary Supplement, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times and Poetry Review; 'Snow', a Guardian poem-of-the-week, can be read online here. He is currently working on a themed collection of sonnets.

His reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in the TLS, PN Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry Review, Poetry, The Caravan, The London Review of Books, and Poetry London – of over forty pieces of journalism, selected essays are listed below. Vidyan's latest essay of this kind, on Rae Armantrout, can be read here.

Vidyan is represented as an author of fiction by The Wylie Agency. He has written one novel, Surangani, and is working on another. His fiction is in part an exploration of his Sri Lankan heritage.

He co-edits, with Sarah Howe and Dai George, the online magazine of poetry and poetics, Prac Crit.


Authored book

  • Ravinthiran, V (2015). Elizabeth Bishop's Prosaic. Bucknell University Press.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2014). Grun-tu-molani. Bloodaxe.

Book review

Chapter in book

  • Ravinthiran, V (Forthcoming). "Manuelzinho", Brazil and identity politics. In Reading Elizabeth Bishop: An Edinburgh Companion. Ellis, J Edinburgh University Press.
  • Ravinthiran, V (Forthcoming). Nabokov and the Privilege of Style. In Modernism and Close Reading. James, D Oxford University Press.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2012). Kolatkar's Spontaneity. In Poetry and Voice: A Book of Essays. Norgate, S & Piddington, E Cambridge Scholars. 89-103.

Journal Article

  • Ravinthiran, V. (2016). Race, Style, and the Soul of Saul Bellow's Prose. Essays in Criticism 66(4): 488-517.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2014). Arun Kolatkar's Description of India. The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 49(3): 359-377.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2014). How James Wright Wasted His Life. Literary Imagination 16(1): 95-116.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2013). A cool world (M. H. Abrams). The Times Literary Supplement: (24 May): 12.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2013). All Too Quotable (Frederick Seidel). PN Review 40(1): 65-66.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2013). The Blank Verse Moo of Wallace Stevens. Thinking Verse 3: 108-130.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2013). The Spontaneity of Hopkins's Journal Prose. The Review of English Studies 64(267): 838-856.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2012). A spendthrift love (Hart Crane). The Times Literary Supplement (14 December): 11.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2011). Auden and Bishop: Another Look at 'At the Fishhouses'. Notes and Queries 58(5): 597-603.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2011). Dante and Shelley's Terza Rima. Essays in Criticism 61(2): 155-172.
  • Ravinthiran, V (2011). Prose-rhythm and the aesthetic claim: a new reading of Elizabeth Bishop's 'Santarem'. U.S Studies Online (18).
  • Ravinthiran, V (2009). The "Liquid Texture" of the Elgin Marbles: Hazlitt, Reynolds, and the Miltonic Sublime. The Hazlitt Review 2: 21-32.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

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