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Durham University

Department of English Studies


Academic Staff

Dr Daniel Hartley

Personal web page

Assistant Professor in the Department of English Studies
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 44334
Room number: Room 265, Elvet Riverside 2

(email at

Research Interests

Office hour 2019-20: Thurs 11-12

I am Assistant Professor in World Literatures in English. My research focuses on literary style, "world literature" and the historical sociology of modernity. My first book, The Politics of Style: Towards a Marxist Poetics (Brill: 2017), developed a systematic theory of literary style through an immanent critique of the work of Raymond Williams, Terry Eagleton and Fredric Jameson.

My current book project is provisionally entitled Capital Personified: Impersonality in the Modern World-System. It investigates the multiple political and stylistic valences of literary impersonality in world literature across the long twentieth century: from early twentieth-century modernism to contemporary post-apartheid South African fiction. The project is grounded in a longue-durée study of impersonality as a structural feature of the capitalist world-system, reading canonical modernist texts and postcolonial fiction within a single critical purview. It connects and intervenes in four debates: the question of modernist impersonality (its nature, range and political valences); contemporary theories of ‘world literature’; the notion of capitalism as a system of ‘impersonal domination’; and postwar philosophical defences of impersonality as a critical ethos (e.g., T. W. Adorno and Alain Badiou). It focuses especially on the ways in which impersonality mediates the traumatic legacies of colonial regimes of personhood.

I also have ongoing interests in the history of aesthetics, the Anthropocene/ Capitalocene, and theories of the subject in radical contemporary thought.

Academic Biography

I completed my B.A. in English Literature at the University of Cardiff, during which I worked for one year as an assistant d'anglais at a lycée in Orléans (France). Following my undergraduate studies, I returned to France to work as a lecteur d'anglais for one year at Université Nancy 2 and Sciences Po. From 2008-2010, I undertook a two-year Research M.A. in Literary Studies at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. I was subsequently awarded a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (Germany). Following my Ph.D., I worked for two years as a wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, and 6 months as a Temporary Professor, in the English department at Gießen. From 2016-18, I was a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for World Literatures at the University of Leeds, working as part of a Leverhulme project entitled “Traumatic Pasts, Cosmopolitanism, and Nation-Building in Contemporary World Literature.” In summer 2018, I was appointed Assistant Professor of World Literatures at Durham.


I welcome applications or informal queries relating to Ph.D. supervision in research areas which overlap with my own, in particular:

  • Anglo-American Marxist literary theory (especially the work of Raymond Williams)
  • Althusserian and post-Althusserian thought (esp. Badiou and Rancière)
  • Materialist approaches to "world literature"
  • Most areas of Marxist poetics/ aesthetics


Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Hartley, Daniel (Forthcoming). Home and the Law: Impersonality and Worldlessness in J. M. Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus (2013) and Jenny Erpenbeck's Gehen, Ging, Gegangen (2015). In Edinburgh Contemporary Research on Refugee Writing. Durrant, Sam, Farrier, David, Stonebridge, Lyndsey, Cox, Emma & Woolley, Agnes Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Hartley, Daniel (2019). Keeping it Real: Literary Impersonality under Neoliberalism. In World Literature, Neoliberalism and the Culture of Discontent. Deckard, Sharae & Shapiro, Stephen Palgrave Macmillan. 131-155.
  • Hartley, Daniel (2018). 'Slavery to an Assembly Line is not Liberation from Slavery to the Kitchen Sink': Assessing Social Reproduction Theory's Challenge to Liberal-Feminist and Classical-Marxist Paradigms. In Beyond Gender: An Advanced Introduction to Futures of Feminist and Sexuality Studies. Olson, Greta, Horn, Mirjam, Hartley, Daniel & Schmidt, Regina Abingdon: Routledge. 100-116.
  • Hartley, Daniel (2017). Radical Schiller and the Young Marx. In Aesthetic Marx. Gandesha, Samir & Hartle, Johan London: London: Bloomsbury. 163-184.
  • Hartley, Daniel (2016). Anthropocene, Capitalocene and the Problem of Culture. In Anthropocene or Capitalocene?. Moore, Jason W. Oakland: PM Press. 154-165.
  • Hartley, Daniel (2015). Style as Structure of Feeling: Emergent Forms of Life in the Theory of Raymond Williams and George Saunders's Tenth of December. In Emergent Forms of Life in Anglophone Literature: Conceptual Frameworks and Critical Analyses. Basseler, Michael, Hartley, Daniel & Nünning, Ansgar Trier: WVT. 1-24.

Edited book

  • Olson, Greta, Horn, Mirjam, Hartley, Daniel & Schmidt, Regina (2018). Beyond Gender: An Advanced Introduction to Futures of Feminist and Sexuality Studies. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Basseler, Michael, Hartley, Daniel & Nünning, Ansgar (2015). Emergent Forms of Life in Anglophone Literature: Conceptual Frameworks and Critical Analyses. Trier: WVT.

Journal Article

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