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Mr Douglass Virdee

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I received my MA (first class honours) in English from the University of Aberdeen in 2013 where I was awarded the Seafield medal. In 2014 I completed my MLitt with distinction at Newcastle University, winning the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics research master’s prize.

My doctoral studies, which began in October 2015, focus on theories of memory and the narrative self from the late nineteenth century to present. The project investigates representations of temporality, consciousness, and identity in narrative fiction alongside the analogies and metaphors used to describe memory in psychology and philosophy in order to tease out salient common properties. These commonalities offer an insight into both conceptual trends in theorising about memory and narrative’s role in providing a structural framework onto which identity can be mapped.

Mental time travel (MTT) – a popular analogy for memory for experiential memories in modern psychology literature – is predicated on Endel Tulving’s General Abstract Processing System, which distinguishes between episodic memory (experiential memory from the point of view of a self) and semantic memory (knowledge of the external). This project contextualises the development of MTT as a heuristic in its literary milieu by tracing the roots of the (1972) distinction between episodic and semantic memory to evolving notions of temporality and memory in mid-to-late nineteenth century philosophy and psychology. Setting the evolution of these concepts in their respective disciplines alongside explorations of subjective temporality in the increasingly phenomenological novels of the twentieth century, the project explores shifts in the way memory, time and space have been conceptualised as the locus for analysis of evolving connotations of time travel leading to its present day appearance as a metaphor for experiential memory. 

This PhD is supervised by Dr. Peter Garratt and Professor Patricia Waugh.

I have been accepted as a visiting research student at the University of British Columbia from 1/1/2017 – 20/6/2017. I will be working on cognitive linguistics and story viewpoint with respect to temporality. This research is supervised by Professor Barbara Dancygier.

Conference Presentations

(Forthcoming) ‘Multiple Selves and Narrative Deixis in Modern Literary Fiction’, International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, 10th-14th July 2017.

‘Succession and Repetition in Jorge Luis Borges’s ‘A New Refutation of Time’’, The Story of Memory Conference, 4th-5th September 2014 (Memory Network).

Other scholarly activity

Editor, Postgraduate English Journal (Durham University) December 2015- present.

Research Group Membership

Centre for Medical Humanities (Durham University); Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies (Durham University); Cognitive Poetics Group (University of British Columbia).

Is supervised by