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Durham University

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Dr Thom Addinall-Biddulph

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Thom Addinall-Biddulph completed his PhD on contemporary American fiction in 2015. He received a First Class BA in English Literature from the University of Durham (St. Cuthbert's Society) in 2009, also being awarded the McKinnell Prize for Mediaeval Literature in 2009. In 2010 he received an MA in Twentieth-Century Literary Studies, also from the University of Durham (Ustinov College). His MA dissertation explored the deconstruction of American social myths in the fiction of Cormac McCarthy.

His PhD focussed on the use, representation, and construction of the American presidency, and more broadly speaking executive power, in post-war US fiction, with specific regard to the works of Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, and Cormac McCarthy. It considers a range of novels by these authors- all of a generation, beginning to write in the late 1950s and early 1960s- focussing especially on Mason & Dixon, Vineland, The Human Stain, The Plot Against America, Exit Ghost, Blood Meridian, and No Country for Old Men. The thesis aims to excavate and analyse the common device of the presidential and governmental figure throughout these texts, identifying the key concept of the “phantom presidency” as a ubiquitous and insidious influence across the narratives under consideration. The use of extensive historical research and detail in these constructions by all three writers is of substantial interest to the project, as is the concept of the counter or imagined history. Thom presented a paper on "Washington in Real Life: Rewriting the First President in Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon" at the Performing Identities in American Literature symposium at Durham in September 2011, and has attended various conferences and workshops on American studies and literature.

He has taught on the first year BA English Literature modules The Heroic Age, Introduction to Drama, Introduction to the Novel, and Myth and Epic of the North, and is a mentor at Josephine Butler College. He was supervised by Dr. Samuel Thomas.