Dr Sophie Corser

School of English

School of English


Dr Sophie Corser’s research focuses on issues of reading in modern and contemporary literature and criticism. Her first monograph, The Reader’s Joyce: Ulysses, Authorship, and the Authority of the Reader (forthcoming 2022, Edinburgh University Press), rethinks the relationships between author, reader, and text through a study of James Joyce’s Ulysses. After working on Joyce for several years, Sophie has more recently been exploring her interests in intertextuality, metacriticism, classical reception, and formal experimentation within the field of contemporary writing; this informs her Irish Research Council funded project, ‘Women Reading in Contemporary Anglophone Writing: Disruptive Representations’. Before joining UCC, she held a Leverhulme Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at University College Dublin from 2019-21, following the completion of her PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2018.  

As a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of English from 2021-23, Sophie’s research will ask how the effects of reading can be communicated in written form: more specifically, how women’s writing forges innovative ways of inscribing the act of reading and the experience of women readers. This project considers stylistic, narrative, and intertextual experimentation through a comparative literary analysis of key contemporary works of women’s writing. 


Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2021-23 

‘Women Reading in Contemporary Anglophone Writing: Disruptive Representations’ 

Where previous research on ‘the woman reader’ has been largely historical, this work will show the continuing emotional, social, and political power of representations of women’s reading. This project takes a cross-genre approach to texts written in English, examining short stories, novels, poetry, and hybrid texts merging memoir, fiction, and criticism. It will analyse how experimenting with form enables women’s representations of women reading to suggest new ways of considering reading practice, and update notions of ‘the woman reader’.  

Work on women readers of the past tends to describe perceptions of a cultural figure of either subversive, proto-feminist intellectualism or passive, feminine refinement. Sophie’s research asks how this polarised figure interacts with shifts in feminist thinking and women’s societal positions over the last fifty years. This research is divided into three strands, considering female reader characters in novels, rewritings of classical male source texts, and creative-critical writings. Together these strands argue that, through experimental uses of form, women’s writing represents reading as an activity with the potential to radically unsettle how women perceive themselves and their relationships to the world around them. Responding to these innovations, this project will revise concepts of reading to emphasise its creative, active, and disruptive properties; rethinking both ‘the woman reader’ and the act of reading itself. 


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