Présentation / Presentation

Julia Jordan is Associate Professor of English literature at UCL. Her first monograph was Chance and the Modern British Novel (2010), and her second, Late Modernism and the Avant-garde British Novel: Oblique Strategies is due out with Oxford University Press in March 2020. She has co-edited (with Jonathan Coe and Philip Tew) an anthology of B. S. Johnson’s writing called Well Done God! (Picador, 2013), and published essays in a variety of collections and in journals – including Textual Practice, Modern Language Review and Critique – on various aspects of postwar literature, and in particular experimental fiction of the 1960s and ’70s.

À propos du hasard / About chance (publications)

  • Chance and the Modern British Novel: from Henry Green to Iris Murdoch (London: Continuum, 2010)
  • For recuperation”: Form and the Aleatory in B.S. Johnson’s The Unfortunates’, Textual Practice, 28: 5 (July, 2014), pp. 745–761
  • ‘Error and the Aleatory in the 1960s Experimental Novel’, in Flower/Power: British Literature in Transition 1960-1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017)
  • ‘Indeterminate Brooke-Rose’ Textual Practice, 32: 2 (May, 2018)
  • Late Modernism and the Avant-Garde British Novel: Oblique Strategies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2020)

perspectives sur le hasard / on chance

My work has always revolved around questions of chance and its related concepts – accident, contingency, indeterminacy – and their representation in narrative. My first monograph, Chance and the Modern British Novel: from Henry Green to Iris Murdoch (Continuum, 2010) grew from my PhD, and examines the representation of chance in the British and Irish novel in the mid-twentieth century. I argue that a specific confluence of cultural and intellectual developments in the immediately post-war period – for instance, early twentieth-century avant-garde movements such as Dada and Surrealism, the growth of statistical and probabilistic branches of mathematics, the influence of existentialism, and the uncertainty and fragmentation induced by the war itself – inculcated a fascination with chance, or an aleatory anxiety that had profound effect on the novel form. Examining period explorations of epistemological uncertainty, philosophical analyses of possibility, and post-existential preoccupations with issues of contingency, I explore the ways in which chance has functioned in teleological narrative, whereby it yields to the insistent demands of narrative causality. Acknowledging isolated moments where this neutering assimilation has been resisted, subverted, or postponed, I identify a reconceptualization of chance’s status in the text as a difficult, marginal, unrepresentable ‘other’ which becomes textually manifest in an act of incorporation that has wide ethical, philosophical and narratological implications… [Read more]

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