Dr James Smith

James Smith

Dr James Smith

Senior Lecturer in Literature and Theory

Phone: +44 1784 443220

Personal profile

J.A. Smith is a literary scholar and political commentator. 

James's literary scholarship focuses on the mid eighteenth-century novel, especially the work of Samuel Richardson. He also writes about the history of literary criticism and critical theory; in particular the approaches of Walter Benjamin, F.R. Leavis, the British New Left, and the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan. 

James's writings on the Labour Party under Corbyn, Brexit, the far right, and post-2016 political movements have appeared in the Independent, Newsweek, Jacobin and other media. He has been interviewed on these topics on Ireland's RTÉ Radio 1 and in the Guardian. He frequently gives talks to political groups, Constituency Labour Parties, and at radical bookshops.

James welcomes media requests on any political topics. Please address requests relating to 'post-work' and theories of work to both James and Mareile Pfannebecker. 

His first book is Samuel Richardson and the Theory of Tragedy. Other People's Politics: Populism to Corbynism was published by Zer0 Books in 2019.

Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism (co-written with Dr Mareile Pfannebecker) appears with Zed Books early in 2020.

He is also editing a book of essays on Richardson with Dr Rebecca Anne Barr.

James is the supervisor of Mikey Atienza's PhD thesis on the work of T.S. Eliot. He is happy to be contacted about graduate work on any literary topic, and by students wishing to study contemporary politics and media using critical theory approaches. 


Research interests

* Eighteenth-century literature, especially the novels of Samuel Richardson

* The reception of Shakespeare in the eighteenth century

* Cultural theory and literary criticism, their history and their application today

* Contemporary politics


EN3233 Interrogations of Culture: Theory and Thinkers

EN3126: The Other Side of Enlightenment: the 18th Century in Literature, Theory, and Film

EN2324: Contemporary Debates in Literary Theory 

EN2120: Age of Oppositions, Literature 1660-1780

EN1105 Literature and Crisis

EN1107: Re-Orienting the Novel


Educational background

Dr Smith undertook his undergraduate and postgraduate study at the University of Manchester 

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