Alex Murray


  • Room 0G.001 - 4 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I would be interested in supervising PhD students in many areas of modern literary studies, particularly:
-Decadence and Aestheticism;
-Oscar Wilde;
-literature and place;
Please contact me if you would like to discuss prospective projects.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

I specialise in British and American literature of the period 1880-1940, with particular expertise in: Decadence and writing of the fin de siècle; modernism; literature and place (particularly London and New York); travel writing; religion and literature. 


My fourth monograph, Decadent Conservatism: Aesthetics, Politics, and the Past, was published by Oxford University Press in 2023. It offers the first examination of the intersections between conservatism and the literary traditions of aestheticism and Decadence, with chapters on: Decadent-conservative little magazines; politicians and Decadence; Folk Decadence; 'Throne-and-Altar' Decadence; Decadence and Imperialism. I am currently editing (with Kate Hext) The Oxford Handbook of Oscar Wilde, and  recently edited with Sarah Parker For That Moment Only, And Other Prose Works for the MHRA's Jewelled Tortoise Series, bringing previoulsy unpublished prose writing by Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper, who wrote under the name Michael Field, to print. Other edited collections include Decadence: A Literary History (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and with Kate Hext  Decadence in the Age of Modernism, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019) and with Jason David Hall, Decadent Poetics: Literature and Form at the British Fin de Siècle (Palgrave, 2013). My previous monograph, Landscapes of Decadence: Literature and Place at the Fin de Siècle, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. Other recent or forthcoming publications include essays on:  Evelyn Waugh and the 1890s; F. Scott Fitzgerald and European Decadence; John Dos Passos and Vision; Elizabethan Literature and 1890s Decadence; 'Michael Field' and late-Victorian travel; Decadence in Britain and Ireland beyond London; Sylvia Townsend Warner, Blake, and Rural Politics; Michael Field and RomanticismVernon Lee's British and Irish Travel writing; Decadence and Experience;  Michael Field's Nonconformist Social Politics; The Conservative and Patriotic 1890s; Decadent Constantinople; Charlotte Mew and Silence. I have appeared on BBC Radio's In Our Time discussing The Decadent Movement, and with Margaret D. Stetz I have published a lost story by the New Woman writer George Egerton in the TLS. In 2022 I established, with my colleagues Kate Hext (University of Exeter) and Kristin Mahoney (Michigan State University), a new journal: Cusp: Late Nineteenth-/Early Twentieth- Century Cultures, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. 

    Image result for landscapes of decadence: literature and place at the fin de siècle  Decadence  

My earlier work included a mongraph, two edited collections and a special journal issue on Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, an edited collection on the French philosopher Gilbert Simondon, and a Handbook of Modernism. My first monograph, Recalling London (2007) examined the politics of history in contemporary London literature. My work on Agamben has been translated into Italian, Turkish, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese.

Giorgio Agamben: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover 13763503 The Agamben Dictionary The Work of Giorgio Agamben






Decadent Conservatism: Aesthetics, Politics, and the Past. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023.

Landscapes of Decadence: Literature and Place at the Fin de Siècle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Giorgio Agamben. Routledge Critical Thinkers Series. London: Routledge, 2010.

Recalling London: Literature and History in the Work of Peter Ackroyd and Iain Sinclair. London: Continuum, 2007.


Critical Edition


(With Sarah Parker), Michael Field, For That Moment Only, And Other Prose Works. Cambridge, MHRA: 2022.


Edited Collections and Special Journal Issues


With Kate Hext, The Oxford Handbook of Oscar Wilde. Oxford University Press - under contract.

Decadence: A Literary History. Cambridge University Press, 2020.

With Kate Hext, Decadence in the Age of Modernism. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019.

With Vike Plock, Special Issue of Literature Compass on Sylvia Townsend Warner Vol. 11, No. 12, 2014.

With Jason David Hall, Decadent Poetics: Literature and Form at the British Fin de Siècle. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

With Arne de Boever, Jonathan Roffe and Ashley Woodward, Gilbert Simondon: Being and Technology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012.

With Jessica Whyte, The Agamben Dictionary. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011.

With Thanos Zartaloudis, ‘Law and Thought: on the Work of Giorgio Agamben.’ Special issue of Law & Critique 20:3 2009

With Philip Tew, The Modernism Handbook. London: Continuum, 2009.

With Justin Clemens and Nick Heron, The Work of Giorgio Agamben: Law, Life, Literature.  Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008.


Journal Editing

2022-present - Founding editor of Cusp: Late Nineteenth-/Early Twentieth- Century Cultures (Johns Hopkins University Press)

2006-2014 - Founding editor of parrhesia: a Journal of Critical Philosophy




'Havelock Ellis and Decadent Conversion', Christianity & Literature 73:1 (2024) - Forthcoming.

'Conservative', Victorian Literature and Culture 46.3/4 Special Issue: Keywords Redux (2023), 371–374.

'Decadent Constantinople: Symons, Flecker, and Nicolson', Victoriographies 13:2 (2023), 151–173.

'Michael Field's Philosophy Notebook', Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism 7 (2022), 87–138.

‘"Blundering Brutuses": Michael Field, Nonconformism, and the Politics of Social Purity', Literature & Theology 36:3 (2022), 229–251.

'Editors' Introduction', Cusp: Late 19th-/Early 20th-Century Cultures 1:1 (2022), 1–8.

'Unionism, Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism: Ruraidh Erskine of Marr at the Fin de Siècle', Studies in Scottish Literature 48:1. (2022) Special Issue: Scottish Cosmopolitanism at the Fin de Siècle, eds. Matthew Creasy and Michael Shaw, 61–70. 

'Decadent Experience: Conservatism and Modernity', Victorian Literature and Culture 49:4 (2021) Special Issue: Scales of Decadence, ed. Dennis Denisoff, 667–687.

'Michael Field's Wordsworth', Victorian Poetry 58:4 (2020), 427-450.

'Jerusalem Building: Lolly Willowes, Blake and Rural Politics', Modernist Cultures 15:4 (2020), 419–441.

'"To See Clearly": John Dos Passos and Vision', Textual Practice 34:7 (2020), 1187–1206

'“Through Variously Tinted Cosmopolitan Glasses”: Vernon Lee’s Travel Writing of the British Isles', Studies in Travel Writing 23:4 (2019), 342–357.

'Fin-de-Siècle Decadence and Elizabethan Literature', English Literature in Transition 1880-1920 62.4 (2019), 482–505.

‘The Dance of Death: Fitzgerald and Decadence’, MFS Modern Fiction Studies 62:3. (2016), 387–411.

‘Decadence Revisited: Evelyn Waugh and the Afterlife of the 1890s’, Modernism/modernity 22:3 (2015), 593–607.

‘Decadent Conservatism: Politics and Aesthetics in The Senate’, Journal of Victorian Culture 20: 2 (2015), 186–211

 ‘Recusant Poetics: Rereading Catholicism at the Fin de Siècle’, English Literature in Transition 56:3 (2013), 355–373.

 ‘“The Majesty of that Unknown”: Edgar Saltus and Decadent Futurity’, Symbiosis: A Journal of Transatlantic Literary Studies 16:1 (2012), 177–189. 

 'Vestiges of the Phoenix: De Quincey, Kant and the Heavens’, Victoriographies 1:2 (2011), 243–260.

 ‘Forgetting London: Paris, Cultural Cartography and Decadent Politics’, Journeys: A Journal of Travel Literature 11:2 (2010), 30–50. Republished in The Long Journey: Exploring Travel and Travel Writing, Edited by Maria Pia Di Bella and Brian Yothers (New York: Berghahn, 2020).

 ‘Autoptic Film’, Cardozo Law Review 31:4 (2010), 1217–1231.

‘Jack the Ripper, The Dialectic of Enlightenment and the Search for Spiritual Deliverance in White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings’, Critical Survey 16.1, (2004) 52–66.

‘Reading London Stone: The Paradox of Material History in Representations of Contemporary London’, Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London 2.1,  (2004)


Book Chapters

'Wilde in Oxford', in The Oxford Handbook of Oscar Wilde. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2024 - in press. 

'Charlotte Mew's Silence', in Charlotte Mew: Poetics, Ecologies, Bodies. Francesca Bratton, Megan Girdwood and Fraser Riddell, eds. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2023 - in press.

'The Conservative and Patriotic 1890s' in Nineteenth-Century Literature in Transition: The 1890s. Dustin Friedman and Kristin Mahoney, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023, 246-263.  

'The Vitality of Dorian Gray: Darwin, Philosophy, Life’ in The Picture of Dorian Gray in the Twenty-First Century. Richard A. Kaye (ed.). Oxford University Press, 2023 – in press. 

'Britain and Ireland: Decadence Beyond London' in The Oxford Handbook of Decadence. Jane Desmarais and David Weir eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022, 153–173.

'Louise Imogen Guiney and the Stuart Past' in Borderlands: The Art and Scholarship of Louise Imogen Guiney. Holly Nelson and Jonathan Nauman eds. The Vaughan Association, 2021, 124–142. 

'Introduction: Decadent Histories' in Decadence: A Literary History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020, 1–17.

With Ellen Crowell, 'Writing Decadent Lives and Letters' in Decadence: A Literary History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020, 377–393.

‘“Profane Travellers”: Michael Field, Cornwall and Modern Tourism’ in Michael Field, Decadent Moderns. Sarah Parker and Ana Parejo Vadillo (eds.). Ohio University Press, 2019, 167–187

With Kate Hext, 'Introduction' in Decadence in the Age of Modernism. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019, 1–26.

 'Al di là dello spettacolo e dell’immagine: la poetica di Guy Debord e di Agamben', trans. Giuseppe Lucchesini, in Giorgio Agamben. Ontologia e politica. Ed. Valeria Bonacci. Macerata: Quadlibet, 2019. pp. 153–171.

'“The London Sunday Faded Slow”: Time to Spend in the Victorian City’ in The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Literary Culture. Juliet John (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, 310–326.

 ‘Enigmatic Intertexts: Decadence, De Quincey and the Sphinx’ in Decadent Romanticism. Kostas Boyiopoulos and Mark Sandy (eds.). Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, 89–102.

 ‘Expropriated Experience: Agamben Reading Benjamin, Reading Kant’ in Towards the Critique of Violence: Walter Benjamin and Giorgio Agamben. Brendan Moran and Carlo Salzani. (eds.). London: Bloomsbury, 2015, 215–230.

 ‘The Heritage Industry and Historiographical Metafiction: Historical Representation in the 1980s’ in 1980s: A Decade of Contemporary British Fiction. Philip Tew, Emily Horton, Leigh Wilson (eds). London: Bloomsbury, 2014, 125–150.

 With Jason David Hall, 'Introduction' in Decadent Poetics: Literature and Form at the British Fin de Siècle. Houndsmill: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 1–25.

With Jessica Whyte, 'Introduction: The Lexicographer and the Sovereign' in The Agamben Dictionary. Alex Murray and Jessica Whyte (eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011, 1–14.

‘“This Light was Pale and Ghostly”: Stewart Home, Horror and the Gothic Destruction of “London”’ in Gothic London. Lawrence Phillips and Anne Witchard (eds.). London: Continuum, 2010, 65–79.

‘Changes in the Canon’ in The Modernism Handbook. Alex Murray and Philip Tew (eds.) Continuum: London, 2009, 158–169.

With Philip Tew, ‘Introduction: Starting with Modernism’ in The Modernism Handbook. Alex Murray and Philip Tew (eds.). Continuum: London, 2009, 1–15.

‘Beyond Spectacle and the Image: the Poetics of Guy Debord and Agamben’ in The Work of Giorgio Agamben: Law, Life, Literature. Justin Clemens, Nick Heron and Alex Murray (eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008, 164–180. 

With Justin Clemens and Nick Heron, ‘Introduction: The Enigma of Giorgio Agamben’  in The Work of Giorgio Agamben: Law, Life, Literature. Justin Clemens, Nick Heron and Alex Murray (eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008, 1–12.

‘Literary Genealogy and the Aesthetics of Critique in the Work of Iain Sinclair’ in City Visions: The Work of Iain Sinclair. Jenny Bavidge and Robert Bond, eds. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007, 68–81. 




I convene the following modules:

ENG1005 - Reading the Modern City (co-taught with Dr Tom Hulme from History)

ENG2060 - Modernism and Modernity

ENG3183 - Writing New York, 1880-1940

On the MA in English Literary Studies

ENG7362 - Decadence and the Birth of Modernism.

External Examining

I have been an External Examiner for

2019-2023 - BA English Literature,  University of Liverpool

2019-2023 - BA English, Queen Mary, University of London.

Ph.D. Supervision

I have supervised eleven PhDs to completion, seven as first supervisor, with topics including: Oscar Wilde and Colour; horticultural modernism; Joyce and Critical Theory; contemporary poetry and excavation; Victorian alternative history writing; espionage fiction and national identity; Cold War nature writing; modernism and aviation; the contemporary novel and 'big data'; a critical component for a creative writing PhD on Lesbian Historical Fiction.

I am currently primary supervisor of PhD projects on: Oscar Wilde and historiography; early Ulster modernism; Virginia Woolf and dance; Decadence and Protestantism.

I would be interested in supervising PhD students in: Decadence and Aestheticism; modernism; literature (1860-1940) and place/politics/religion.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss prospective projects.



I undertook my BA (Hons) and PhD in English Literature at the University of Melbourne. Following my studies I moved to the UK in 2006, where I was a Teaching Fellow at University College London, before working as a Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer in Modern Literature at the University of Exeter (2007-2015). In April 2015 I joined Queen's University Belfast.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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