Dr Allan Johnson

Research Interests

Allan Johnson’s research centres broadly around literary modernism, esotericism, sexuality, and narrative theory.  He is the author of Alan Hollinghurst and the Vitality of Influence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and is currently completing a monograph entitled The Fisher King’s Wound: Sequence, Consequence and a Sense of the Beginning, 1919-1945.  Other work includes articles and chapters on an array of modern and contemporary writers including Stoker, Dreiser, Wharton, Shaw, Cather, Forster, Woolf, Waugh, James, Eliot, Doctorow, and Hollinghurst.

Contact Me

Phone: 01483 68 3122

Find me on campus
Room: 39 AC 05

My office hours

Mondays 1-3


Journal articles

  • Johnson AD. (2017) 'The Pleasure of “Conspicuous Leisure" in Sister Carrie and The House Mirth'. Taylor & Francis English Studies,


    The growth of leisure time for the middle- and working-classes during the Second Industrial Revolution gave rise to a newly modern leisure industry. This article argues that Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth center on this particular social and economical development as a means by which to establish that economic identity must be defined antithetically to the inescapable swell of mass, modern life. These novels illustrate a crucial economic transition in American history through their evaluation of the potential roles that Carrie Meeber and Lily Bart can play as objects of leisure, employees of the leisure industry, or bearers of what the economist Thorstein Veblen calls ‘conspicuous leisure.’ Dreiser and Wharton offer arch critiques of this new leisure class—not for populist or egalitarian purposes, but as a response to the toxic effects of a newly commoditized culture which supported and defined the leisured elite.

  • Johnson AD. (2016) ''Architectural Space and the Failures of ‘Complete’ Houses in Heartbreak House’'. Shaw: the Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies,
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Johnson AD. (2016) 'Designing ‘Authenticity’ in Digital Learning Environments'. Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, (9)
  • Johnson AD. (2016) '“The doors woulds be taken off their hinges”: Space, Place, and Architectural Absence in Virginia Woolf’'. English Studies,
  • Johnson AD. (2015) '‘It’s Vestimentary, My Dear Watson: Fashion, Disguise, and Criminality in Sherlock’'. Fashion, Film, and Consumption, 4 (2), pp. 115-127.
  • Johnson AD. (2015) '‘Thresholds of Interpretation: Identifying, Producing, and Supporting with The Turn of the Screw’'. CEA Critic, 77 (2), pp. 196-210.
  • Johnson AD. (2015) ''The Authentic and Artificial Histories of Mechanical Reproduction in Doctorow’s Ragtime’'. Orbis Litterarum, , pp. 89-107.
  • Johnson AD. (2013) ''Buried Temples and Open Planes: Alethea Hayter, Alan Hollinghurst, and the Architecture of Drug-Taking’'. Textual Practice, , pp. 1177-1195.
  • Johnson AD. (2010) '‘Artistic Excision and Scientific Production in Cather’s The Professor’s House’'. The Explicator,
  • Johnson AD. (2009) '‘Ambrose Silk, The Yellow Book, and The Ivory Tower: Influence and Jamesian Aesthetics in Put Out More Flags’'. Evelyn Waugh Newsletter and Studies,


  • Johnson A. (2017) Masculine Identity in Modernist Literature: Castration, Narration, and a Sense of the Beginning, 1919-1945. Palgrave Macmillan


    This book is about the modernist narrative voice and its correlation to medical, mythological, and psychoanalytic images of emasculation between 1919 and 1945. It shows how special-effects of rhetoric and form inspired by outré modernist developments in psychoanalysis, occultism, and negative philosophy reshaped both narrative structure and the literary depiction of modern masculine identity. In acknowledging early twentieth-century Anglo-American literature’s self-conscious and self-reflexive understanding of the effect of textual production, this engaging new study depicts a history of writers and readers understanding the role of textual absence in the development and chronicling of masculine anxiety and optimism.

  • Johnson A. (2014) Alan Hollinghurst and the Vitality of Influence. Palgrave Macmillan

Book chapters

  • Johnson AD. (2016) '‘A Gay Story, a History’: Gay Male Liberation and Queer Rumination'. in Schoene B (ed.) Accelerated Times: British Literature in Transition, 1980-2000 Cambridge University Press
    [ Status: In preparation ]


    In 1979 the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary upheld the guilty verdict in a blasphemy trial concerning James Kirkup’s ‘The Love that Dares to Speak its Name’ (1976), an intensely homoerotic poem about Christ’s crucifixion published in the Gay Liberation Front broadsheet Gay News. The Law Lords sustained both the fine and suspended prison sentence for Gay News publisher Denis Lemon, and the European Commission of Human Rights declined to hear a further appeal. Still remembered as the final prosecution for blasphemy in England, Whitehouse v Lemon was the last of several high-profile censorship and obscenity cases in Britain involving homoerotic literature – including Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness (1928) and James Hanley’s Boy (1931) – a worrying register that led E. M. Forster to sense that his novel Maurice (1971) could not be published during his lifetime. Despite the eventual decriminalization of homosexuality in 1967, gay writers continued to face both legal and public scrutiny for a number of years, a concern exacerbated by the introduction of Section 28 of the Local Government Act in 1988, which criminalized the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality. However, the two decades between Whitehouse v Lemon and the initial move to repeal Section 28 in 2000 also brought for gay male writers not only widening mainstream recognition but moreover new legal, social and political freedoms to draw attention to and help evaluate the complexities of a fundamentally altered gay British experience.

  • Johnson AD. (2009) '‘Modernity and Anxiety in Bram Stoker’s Dracula’'. in Lynch J (ed.) Dracula Ipswich : Salem Press
  • Johnson AD. (2009) ''Voices and Language in T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land’'. in Riquelme JP (ed.) T.S. Eliot
  • Johnson AD. (2008) '‘”You are not, not, not to look at your Baedeker”: Renovation of Space and the Mediating Presence of Baedeker’s Northern Italy in E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View’'. in Tague G (ed.) Origins of English Literary Modernism, 1870-1914 Palo Alto, CA : Academica

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