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Christopher Griffin

Languages and Literature, University of Warwick

Thesis title:

The Aesthetics of the Secret in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction, 1998 – 2018

Why do novels contain secrets? What purposes does ‘the secret’ serve in the contemporary novel? And why is this significant for understanding the social and political significance of novels in the twenty-first century? These questions guide the central focus of my thesis, which examines how an aesthetics of the secret in some Anglophone novels since the turn of the twenty-first century articulate the extent to which the novel can expose and contest neoliberalism in Britain. The relationship between neoliberalism and the dialectic of transparency and secrecy can be traced back through its intellectual history. Cumulatively, the understanding of transparency throughout these debates and advancements expresses a desire to eliminate social and psychological frictions that prevent the development of a seamless web between the economy and society. In Britain, the Thatcher, Major, and New Labour administrations shared this concern and were particularly influenced by some of neoliberalism’s intellectual architects. Building from this understanding of an ideational and institutional relationship between neoliberalism, transparency, and secrecy in Britain, my thesis investigates the contemporary Anglophone novel’s own relationship with ‘the secret’ and how it intersects with this neoliberal transformation of transparency and secrecy.

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature


Griffin, Christopher J. "A close-reading of Anthony Joseph's 'Bosch's Vision' from Bird Head Son (2009)." Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds, 2020, https://writersmakeworlds.com/essay-joseph-boschs-vision/. Accessed 28 September 2020.

Griffin, C. J. “Anthony Joseph.” Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds, 2020, https://writersmakeworlds.com/anthony-joseph/. Accessed 28 September 2020.

Griffin, Christopher, 'A Brave New Postmodern Ustopia: (pre-)figurations of neoliberal capitalist realism in H.G. Well’s A Modern Utopia and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World', Innervate: Leading Student Work in English Studies, Volume 11 (2018-19), pp. 194 - 202.


Oct 2020 - Present, Conference Organiser, Treasurer, 'The Hidden in Performance, Visual, and Literary Culture' (September 2021), Cyberspace.

Jul 2020: Panel Chair, 'Capitalism in Crisis', In Crisis: Art in the Eras of Emergency 1750 – Present (6th - 10th July), University of Cambridge.

Oct 2019 - Jul 2020: Conference Organiser, Chair and Treasurer, In Crisis: Art in the Eras of Emergency 1750 – Present, University of Cambridge.

Apr 2019: Presenter, ‘Towards a Melanated Future: An xposition of an alter|native Afrofuturism in Anthony Joseph’s The African Origins of UFOs, School of English Showcase, University of Nottingham.

Public Engagement & Impact

Nov 2020: Presenter, AHRC-M4C, 'Midlands4Cities Application Writing Workshop for 2021 entry', Cyberspace.

May 2020: Gave a seminar for a Widening Participation Cohort, “Contemporary Literature, Cultural Theory, and Capital: A Discussion of Mark Fisher's Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?", University of Cambridge.

Other Research Interests

Anglophone Fiction and Poetry since 1975 (esp. Britain and the Caribbean).
Experimental and Avant-garde Literature.
Neoliberalism and the State in Literature.
Biopolitics, Poststructuralism, and Postmodernism.
Anti-/Post-colonial Theory and Literature.
Black SF and Afrofuturism.
Neurodivergency (esp. autism/ASC).
Affect and Aesthetics.
Intersection of Literature and Continental Philosophy.


Education and Training

MPhil Modern and Contemporary Literature, University of Cambridge, 2020. Distinction.
BA English (Single Honours), University of Nottingham, 2019. First Class.
A-Levels: Northampton (Further Education) College.
GCSE: Kingsthorpe Community College.

Awards, Scholarships, and Grants

Dec 2020: Cohort Development Fund, funding for organising the postgraduate academic conference 'The Hidden in Performance, Visual, and Literary Culture' (£963).

Apr 2020: Midlands4Cities AHRC Doctoral Studentship Award, University of Warwick, (Full) - Accepted.

Apr 2020: Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP - Pembroke College Match-funded Studentship - (Politely) Declined.

Dec 2019: Cambridge Graduate Funding Committee, funding for organising the postgraduate academic conference 'In Crisis: Art in the Eras of Emergency, 1750 – Present' (£400).

Oct 2019: Sir Thomas White Award: awarded to ‘exceptionally academically high-achieving young people’ (£500).

Oct 2019: Sargeant and Beckett Educational Foundation Award (£500).

Jul 2019: ‘University Prize’ – awarded to an exemplary student graduating from the University of Nottingham's Faculty of Arts (£100).

Jul 2019: Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Academic Excellence Award; for attaining a mark profile 'within the top 3% of the graduating cohort'.

Jun 2019: School of English Prize for Best Undergraduate Dissertation: 'for an outstanding dissertation with a grade of 85%' (£50).

Jun 2019: School of English Prize for Best Single Honours Student: ‘for an overall average of 79%’ (£100).

March 2019: Cambridge UK Masters and Pembroke College Scholarship: awarded to ‘top-scoring applicants’ for one-year’s postgraduate study (£12,000).

Sep 2018: Sargeant and Beckett Educational Foundation Award (£500).

Sep 2018: Sir Thomas White Award, awarded to ‘exceptionally academically high-achieving young people’ (£1000).

Jun 2018: Dorothy Johnson Trust Award (£300).

Jun 2018: Sargeant and Beckett Educational Foundation Award (£800).