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Dr Stephen Burn

Dr Stephen Burn

Reader in Post-1945 American English Literature



Stephen J. Burn’s research explores the way the contemporary American novel has been shaped and distorted by the late twentieth-century ascent of the sciences of mind. In a series of essays devoted to such writers as Don DeLillo, Jonathan Franzen, Nicole Krauss, Richard Powers, Lynne Tillman, and David Foster Wallace, he has argued that such axial concerns as character motivation, literary language, narrative structure, and periodization, can be reframed by reading the contemporary novel in a cultural matrix that registers the increasing influence of neuroscientific thought.

Research and Teaching Interests

Published essays on neuroscience and contemporary American fiction; edited special issue of Modern Fiction Studies on “Neuroscience and Modern Fiction”; currently writing an essay on the 21st-Century "neuronovel” for a Cambridge UP volume; working on a book manuscript about the American novel and neuroscience.



Teaching Materials:


  • College of Arts, School of Critical Studies