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Assistant Professor in the Department of English StudiesRoom 265, Elvet Riverside 2+44 (0) 191 33 44334


Research Interests

Office hour 2020-21: Wed 11-12

I am Assistant Professor in World Literatures in English. My research focuses on literary style, ‘world literature’ and the historical sociology of modernity. My first book, The Politics of Style: Towards a Marxist Poetics (Brill: 2017), developed a systematic theory of literary style through an immanent critique of the work of Raymond Williams, Terry Eagleton and Fredric Jameson. I have since continued to refine my thinking on style in articles for Poetics Today, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Literary Theory, and Textual Practice (the latter forthcoming).

I am currently working on three further book projects. The first, Capital Personified: The Impersonality Variations, is an interdisciplinary study of literary impersonality in ‘world literature’ across the long twentieth century: from the writings of Karl Marx, through early twentieth-century modernism and literary criticism, to contemporary postcolonial fiction and literary theory. It connects and intervenes in four debates: the question of modernist impersonality (its nature, range and variable political valences); contemporary theories of ‘world literature’; the notion of capitalism as a system of ‘impersonal domination’; and what might broadly be called the ‘poetics of critique.’ 

The second, Raymond Williams and ‘World Literature’, is a continuation of my engagement with Williams’s work. It reads Williams’s late work in particular – from the 1970s onwards – as a complement and challenge to prevailing materialist approaches to ‘world literature.’ I argue that his writings on Wales, nationalism, modernism, the classics, writing and orality, not to mention his cultural materialist methodology more generally, offer a powerful anti-imperial conception of literacy and a novel understanding of universality, intellectuality, and education. I have offered a first version of these reflections in an article to appear in an edited volume (2021) celebrating the centenary of Williams’s birth. For 2022, I have been invited to edit a special issue of the journal Key Words, the topic for which will be ‘Raymond Williams and “World Literature.”’ 

The third book project, provisionally entitled Writing and Resisting the Modern World-System, focuses on the formal and generic challenges of ‘non-fictional’ writing on the capitalist world-system. Ranging across Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-systems analysis, Marxist anthropology, workers’ inquiries, committed journalism, and revolutionary memoirs, I try to suggest that ostensibly ‘non-fictional’ writings share many of the same representational challenges as literary fiction, and that these formal concerns are often integral – or obstacles – to their radical political projects. 

Long term, I hope to write an intellectual history of cultural revolution. To this end I have already published two preparatory articles, both on the early Marx: one on the relevance of Schiller’s conception of aesthetic education for the early Marx’s theory of revolution, and one on objectivity, alienation and the senses in the 1844 Manuscripts.

I have ongoing interests in the history of aesthetics, the Anthropocene/ Capitalocene, and theories of the subject in radical contemporary thought.

Academic Biography

I completed my B.A. in English Literature at the University of Cardiff, during which I worked for one year as an assistant d'anglais at a lycée in Orléans (France). Following my undergraduate studies, I returned to France to work as a lecteur d'anglais for one year at Université Nancy 2 and Sciences Po. From 2008-2010, I undertook a two-year Research M.A. in Literary Studies at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. I was subsequently awarded a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (Germany). Following my Ph.D., I worked for two years as a wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, and 6 months as a Temporary Professor, in the English department at Gießen. From 2016-18, I was a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for World Literatures at the University of Leeds, working as part of a Leverhulme project entitled “Traumatic Pasts, Cosmopolitanism, and Nation-Building in Contemporary World Literature.” In summer 2018, I was appointed Assistant Professor of World Literatures at Durham.


I welcome applications or informal queries relating to Ph.D. supervision in research areas which overlap with my own, in particular:

  • Anglo-American Marxist literary theory (especially the work of Raymond Williams)
  • Althusserian and post-Althusserian thought (esp. Badiou and Rancière)
  • Materialist approaches to "world literature"
  • Most areas of Marxist poetics/ aesthetics


Authored book

  • Hartley, Daniel (2016). The Politics of Style: Towards a Marxist Poetics. Leiden: Brill.

Chapter in book

Edited book

  • Olson, Greta, Horn, Mirjam, Hartley, Daniel & Schmidt, Regina (2018). Beyond Gender: An Advanced Introduction to Futures of Feminist and Sexuality Studies. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Basseler, Michael, Hartley, Daniel & Nünning, Ansgar (2015). Emergent Forms of Life in Anglophone Literature: Conceptual Frameworks and Critical Analyses. Trier: WVT.

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Hartley, Daniel (2019). The Person, Historical Time and the Universalisation of Capital. Salvage