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Georgia Poplett

Research Postgraduate

Research Postgraduate in the Department of English Studies


I am a Postgraduate Researcher based between the Department of English Studies and the Institute for Medical Humanities under the supervision of Dr Naomi Booth and Professor Angela Woods. My research is generously funded by the AHRC via the Northern Bridge Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership. I am also a member of the first Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing Doctoral Training Programme cohort.

My research considers models for writing the lived experience of postpartum psychosis under contemporary, pandemic-era birthing conditions. Postpartum psychosis is a highly stigmatised and clinically complex mental illness, whose treatment pathways predominantly lead to the psychiatric unit and whose ontological modes may complicate its referentiality. My project looks to the textual anatomy of Gothic – a genre notable for its power to haunt and unsettle – in articulating what is difficult to represent about the intersubjectivity of this experience. In doing so, I draw on the insights and problematics of life-writing and fiction from the late modern to contemporary periods and, as part of my methodology, explore the production of original novel-writing as academic discourse.

Through this unusual partnership, my research hopes to contribute to cultural dialogue around postpartum psychosis and locate the fiction novel as an important site for thinking and communicating about maternal mental health. I am interested in the tensions arising at this intersection, particularly in the category of ‘confinement’ which bridges the triad of Gothic, pandemic and psychiatric contexts in which I am working. My research asks: what practices of reading will best inform such a novel, one both enriched by Gothic and true to embodied experience? In seeking to answer this, my work elaborates the innovations of literary practice and the critical medical humanities, and gratefully engages in knowledge exchange with experts-by-experience.

My academic background is in the Arts and Humanities. I have studied at the Universities of Exeter and Alberta (BA English with First Class Honours, 2018) and Birkbeck in London (MFA Creative Writing with Distinction, 2020) where I developed the inceptive strands of my current research. At Durham, I also teach two tutorials on the ENGL1061 module Introduction to the Novel. My writing has appeared in the Mechanics’ Institute Review and the LucyWriters platform in collaboration with Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.

I welcome enquiries about my thesis and potential collaboration opportunities.

  • An interview with Elinor Cleghorn: ‘History is not a linear road to good.’ LucyWriters for the Our Body’s Bodies series. Published 4 February 2022.
  • Interview with Valentine Carter: ‘We know who we are because we know where we’ve come from.’ LucyWriters. Published 6 October 2021.
  • On First Looking into Wilson’s Homer: Womxn’s War for Words. LucyWriters for the Life in Languages series. Published 27 November 2020. 
  • ‘She Herself is a Haunted House.’ Mechanics’ Institute Review Online. Published 9 November 2020.