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Adam Kelly



Adam Kelly joined the department in 2013 as a lecturer in American Literature.

From 2011-2013 he was a postdoctoral fellow in the English Department at Harvard University. He received his PhD from University College Dublin in 2010, and holds an MA from York and a BA from UCD.

His primary research interests include postwar and contemporary American fiction, literary and critical theory, and the history of ideas. He holds secondary research and teaching interests in the broader fields of American literature and American Studies, in the history of the novel, in continental philosophy, in Irish literature of the Celtic Tiger period, in contemporary film, and in the relationship between literature, politics and and economics.



Adam is a member of the Modern Research School and the interdisciplinary Centre for Modern Studies at York.

His first book, American Fiction in Transition: Observer-Hero Narrative, the 1990s, and Postmodernism, was published by Bloomsbury in 2013.  Taking as its focus the observer-hero narrative, a key but neglected genre of American literary fiction, the book explores representations of agency after postmodernism in novels of the 1990s. American Fiction in Transition includes close readings of novels by Philip Roth, Paul Auster, E. L. Doctorow, Jeffrey Eugenides and Ernest J. Gaines.

Adam’s second book project is American Fiction at the Millennium: Neoliberalism and the New Sincerity. It explores the revival of interest in the relationships between literature, sincerity and social life among the generation of American novelists born in and around the 1960s. Writers whose fiction is examined in the project include Michael Chabon, Junot Díaz, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Jeffrey Eugenides, George Saunders, Dana Spiotta, Colson Whitehead, and David Foster Wallace.

Adam has given invited lectures and seminars at a range of universities, including Columbia, Brandeis, Tufts and Belmont in the USA; Edinburgh, Keele and Durham in the UK; and Melbourne in Australia. His research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Irish Research Council, and the Andrew A. Mellon Foundation.


Adam would welcome inquiries from students interested in pursuing doctoral work in late-twentieth and early-twenty-first-century American fiction, in literary theory, and in Irish fiction and film of the Celtic Tiger period.



In 2014-15, Adam is convening the period module American Literature: 1910-present, and the special module 21st-Century American Fiction: Postmodernism and Beyond. He is also teaching on Nineteenth-Century American Literature, and supervising undergraduate dissertations on a range of topics, mostly in the fields of postwar and contemporary American fiction.

Before coming to York, Adam designed and taught undergraduate modules in contemporary American fiction at Harvard University and University College Dublin.


Adam is currently the programme convenor of the MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture, and convenes the core module, Reading Modernity.

Adam also convenes Political Fictions: Film and the Novel in the Global 21st Century, an option module taught between the MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture and the MA in Film and Literature.

Adam Kelly

Contact details

Dr Adam Kelly
Department of English and Related Literature
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 44 1904 324571