Portrait of Dr Paul March-Russell

Dr Paul March-Russell

Lecturer in Comparative Literature


Before taking up his post in the Department of Comparative Literature, Dr Paul March-Russell was Director of Part-Time Studies from 2008 to 2015 and remains committed to widening participation in higher education.

Paul is editor of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, the commissioning editor for SF Storyworlds (Gylphi Press), and an editorial advisor to Short Fiction in Theory and Practice and Journal of the Short Story in English. In 2016-18, he was one of the judges for the Arthur C. Clarke Award

Other affiliations include the European Network for Short Fiction Research , Women's Tales (a research project into contemporary women’s short fiction based at the University of Santiago de Compostela), the Katherine Mansfield Society and the May Sinclair Society. 

He co-organised the Charles Olson 2010 conference held at Kent and 2017: A Clarke Odyssey at Canterbury Christ Church University. He has organised a number of readings at Kent by leading literary figures, including M. John Harrison in 2018.

His most recent publications are Modernism and Science Fiction (Palgrave, 2015), The Postcolonial Short Story, co-edited with Maggie Awadalla (Palgrave, 2013),and Legacies of Romanticism, co-edited with Carmen Casaliggi (Routledge, 2012). His other publications include The Short Story: An Introduction (Edinburgh University Press, 2009). 

Paul was awarded a Faculty of Humanities teaching prize and was twice shortlisted for Kent Union Awards in Best Supervision and Best Academic Adviser. In 2018, he received a certificate for outstanding student support. Since 2010, he has been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.   

Research interests

Paul's main research interests focus on the short story, science fiction and Romantic legacies, but with interests also in small-press poetry, women’s writing, and postcolonial/eco-critical theories.   

PhD student Imogen Lesser-Woods (co-supervised with Prof Gordana Fontana-Giusti) graduated in July 2018 with an interdisciplinary thesis on the work of Mervyn Peake. Paul is currently co-supervising two PhD students on the role of mesmerism in the long 19th century, and representations of the body in 20th and 21st dystopian fiction.  


Paul teaches Romanticism, science fiction, European realism, and postmodernism.


Showing 50 of 58 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • March-Russell, P. (2018). Arms and the Woman: The Public Intellectual in Zoe Lambert's War Tour. C21 Literature [Online] 6. Available at: http://doi.org/10.16995/c21.71.
    This article explores Zoe Lambert’s short story collection, The War Tour (2008), in relation to the debates surrounding the public intellectual and the literary response to the War on Terror. It makes a claim for Lambert’s collection to be considered not only as the work of a public intellectual but that it also contests what it means to be an intellectual at a time of historical crisis. In dwelling upon real-life figures such as the revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg and the physicist Lise Meitner, Lambert also reflects upon her own position as a supporter of the Stop the War Coalition. The relationship to the public sphere is complicated by Lambert’s gender, and of the women that she writes about; a complication which not only unsettles the definition of a public intellectual but is also articulated through the oblique strategies of the short story collection.
  • March-Russell, P. (2017). The abcanny politics of landscape in Lucy Wood’s Diving Belles. Short Fiction in Theory and Practice [Online] 7:53-65. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/fict.7.1.53_1.
    In a recent article on the eeriness of the English countryside, Robert Macfarlane juxtaposes an official version of English culture, which emphasizes heritage, progress and national unity, with the unofficial versions of ‘Englishness’ being offered by writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers that emphasize local differences, dispossessed peoples or communities, and historical decay or regression. These themes, according to Macfarlane, are mediated through preoccupations with violence, ruins and the uncanny – the revival of interest in Weird fiction writers, such as M. R.
    James, being exemplary. This article takes up but also expands upon Macfarlane’s argument by focussing on a recent text: Lucy Wood’s 2012 collection, Diving Belles. Of interest here is Wood’s use of the Cornish landscape that she invests not only with literal spirits and ghosts but also with a Weird-like sense of what China Miéville has termed the ‘abcanny’, such that her stories hover somewhere between the traditional ghost story, mundane realism and a peculiarly English variant of magical realism. Although there is little overt political content in Wood’s stories, this article argues that the abcanny form of her stories, whilst also contesting heritage-based representations of Cornwall, mediates the ambiguous relationship of Cornwall towards
    the English political heartlands. In this sense, then, Macfarlane’s argument can be helpfully developed since, whilst haunted versions of the English countryside can become assimilated into an official model of national heritage, the abcanny landscape remains estranged from such cultural and political appropriation.
  • March-Russell, P. (2011). Exploding the Open Book: The Atrocity Exhibition, Vermilion Sands and the Ethics of the Short Story Cycle. Short Fiction in Theory and Practice [Online] 1:95-108. Available at: http://doi.org/10.1386/fict.1.1.95_1.
    In 1989, Robert Luscher distinguished the terms 'short story sequence' and 'short story cycle'. Luscher argued that the term 'cycle', associated with texts such as Joyce's Dubliners (1914), presupposes a totality. Instead, Luscher proposed the term 'sequence' to denote collections in which the text does not arrive at a unity, but with each successive story opens and expands. The individual meanings are not subsumed within the whole but instead grow within, what Luscher calls an 'open book'.

    Luscher's account is a revisionary exercise that substitutes 'sequence' for 'cycle'. He does not consider their respective differences in terms of the modernist/postmodern paradigm. Instead, Luscher's use of linear and binary thinking places his critique not only on the side of modernism but also on definitions of the short story that emphasize its impressionistic and epiphanic qualities. The openness of the sequence is, in practice, far less liberated than Luscher claims.

    While the stories assembled to form Vermilion Sands (1971) can be described as late modernist pieces, the avant-garde design of The Atrocity Exhibition (1970) effectively explodes Luscher's 'open book' by refusing to be reconciled within any meaningful structure. In so doing, Ballard calls into question the academic tendency to define the short story.
  • March-Russell, P. (2008). "Rewards and Fairies" and the neo-romantic debt. The Kipling Journal [Online] 82:6-13. Available at: http://www.kipling.org.uk/.
  • March-Russell, P. (2006). "Close, but without touching": Hearing, Seeing and Believing in Conrad's "The Tale". Conradiana 38:267-282.
  • March-Russell, P. (2005). "Imagine, if you can": Love, Time and Impossibility of Utopia in E.M. Forster's "The Machine Stops". Critical survey 17:56-71.


  • March-Russell, P. (2015). Modernism and Science Fiction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    To what extent can the future-oriented narratives of science fiction, emerging alongside modernism during the last years of the nineteenth century, be described as 'modernist'? To what extent did modernism, responding to the scientific and technological breakthroughs of Darwin, Edison and Einstein, draw upon a grammar of ideas and images that we would call 'science fiction'? This book pursues these questions through a wide-ranging series of examples, drawn from literature, film and the visual arts in Britain, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Americas, from Edward Bulwer-Lytton's The Coming Race (1871) to J.G. Ballard's Crash (1973). Individual chapters examine key topics from within this period including scientific romance, utopia, pulp sf, and the New Wave. A coda brings the story up to date with writers such as William Gibson, China Miéville and Kim Stanley Robinson. The book challenges how high and low culture has been mapped in the twentieth century.
  • March-Russell, P. (2009). The Short Story: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
    This new general introduction emphasises the importance of the short story to an understanding of modern fiction.
    In twenty succinct chapters, the study paints a complete portrait of the short story - its history, culture, aesthetics and economics. European innovators such as Chekhov, Flaubert and Kafka are compared to Irish, New Zealand and British practitioners such as Joyce, Mansfield and Carter as well as writers in the American tradition, from Hawthorne and Poe to Barthelme and Carver.
    Fresh attention is paid to experimental, postcolonial and popular fiction alongside developments in Anglo-American, Hispanic and European literature. Critical approaches to the short story are debated and reassessed, while discussion of the short story is related to contemporary critical theory. In what promises to be essential reading for students and academics, the study sets out to prove that the short story remains vital to the emerging culture of the twenty-first century.

    Key Features
    - A contemporary and theoretically informed survey
    Comprehensive coverage of the short story from its folktale origins to the present day
    - Twenty clear topic-based chapters covering British, American and world fiction
    - Further reading in each chapter together with an extensive and up-to-date bibliography of primary and secondary works

Book section

  • March-Russell, P. (2018). Impressionism and the Short Story. in: Delaney, P. and Hunter, A. eds. The Edinburgh Companion to the Short Story in English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 40-55. Available at: https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-the-edinburgh-companion-to-the-short-story-in-english-hb.html.
  • March-Russell, P. (2018). In the Company of Wolves: Feminist Fairy Tales after Carter. in: Sacido-Romero, J. and Lojo-Rodriguez, L. eds. Gender and Short Fiction: Women's Tales in Contemporary Britain. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 63-82.
  • March-Russell, P. (2017). Story Cycles. in: Burn, S. J. ed. American Literature in Transition: 1990-2000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 154-168. Available at: http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/literature/american-literature/american-literature-transition-19902000?format=AR#kutrRUUh8QYmBs26.97.
  • March-Russell, P. (2017). Alien Pleasures: Modernism/Hybridity/Science Fiction. in: Ortolano, S. ed. Popular Modernism and Its Legacies: From Pop Literature to Video Games. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 133-147. Available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/popular-modernism-and-its-legacies-9781501325120/.
  • March-Russell, P. (2016). Frontiers: Science Fiction and the British Marketplace. in: Head, D. ed. The Cambridge History of the English Short Story. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 429-446. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316711712.
    In his pioneering survey, New Maps of Hell (1960), Kingsley Amis observed that science fiction (sf) is preoccupied with ‘the idea as hero’ rather than subtle uses of language, narrative or characterization. Martin Scofield subsequently adapted Amis's definition of sf to his analysis of the American short story ‘in which the overall idea, rather than character, plot or “themes” in the usual sense, dominates the conception of the work and gives it its unity or deliberate disunity’. Unlike Amis, who tended to prefer his sf to be either escapist adventures or satirical exercises, Scofield's adaptation allows him to define the short story in self-reflexive terms: ‘a work that is dominated by a single guiding idea or mood and achieves a perceptible overall artistic coherence’ (p. 5). Symptomatic of the taxonomic problems that underwrite both sf- and short story criticism, ‘the idea as hero’ can paradoxically refer to a story that is thematic and plot-driven, atmospheric and impressionistic. Not only does the short story lie at the intersection between high and low culture, between the little magazine and the mass-market periodical, as Tim Armstrong has observed, but so too does science fiction. As Farah Mendlesohn has argued, ‘whatever else it is, sf literature is not popular’; it exists ‘at variance from the standards and demands of both the literary establishment and the mass market’. Sf and the short story complement each other not only formally but also culturally: their liminal position questions the assumptions by which critics have often discriminated between what is or is not literary. Yet, as Nicola Humble has noted, ‘there is something wrong with the way in which we have mapped the literary field of the first half of the twentieth century’. This ‘something wrong’ is accentuated when we attempt to re-map not only the short story but also sf as part of literary production since the 1890s.
  • March-Russell, P. (2016). Atrocious Objects: The Colonial Imaginary in Verne, Roussel, Jarry and Ballard. in: McGrath, R. ed. Deep Ends 3. Terminal Press, pp. 196-203.
  • March-Russell, P. (2016). Writing and Publishing the Short Story. in: Einhaus, A. -M. ed. The Cambridge Companion to the English Short Story. Cambridge University Press, pp. 15-27. Available at: http://www.cambridge.org/at/academic/subjects/literature/english-literature-general-interest/cambridge-companion-english-short-story?format=PB.
  • March-Russell, P. (2016). Rule of Law: Reiterating Genre in Jack Glass. in: Callow, C. J. and McFarlane, A. eds. Adam Roberts: Critical Essays. Gylphi Limited, pp. 211-228.
  • March-Russell, P. (2015). Signatures of the Invisible: Reading Between The City & the City and Christopher Priest's The Glamour. in: Edwards, C. and Venezia, T. eds. China Mie?ville: critical essays. Canterbury: Gylphi, pp. 139-58. Available at: http://www.gylphi.co.uk/books/Mieville/.
  • March-Russell, P. (2015). Modernism. in: Felluga, D. F., Gilbert, P. K. and Hughes, L. K. eds. The Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/b.9781118405383.2015.x.
  • March-Russell, P. (2015). 'Into the interstices of time': Speed and Perception in the Scientific Romance. in: Gavin, A. E. and Humphries, A. F. eds. Transport in British Fiction: Technologies of Movement, 1840-1940. Palgrave Macmillan. Available at: http://doi.org/10.1057/9781137499042.
  • March-Russell, P. (2015). ‘I am not that’: Liminality in the Short Fiction of Joanna Russ. in: Achilles, J. and Bergmann, I. eds. Liminality and the Short Story: Boundary Crossings in American, Canadian, and British Writing. New York: Routledge, pp. 225-237.
  • March-Russell, P. (2013). And did those Feet? Mapmaking London and the Postcolonial Limits of Psychogeography. in: Awadalla, M. and March-Russell, P. eds. The Postcolonial Short Story: Contemporary Essays. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 79-95. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137292087.
  • March-Russell, P. (2013). The Jilted Generation? The New Puritans a Decade on. in: Fernández, J. Ã. ©-F. ed. The New Puritan Generation. Canterbury, UK: Gylphi Limited, pp. 29-45.
  • March-Russell, P. (2012). The Neo-Romantic Wyndham Lewis. in: Casaliggi, C. and March-Russell, P. eds. Legacies of Romanticism: Literature, Culture, Aesthetics. New York: Routledge, pp. 165-178.
  • March-Russell, P. (2012). Baby Tuckoo among the Grown-ups: Modernism and Childhood in the Interwar Period. in: Gavin, A. E. ed. The Child in British Literature. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 196-211.
  • March-Russell, P. (2012). The Writing Machine: J.G. Ballard in Modern and Postmodern Short Story Theory. in: Sacido, J. ed. Modernism, Postmodernism, and the Short Story in English. Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp. 125-147.
  • March-Russell, P. (2009). Art and Amity: The 'Opposed Aesthetic' of Mina Loy and Joanna Russ. in: Mendlesohn, F. ed. On Joanna Russ. Middletown CT: Wesleyan University Press, pp. 168-184.
  • March-Russell, P. (2009). Pagan Papers: History, Mysticism, and Edwardian Childhood. in: Gavin, A. E. and Humphries, A. F. eds. Childhood in Edwardian Fiction: Worlds Enough and Time. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 23-36.
  • March-Russell, P. (2007). Ruskin, Herbert Read and the Neo-Romantic Imagination. in: Casaliggi, C. and March-Russell, P. eds. Ruskin in Perspective: Contemporary Essays. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 101-114.
  • March-Russell, P. (2006). Introduction to May Sinclair's Uncanny stories. in: Uncanny Stories. Ware: Wordsworth Editions.

Edited book

  • Awadalla, M. and March-Russell, P. eds. (2013). The Postcolonial Short Story: Contemporary Essays. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    This new collection places the short story at the heart of contemporary postcolonial studies. In so doing, it also questions what postcolonial literary criticism may be. Focusing upon short fiction from 1975 to the present day – the period during which critical theory came to determine postcolonial studies – it argues for a more sophisticated critique exemplified by the ambiguity of the short story form. Short fiction is discussed from India, New Zealand, Singapore, North America, the UK, Egypt, the Caribbean and Africa. Themes include trauma, diaspora, language, national identity, democracy, the city, women's writing, the body, sexuality, and new media. Canonical figures such as Alice Munro are featured alongside emerging talents such as Jhumpa Lahiri and Wena Poon, genre writers such as Nalo Hopkinson, and writers new to an Anglophone or Western audience. The contributors, too, include established figures in postcolonial and short story criticism alongside new or emerging scholars.
  • Casaliggi, C. and March-Russell, P. eds. (2012). Legacies of Romanticism: Literature, Culture, Aesthetics. New York: Routledge.
  • March-Russell, P. ed. (2011). New Woman Fiction 1881-1899, vol. 8: George Egerton, 'The Wheel of God'. London: Pickering and Chatto.
    George Egerton was the pen name of Mary Chavelita Dunne – a charismatic woman whose work foreshadowed that of later female novelists such as Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf. The Wheel of God (1898) uses literary devices which can be seen as indicative of proto-modernism. Woman is here depicted as an unknowable force, and in a style that is fragmentary and episodic. It is a fascinating and unique example of women’s fiction from this period.
  • Casaliggi, C. and March-Russell, P. eds. (2007). Ruskin in Perspective: Contemporary Essays. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.
  • March-Russell, P. ed. (2006). May Sinclair, 'Uncanny Stories'. Ware, UK: Wordsworth Editions.

Internet publication

  • March-Russell, P. (2015). Review of Russell Jones, 'Where Rockets Burn Through: Contemporary Science Fiction Poems from the UK' [Internet: The Shearsman Review]. Available at: http://www.shearsman.com/ws-blog/post/1362-rissell-jones-ed---where-rockets-burn-through.
  • March-Russell, P. (2011). Whose Culture? Whose Anarchy? The Short Story and the Bonfire of the Humanities [Online article]. Available at: http://blogs.chi.ac.uk/shortstoryforum/whose-culture-whose-anarchy/.


  • March-Russell, P. (2019). Sublime Cognition: Science Fiction and Metaphysics. Foundation [Online] 47:88-92. Available at: http://www.sf-foundation.org.
    conference report
  • March-Russell, P. (2018). No escape from these words. Fantastika [Online] 2:122-125. Available at: https://fantastikajournal.com/.
  • March-Russell, P. (2018). Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Vector [Online]:34-35. Available at: https://www.bsfa.co.uk/bsfa-publications/vector/.
  • March-Russell, P. (2017). Into the Unknown: Exhibition Review. Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction 46:84-88.
  • March-Russell, P. (2017). Review of Jerome Winter, Science Fiction, New Space Opera, and Neoliberal Globalism. Fantastika [Online] 1:146-151. Available at: http://nebula.wsimg.com/bd57280f457f6b584c29604821033590?AccessKeyId=3F9F1159C43A5C628B01&disposition=0&alloworigin=1.
  • March-Russell, P. (2015). Review of Keith Brooke, 'Strange Divisions and Alien Territories'. Foundation:123-125.
  • March-Russell, P. (2014). Review of SF/F Now, University of Warwick. Foundation:84-86.
  • March-Russell, P. (2014). Breakfast in the Ruins. Review of Richard Deacon exhibition, and 'Ruin Lust' (Tate Britain). Foundation:86-90.
    The article reviews an exhibition displaying sculpture work of sculptor Richard Deacon held at Tate Britain, London, England from February 5-April 27, 2014 and the art exhibition "Ruin Lust" related to the use of ruins in art at Tate Britain, London, England from March 4-May 18, 2014.
  • March-Russell, P. (2013). Review of Anil Menon, 'The Beast with Nine Billion Feet'. Foundation:89-91.
  • March-Russell, P. (2013). Review of Keith Jardim, 'Near Open Water: Stories'. Wasafiri [Online] 28:88-89. Available at: http://doi.org/10.1080/02690055.2013.759315.
  • March-Russell, P. (2013). Review of Viorica Patea (ed), 'Short Story Theories: A Twenty-First Century Perspective' Patea, V. ed. Short Fiction in Theory & Practice [Online] 3:129-137. Available at: http://doi.org/10.1386/fict.3.1.129_5.
  • March-Russell, P. (2013). Review of M.P. Shiel, 'The Purple Cloud' (ed John Sutherland) Sutherland, J. ed. Foundation:95-98.
  • March-Russell, P. (2011). Review of Jo Johnson and Janice Sykes, 'Talking with your Kids about MS'. Disability, Pregnance & Parenthood International [Online]:15-15. Available at: http://www.dppi.org.uk/journal/71/resources4.php.
  • March-Russell, P. (2005). John McLeod, Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis Awadalla, M. and Dayoub, R. eds. Postcolonial Forum:25-26.
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