portrait Gavin

Alice Gavin

Fellow 12-14

Literature / Film / Philosophy / Linguistics / Spatial Theory


Alice / Honor Gavin is Lecturer in Fiction and Writing at the University of Sheffield. A multidisciplinary writer and scholar, she studied English Literature and History at the University of Oxford and received her Masters from University College London. Her PhD was completed within the program of the London Consortium (Birkbeck, University of London). She is the author of two books: Midland: A Novel Out of Time, a fictional work, was published by Penned in the Margins in 2014 and has since been shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize; a critical and theoretical monograph resulting from her ICI Berlin project – Literature and Film, Dispositioned – was also published in 2014. Additional writings on twentieth-century film and literature have appeared in journals such as Textual Practice and the Oxford Literary Review as well as zines such as The Modernist and All That Is Common. Her current creative project – about a comeback by a boyband that never existed – is titled “Never Was.”

ICI Project (2012-14)

Complementary Dispositions: Being Free Indirect in Literature and Film

The free indirect disposition -- a mode of being observable both in literature and in film -- describes a form of intimacy that is also a distancing, or a position in the world that is simultaneously a dispositioning. In the case of literature, the text’s entry into free indirect style produces a flush of subjectivity that nonetheless fuzzes the definite location of any subject, attaching a detached or "unoccupied" (as Ann Banfield puts it) perspective to thoughts that still feel intensely first personal. Two mutually exclusive points of view are here held in tension. As soon as we become intimate with a character’s most intimate innervations, we find that character to be no longer quite herself – no longer quite alone nor quite all one with her thoughts. In placing the free indirect disposition in dialogue with the current ICI focus, this research intends to reveal its wider political and ethical possibilities, and to explore further its important inferences for our understanding of how we as humans inhabit both ourselves and our environment, our position in the world and our disposition towards it.

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