Portrait of Dr Derek Ryan

Dr Derek Ryan

Senior Lecturer in Modernist Literature


Derek Ryan is interested in both historical and theoretical approaches to animals in literature and culture. His latest monograph Bloomsbury, Beasts and British Modernist Literature (Cambridge UP, 2022) focuses on the work of Leonard Woolf, David Garnett, Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster to reveal how the Bloomsbury group’s fascination with beasts – from pests to pets, tiny insects to big game – became an integral part of their critique of modernity and conceptualisation of more-than-human worlds. His previous book Animal Theory: A Critical Introduction (Edinburgh UP, 2015) provides a wide-ranging exploration of theoretical writing on animals and includes readings of contemporary literary texts. He is also co-editor of Reading Literary Animals: Medieval to Modern (Routledge, 2019), which covers questions concerning animals as they appear through literary history, from medieval bestiaries and the early modern stage to eighteenth-century lapdog poems and modern canine biographies, and a special issue of Twentieth-Century Literature themed on ‘Modernist Ethics and Posthumanism’ (Duke UP, 2015), which features articles on snakes, moths, sheep and hyenas. Derek has most recently edited The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Animals (Cambridge UP, 2023).

Last updated 7th August 2023