Assistant Professor and Chair, Department of English
Ali Chetwynd joined AUIS in 2016 after getting his PhD from the University of Michigan. He previously taught language and literature at high-schools in Bulgaria, and before that got his undergraduate degree from Oxford University back in Britain, where he is originally from though he hasn’t lived there for over a decade.
Ali researches anti-mimetic fiction’s philosophical and argumentative capacities. Existing accounts of how fiction influences real-world beliefs tend to presume an immersive-realist model of fiction, and accounts of anti-mimetic fiction tend to presume that its philosophical commitments are negative and deconstructive: Ali repudiates both tendencies.
His research along these lines has so far focused on early US postmodernism: articles and reviews on Thomas Pynchon, William Gaddis, and the philosophical concerns of that era’s fiction have appeared in English Studies, College Literature, Twentieth Century Literature and other venues. He is currently co-editing a collection of essays on sex and gender in Pynchon’s work, while his ongoing monograph project addresses how the anti-realist formal experiments of early US postmodern novels serve constructive arguments about how we can live and act deliberatively in a world that takes the absence of philosophical absolutes for granted.
He also works very slowly on creative writing (in particular a book of short stories for children), and enjoys arctic weather, the company of dogs, playing football non-competitively, and Indian buffet lunches.
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Peer Reviewed Articles
“Inherent Obligation: The Distinctive Difficulties in and of Recent Pynchon.” English Studies 95.8 (Nov 2014): 923-48
“‘He that lends you pity is not wise': rereading Sejanus for Pity and Terror.” Ben Jonson Journal: Literary Contexts in the Age of Elizabeth, James and Charles 14.1 (May 2007): 43-60
“Imperfect Circles: Asymmetrical Orbital Motion from the Centre to the Rim in Gravity's Rainbow.” In Against the Grain: Reading Pynchon's Counternarratives. ed. Sascha Pöhlmann. New York: Rodopi, 2010. 113-132
Reviews, Notes, etc.
“Fictions of Fact and Value: The Erasure of Logical Positivism in American Literature 1945-75, by Michael LeMahieu.” Twentieth Century Literature 60.1 (Spring 2014): 128-136
“The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Pynchon.” College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies 39.4 (Fall 2012): 142-145
“Sejanus His Fall, Royal Shakespeare Company.” Ben Jonson Journal: Literary Contexts in the Age of Elizabeth, James and Charles 14. 1 (May 2007): 97-100