Professor Katharine Murphy

Research interests

Gender and Degeneration 

Katharine's new book Bodies of Disorder: Gender and Degeneration in Baroja and Blasco Ibáñez  (Cambridge: Legenda, 2017) presents original readings of gender and degenerationism in the works of Pío Baroja and Vicente Blasco Ibáñez as case studies of canonical and popular fiction. The study pays particular attention to the assimilation and modification in Spain of the theories of Bénédict Morel, Cesare Lombroso and Max Nordau, and counters existing critical assumptions about each author's adherence to the cultural myths of degeneration and literary Naturalism. The book has recently been published by Legenda's Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures:

Spanish Modernism and Comparative Literature

This project aims to illuminate the ongoing critical reassessment of Spanish Modernist authors of the early-twentieth century within a pan-European and international context, through the comparison of Spanish and English authors as literary counterparts across borders. Extending her previous publications on Spanish Modernism, Katharine is currently researching transnational paradigms and a comparative appoach to the novels of Baroja and Joseph Conrad. Her work on Comparative Literature focuses not on direct influence, but instead on parallel paths in literary history and the exchange of ideas across European borders. 

Katharine's previous research takes a comparative approach to the early-twentieth-century Spanish novel, and argues for the inclusion of Spain in mainstream European culture during this period. Her first monograph Re-reading Pío Baroja and English Literature (2004) drew close comparisons between Baroja and the novels of his contemporaries in England and Ireland, such as Joseph Conrad, Thomas Hardy, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, and others, in order to demonstrate the participation of Baroja, alongside other Spanish authors, in the incipient development of European Modernism. A major review stated that the book ‘merits the attention of all scholars of Modernism, and not just of the "Peninsular" variety: for its important contribution to the revision - and more importantly renovation - of our critical awareness regarding Pío Baroja' (Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 84. 3 (2007), 421-424).

Post-war Spanish Fiction

Project in progress on the connections between early-twentieth-century regenerationism and post-war Spanish fiction, with a particular interest in Camilo José Cela, Luis Martín-Santos and Carmen Martín Gaite.

Visual Culture and the Spanish Modernist Novel

Focuses on ekphrasis and the connections between visual culture and the early-twentieth-century Spanish novel. This research investigates the spatialisation of prose narrative through the incorporation of painting and other visual media, as well as the interactions between the arts, in early-twentieth-century Spain. 

Research collaborations

Collaborative workshop in 2014 with Dr Caragh Wells, University of Bristol, on Spanish fiction and culture.This project was supported by funding from the Bristol Institute for Research in the Arts and Humanities (BIRTHA) and Santander Universities.