Professor Paul Williams

Associate Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture


Extension: 4257

Telephone: 01392 724257

Room 322, Queen's Building

This semester my Office Hours will be delivered via MS Teams. Please book a slot online here.

My research explores comics and graphic novels from the 1960s to the 2000s and I have recently published a series of essays (in journals such as Textual Practice and the Journal of American Studies) focusing on US comics and graphic novels from the 1970s. My article "Jules Feiffer's Tantrum at the End of Narcissism's Decade," published in Studies in the Novel, was awarded the Javier Coy Biennial Research Award for Best Journal Article 2017-18 by the Spanish Association for American Studies.

My monograph Dreaming the Graphic Novel: The Novelization of Comics (2020), recently published by Rutgers UP, breaks new ground by explaining how graphic novels were produced, distributed, and discussed in North America between the mid-1960s and 1980.

I am in the middle of writing another book, The US Graphic Novel, for Edinburgh UP, which explores the history of US graphic novels from the 1910s to the 2000s. 

Between 2014 and 2016 I was an AHRC ECR Leadership Fellow, supported by a grant of £144,000. During this time I wrote a monthly blog, conducted the research that informs Dreaming the Graphic Novel, and, with the Cartoon Museum in London, curated the exhibition The Great British Graphic Novel (Apr.-July 2016), seen by over 10,000 people.

I have various other research interests, such as:

  • Critical theories of race and ethnicity (my book on Paul Gilroy was published in the Routledge Critical Thinkers series in 2012)
  • Post-apocalyptic fiction (the subject of my 2011 monograph, entitled Race, Ethnicity, and Nuclear War)
  • South-West writers, especially John Betjeman and Laurie Lee
  • The history of Cultural Studies
  • The cultural and political impact of 1970s alternative psychotherapies (I co-authored the article "The Primal is the Political: Psychotherapy, Engagement, and Narcissism in the 1970s" published in American Quarterly in 2018)
  • American Studies - I belong to Exeter's North American and Atlantic Research Group

I teach across many modules, often lecturing on comics, North American literature, or critical theory (Sianne Ngai and the Frankfurt School are particular favourites). I welcome inquiries from potential PhD students on the above (and related) topics.