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Dr. Philip McGowan - Queen's University Belfast Research Portal - Research Directory & Institutional Repository for QUB
Philip McGowan

Dr Philip McGowan

Senior Lecturer

Direct phone: +44 (0)28 9097 3261

For media contact email
or call +44(0)2890 973091.


Philip McGowan is Senior Lecturer in American Literature with research and teaching interests in twentieth-century American poetry, contemporary American fiction, as well as in film, most recently the American movies of Alfred Hitchcock. He also has wider interests in Puritan and revolutionary America, the American nineteenth century, westerns, and crime fiction and how these connect with contemporary manifestations of American identity. In the field of poetry, how it operates in the wake of Modernism and the philosophical possibilities of poetic language in the work of post-World War Two American poets is an area of developing importance in his work.


My semester 1 office hours for 2015/16 are Mondays 10-12.

My semester 2 office hours for 2015/16 are Mondays 10-12.

If these times do not suit, please email me ( to make an alternative appointment.


I am Chair of the Irish Association for American Studies (IAAS;; @theIAAS), board member of the European Association for American Studies (EAAS; and a member of the British Association for American Studies (BAAS; I am also a member of the MLA (Modern Languages Association) and the SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies).

In 2016, I am bringing the annual BAAS conference to Queen's for a joint meeting with the IAAS, the first time in twenty-five years that both associations will have met for an annual conference. For more details visit
I sit on the Board of Directors of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society (; @FSFSociety), co-organised the 9th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society conference in London (2007), was programme co-ordinator for the 13th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference in Dublin and Waterford, 4-11 July 2015, and will serve in a similar capacity for the 14th Fitzgerald Conference in St Paul, Minnesota in June 2017.

Research Statement

My recently completed journal articles include:

a discussion of the limits of poetic language in Middle Generation American poetry for the English journal (Winter 2013; an analysis of how Alcoholics Anonymous appropriated (almost unedited it would appear) swathes of nineteenth-century Temperance literature for (re)publication in its Big Book (Journal of American Studies; separate pieces on two Alfred Hitchcock films, Strangers on a Train in terms of the routines of American Carnival, and The Man Who Knew Too Much and its genesis in a remembered trip to Las Vegas ( and how that connects to a larger work I am undertaking on Vegas as a location of hyper tourism, continual self re-writing and arguably the endpoint of the American project.

With regard to poetry, articles on RS Thomas and Wallace Stevens, John Berryman and Elizabeth Bishop are in preparation ahead of REF2020.

An ongoing work that I am compiling is an illustrated biography of Dorothy Parker and I foresee other related, more academically focused pieces coming out of this research.

Other recent publications include:

'Popular Literary Tastes' in Bryant Mangum, ed., F. Scott Fitzgerald In Context (Cambridge University Press, March 2013);

'Exile & the City: F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Lost Decade"' in F. Scott Fitzgerald Review (October 2013,;

'The American Carnival of The Great Gatsby' in Harold Bloom, ed. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald (Blooms Modern Critical Interpretations, 2010);

'The Games Bond Plays' in Robert G. Weiner et al, eds. James Bond in World and Popular Culture: The Films Are Not Enough (2010);

'Nelson Algren and Carnival in 1930s America' in Nelson Algren: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Robert Ward (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007).

For RAE 2008, my main publications were the following 2 monographs:

American Carnival: Seeing & Reading American Culture (Greenwood, 2001);
Anne Sexton & Middle Generation Poetry: The Geography of Grief (Praeger, 2004).
In 2007, he co-edited (with Philip Coleman, University of Dublin) essay collection 'After Thirty Falls': New Essays on John Berryman was published by Rodopi as was the essay 'Reading Fitzgerald Reading Keats' in the University of Chicago/Liverpool University Press Twenty-First Century Readings of Tender is The Night (edited by William Blazek and Laura Rattray).



At undergraduate level I currently teach on the stage 2 Introduction to American Writing module and offer the stage 3 module US Fiction 1965-80.

At MA, my 12-week elective module American Poetry from Dickinson to Olds is available to students on the MA in Modern Poetry and the MA in English Literary Studies pathways. 

At Ph.D. level I recently supervised/co-supervised:

'John McGahern: Community, Influence and Historical Revisionism'

'The First Thing That Happens/The Next Thing That Happens'

'Two Camps/The American Family Elegy After 1995'

'Toward a Supreme Poetry: The Ecstatic Self in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens and Sylvia Plath'

'Self-Reflexivity and Otherness in TS Eliot and Geoffrey Hill'


I am interested in supervising projects in the following areas: American poetry, nineteenth- and twentieth-century American fiction, contemporary American cultural studies, film, literatures of addiction, Temperance literature, Transcendentalism, the American West.


Administrative Leadership

I am the Director of Education in the School of English, a member of the University's Courses and Regulations Committee and the AHSS Faculty DE on the Higher Education Review Group that prepared for Queen's institutional audit in November 2015.

For RAE 2008 I collated the School of English documentation and drafted the RA5 narrative.

As Postgraduate Director of Education for the School, I authored English's submission as part of the University's successful bid for BGP1, assessors rating the School of English sections as the application's 'jewel in the crown'.

Management  & Administration

2006-2010: Postgraduate Director of Education, Chair School Postgraduate Committee, Chair MA Examination Board, Member Postgraduate Advisory Board, Member School Management Board, Member University Academic Board

2010-2012: Chair School of English Examination Board

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Frequent Journals

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Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

ID: 40859