Dr Jess Cotton

Postdoctoral Associate
University Positions
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
Specialising in
Post-1945 Literature, psychoanalysis, feminism and cultural history

Jess Cotton has researched, written and taught on a wide range of issues in American and British literature, visual culture, feminism and psychoanalysis.

Academic interests

Jess Cotton’s academic interests include: 

  • Postwar American and British literature
  • Poetry 
  • Psychoanalysis 
  • Feminism 
  • Cultural history.

Degrees obtained

  • BA, UCL.
  • MA, UCL.
  • PhD, UCL.

Awards and prizes

  • The English Association, Early Career Fellow.


Jess Cotton is a specialist of post-1945 British and American literature. She has written on cultures of literature, psychoanalysis, feminism and sexuality. She has a particular interest in the work of the New York School and New Journalism.

She is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow working on a postwar study of loneliness in British culture, which examines the relationship between the emergence of loneliness in the postwar period and the health and cultural communities that are formed by the welfare state. This study focuses on particular health and literary institutions including the library and the hospital, and motherhood’s relation to communities of care.

Her research connects the history of literature, psychoanalysis and feminism. Ongoing projects include a study of the anachronistic time of postwar American literary history which moves from a chapter on Mary McCarthy’s representation of the 1930s in relation to narratives of progress to the stalled time of revolution in Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters; and the institutions of psychiatric and literature communities in twentieth century United States, which focuses on case studies of psychiatric clinics including the Payne Whitney Clinic and the Lafargue Clinic, as well as the relationship between grassroots feminist therapeutic clinics and feminist consciousness raising in the 1970s. 

Other interests

Trains, mountains, Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes.

Publications, links and resources

Book manuscripts 


  • Memory in a Cold Climate: Feminist Thought and the Anachronistic Time of Postwar Literary History (90,000 words, manuscript in preparation).

Monographs in press

  • John Ashbery (50,000 words, Reaktion Books/University of Chicago Press, Spring/Summer 2023).

Peer-reviewed articles 

  • “The Natopolitan Youth” (American Literary History, review essay, summer 2022). 
  • “Poetry’s Object Relations: Alone with Elizabeth Bishop” (ELH, winter 2021). 
  • “Lyric Weathering: Reading Poetry in the Age of Bewilderment” (Textual Practice, October 2020).
  • “Unfit for History: Race, Reparation and the Reconstruction of American Lyric” (Journal of American Studies, October 2020).
  • “‘Rimbaud in Embryo’: Collaborative Reproduction in T. S. Eliot and Hart Crane,” (Modernist Cultures, February 2019).

Book chapters 

  • “The New Woman and Poetry (1885-1935)” in The Cambridge Companion of Australian Poetry (solicited, under contract, forthcoming, Summer 2023). 
  • “‘Solid Cuteness’: Elizabeth Bishop’s Art of Simplicity” in Reading Elizabeth Bishop: An Edinburgh Companion (Edinburgh University Press, May 2019).
  • “Joe Brainard’s Still Lives” in On Joe Brainard (Edinburgh University Press, May 2019).

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