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Dr Peter Lawson

Peter Lawson

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am an Honorary Associate and Associate Lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing at the Open University. My research concerns contemporary British-Jewish poetry and drama, Holocaust literature and utopian/dystopian texts. Among my critical works are two books on British Jewish poetry: Passionate Renewal: Jewish Poetry in Britain since 1945 (Five Leaves, 2001) and Anglo-Jewish Poetry from Isaac Rosenberg to Elaine Feinstein (Vallentine Mitchell, 2006). The former was awarded a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. I am also a poet with a published collection, Senseless Hours (2009).

As a member of the Open University Postcolonial and Global Literatures Research Group, in 2015 I convened a conference on utopia and dystopia in contemporary British-Jewish culture. Subsequently I guest-edited a special issue of the Journal of European Popular Culture (2016), which features articles based on conference papers. More recently, I guest-edited a special issue of Humanities on contemporary British-Jewish literature, 1970-2020 (2020). My essays on the plays and poetry of Harold Pinter can be found in A Companion to British-Jewish Theatre since the 1950s (Bloomsbury, 2021) and The Harold Pinter Review (2021), respectively. A Companion to British-Jewish Theatre also includes my essay on the plays of Arnold Wesker: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/a-companion-to-british-jewish-theatre-since-the-1950s-9781350135963/

The new Open University MA English (A893) includes my Block 3 (‘Literature and the Global’) material on Primo Levi’s Il sistema periodico (The Periodic Table).

 

Publications

Books

Senseless Hours (London: Bayswater Press, 2009), 46 pages: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Senseless-Hours-Peter-Lawson-ebook/dp/B09SJTCP8D/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2RZWVV3VTDTV1&keywords=senseless+hours&qid=1645702489&s=digital-text&sprefix=senseless+hours%2Cdigital-text%2C55&sr=1-1

Anglo-Jewish Poetry from Isaac Rosenberg to Elaine Feinstein (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2006), 227 pages: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anglo-Jewish-Poetry-Rosenberg-Elaine-Finestein/dp/0853036179

Passionate Renewal: Jewish Poetry in Britain since 1945 (Nottingham: Five Leaves, 2001), 354 pages: https://fiveleaves.co.uk/product/passionate-renewal/

Edited Book

Karen Gershon, A Tempered Wind, edited by Peter Lawson and Phyllis Lassner (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2009), 183 pages

Essays in Edited Books

'Primo Levi: Science and the shape of the short story', in Literature and the Global (Milton Keynes: The Open University, 2022 [forthcoming])

'The Theatre of Harold Pinter: Staging Indefinable and Divided "Jewishness"', in A Companion to British-Jewish Theatre since the 1950s (London: Bloomsbury, 2021), pp.56-65

'The Theatre of Arnold Wesker: Didactic, Utopian, Biblical',  in A Companion to British-Jewish Theatre since the 1950s (London: Bloomsbury, 2021), pp.31-43

'The Promised Land: Utopia and Dystopia in Contemporary Anglo-Jewish Literature’, Yearbook for European Jewish Literature Studies, edited by Caspar Battegay (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016), pp.183-201

‘Otherness and Transcendence: The Poetry of Ruth Fainlight and Elaine Feinstein’, in British Jewish Women Writers, edited by Nadia Valman (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2014), pp.135-155

‘Anglo-Jewish Theatre’, in The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp.592-593

‘Anglo-Jewish Poetry’, in The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp.478-479

‘Polymorphous and Perverse: Sex in Contemporary British Jewish Novels’, in Jews and Sex, edited by Nathan Abrams (Nottingham: Five Leaves, 2008), pp.110-120

‘Holocaust Fiction’, in Books and Beyond: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading (Westport: Greenwood, 2008), pp.483-498

‘Otherness and Affiliation in Anglo-Jewish Poetry’, in Anglophone Jewish Literature, edited by Axel Stähler (London: Routledge, 2007), pp.123-132 

 ‘Three Kindertransport Poets: Karen Gershon, Lotte Kramer and Gerda Mayer’, in Jewish Women’s Writing of the 1990s and Beyond in Great Britain and the United States, edited by Ulrike Behlau and Bernhard Reitz (Mainz:Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2004), pp.87-94

‘Karen Gershon’, in the Dictionary of Literary Biography: Holocaust Novelists, edited by Efraim Sicher (Detroit: Gale, 2004), pp.105-110

‘Lore Segal’, in the Dictionary of Literary Biography: Holocaust Novelists, edited by Efraim Sicher (Detroit: Gale, 2004), pp.304-309

‘Karen Gershon’, in Holocaust Literature, edited by S. Lillian Kremer (New York: Routledge, 2003), pp.415-419

‘Michael Hamburger’, in Holocaust Literature, edited by S. Lillian Kremer (New York: Routledge, 2003), pp.509-511

‘Lotte Kramer’, in Holocaust Literature, edited by S. Lillian Kremer (New York: Routledge, 2003), pp.712-714

‘Gerda Mayer’, in Holocaust Literature, edited by S. Lillian Kremer (New York: Routledge, 2003), pp.812-814

Edited Journals

Humanities: 'Contemporary British-Jewish Literature, 1970-2020' [special issue 2020]:

 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/humanities/special_issues/british_jewish [online journal]

Journal of European Popular Culture: ‘Utopia and Dystopia in Contemporary British Jewish Literature’ 7.1 (2016), 99 pages
 

Shirim: ‘British Jewish Poetry’ 27.2-28.1 (2009), 63 pages

Journal Articles

'Pinter and Poetry', The Harold Pinter Review 5  (2021), 59-69

'The Promised Land: Utopia and Dystopia in Contemporary British Jewish Literature’, Journal of European Popular Culture 7.1 (2016), 3-8

‘Utopia and dystopia in the British Jewish poetry of Ruth Fainlight and Elaine Feinstein’, Journal of European Popular Culture7.1 (2016), 47-57

‘Trouble in Utopia: “With the Night Mail” and “As Easy as A.B.C.”’, The Kipling Journal 89.359 (2015), pp.42-52

 ‘Towards a Diasporic Poetics: the case of British Jewish poetry’, European Judaism: A Journal for the New Europe 47.2 (2014), pp. 30-40

 ‘Broken Homes: Three Kindertransport Poets’, Critical Survey 20.2 (2008), pp.88-102

‘Uncomfortable at Home: Philip Roth’s American Pastoral’, The Jerusalem Review 5-6 (2007), pp.206-225

‘Satire and Apocalypse in the Poems of Michael Hamburger’, The European English Messenger 15.1 (2006), pp.42-45

‘Tracing a Tradition of Anglo-Jewish Poetry’, Studia Judaica (2005), pp.168-180

‘Isaac Rosenberg: Poetry, Jewishness and the Great War’, New Voices in Jewish Thought (2000), pp.43-69

Poems and Blogs

‘The State of British Jewish Poetry’, The Jewish Quarterly (2015), blog

‘Poems’, The Jewish Quarterly 61:1 (2014), p.11

Conferences and Lectures

'Pinter and Poetry', 2019, Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies, A Three-Day International Conference, Leeds University

'Utopia Postponed: The Didactic Theatre of Arnold Wesker', 2018, Hyphenated Cultures: Contemporary British-Jewish Theatre, Technische Universität Braunschweig (https://britishjewishtheatre.org)

'Beyond Realism: London and the Theatre of Harold Pinter', 2018, The City: Myth and Materiality, Association for Literary Urban Studies/ Institute of Historical Research, University of London

'Performing Jewishness: Reflections on the Theatre of Harold Pinter', 2018, Bangor Jewish Contemporary Cultures, Bangor University

'Poetry and Protest: Reflections on the Plays of Steven Berkoff, Harold Pinter and Arnold Wesker', 2017, Hyphenated Cultures: Contemporary British-Jewish Theatre, Technische Universität Braunschweig 

‘John Rodker: “Foreign-ness” and Modern Jewish Literature’, 2016, The Texture of Jewish Tradition: Investigations in Textuality, University of Birmingham

The Promised Land: Utopia and Dystopia in Contemporary British-Jewish Culture (conference convener), 2015, The Open University (http://britishjewishcontemporaryculture.com)

'Recollection in Anxiety: Howard Jacobson’s The Finker Question and J’, 2015, Memory Frictions: Conflict-Negotiation-Politics’, Universidad Zaragoza

‘Poetry after Auschwitz’, 2015, Tracing Topographies: Revisiting the Concentration Camps Seventy Years after the Liberation of Auschwitz, University of Kent

‘Rudyard Kipling’s Dystopian Turn: “With the Night Mail” and “As Easy as A.B.C.”’, 2014, European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies Conference, University of Helsinki

‘Palestine in the Poetry of Isaac Rosenberg and Siegfried Sassoon’, 2014, The Jewish Experience of the First World War, University of Sussex/Royal Holloway

‘British Jewish Poetry Projects’, 2014, British Jewish Contemporary Culture Colloquium, University College London

 ‘Diasporic Poetry in Britain’, 2014, Associate Lecturer Research Seminar, The Open University

‘Towards a Diasporic Poetics: the case of British Jewish poetry’, 2013, Postgraduate Research Seminar, University of Northampton

‘Paul Celan’/ ‘Sylvia Plath and the Holocaust’/ ‘Philip Roth and the American Dream’/ ‘The American Jewish Novel 1960-1990’, 2013, The Rest is Noise, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London

‘The State of British Jewish Poetry’, 2013, British Jewish Contemporary Culture Colloquium, University of Winchester

 ‘Poetry After the Holocaust’, 2012, A Day at the IWM London, Imperial War Museum

Research interests

Contemporary British-Jewish poetry and drama, Holocaust and utopian/dystopian literature.

Teaching interests

Post-1900 British, European and American literature.

The new Open University MA English (A893) includes my Block 3 (‘Literature and the Global’) material on Primo Levi’s Il sistema periodico (The Periodic Table).