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Nina Lyon


person name Position: Postgraduate Researcher Email:
Area: English Literature

PhD Research

My thesis looks at Lewis Carroll’s fiction, in particular The Hunting of the Snark, and his later work on symbolic logic, in the context of late nineteenth century metaphysical debate. The term “realism” was starting to be used philosophically to denote a mind-independent reality at the time of the Snark’s publication. I argue that Carroll’s narrative antirealism and use of nonsense is employed as a satirical strategy, intended in part as a philosophical critique of the positivist project. I also argue that the antirealist quality that Carroll’s work shares with more recent literature is better described in terms of its relationship with a logic of sense, and the metaphysical endpoints of it, than as a phenomenon specific to any particular era.

Supervisor: Laurent Milesi, Christopher Norris

Academic Background

I studied English Literature at UCL, where I graduated with a First in 2002. I write non-fiction and have worked, variously, as a tutor, copywriter and in a therapeutic community, and spent five years organising and running arts and philosophy events for the Institute of Art and Ideas.


Academic: ‘Nietzschean Modes of Gender Construction in a Post-Feminist Age’, Self and Society (forthcoming 2015, co-written with Niklas Serning)

Literary: My essay Mushroom Season was runner-up in the 2013 Financial Times/Bodley Head Essay Competition, and I have recently completed a non-fiction book, Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man, due to be published by Faber in February 2016 and recipient of a Society of Authors Roger Deakin Award. I will soon start work on a second book about strangeness and the uncanny for Faber.

Other publications: ‘Hyphae’, Dark Mountain 7 (forthcoming 2015); Review of ‘Land of the Green Man’, The Spectator (forthcoming 2015); ‘Snarked’, Slightly Foxed (forthcoming 2015). I also write about the Great Outdoors, whatever that is, for Caught by the River.

Conferences, Symposia and Seminars

‘Towards a Folk Panpsychism: on the trail of the Green Man’ at ‘Spaces of Attunement’ Symposium, Cardiff University, 30 March 2015.

‘A Logic of Sense of Place’ at ‘Imagined Spaces’ Graduate Conference, Bristol University, 29 April 2015

‘Mapless Maps (I): Scale and Antirealism in Carroll and Swift’ at ‘SCALE2015’ SLSAeu Annual Conference, Malta, 15-18 June 2015

‘For the Snark was a Boojum, you see: nonsense, metaphysics and the apophatic in Carroll and Deleuze’ at ‘London Critical 2015’ Conference, UCL, 26-27 June 2015

‘Mapless Maps (II): Mapless Maps and Speculative Spaces in The Hunting of the Snark and Flatland’ at ‘Fantastika’ Conference, Lancaster University, 7-8 July 2015

I worked for several years managing a team of 200 people running How The Light Gets In, a major philosophy festival, and continue to freelance there in both a managerial and editorial capacity.