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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.


My most recent publications are literary rather than academic. My essay Mushroom Season was runner-up in the 2013 Financial Times/Bodley Head Essay Competition, and I am currently under contract to Faber for a book about the Green Man myth, due for publication in 2016.

Conferences, Symposia and Seminars

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 in both a managerial and editorial capacity.