Photo of Prof. Richard Canning

Prof. Richard Canning

  • Job title: Subject Leader - English & Creative Writing
  • Department: English & Creative Writing

General information

Role: Professor, British and American Literature; Subject Leader, English & Creative Writing

Area: Arts - English & Creative Writing

​Administr​ative Positions

​Subject Leader, English & Creative Writing

Ot​​​her positions

  • Member, Academy for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV
  • Member, Steering Committee, James Purdy Society
  • Member, Council for College and University English (as Head of Subject)
  • Member, Modern Languages Association (US)
  • Member, American Literature Association (US) 


Richard teaches the following:

  • optional level five BA module LIT2048: Sex, Sexuality and Twentieth-Century Fiction
  • MA module LITM027 Narrative and the Deviant Body. 

Richard also supervises BA dissertations (LIT4016) andcontributes to the Beginning Theory module (LIT1034). ​


Richard's research interests include 

  • gay and lesbian literatures written in English, especially in prose fiction 
  • sexuality in global literatures and cultures, 1870-present
  • literary biography
  • life writing
  • sexuality and performance
  • sexuality and film
  • sexuality and memoir
  • sexuality and travel writing
  • notions of sexual deviance
  • inter-war European literatures and cultures
  • decadence
  • aestheticism
  • visual and literary symbolism
  • Ronald Firbank
  • E M Forster
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Edmund White
  • James Purdy
  • AIDS literature and ​culture

Current r​esearch projects

Richard is presently completing the first critical life of 1920s English novelist Ronald Firbank for Harvard University Press. He is contracted to write the Very Short Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Literature (Oxford University Press), and will also soon begin editing a critical volume on British Gay Male Autobiography (Cambridge University Press). He has published nine authored or edited books, including two volumes of Conversations with Gay Novelists for Columbia University Press (Gay Fiction Speaks and the Lambda Literary Award-winning Hear Us Out), two collections of shorter gay male fiction, Between Men and Between Men 2 (Carroll and Graf; Alyson), two Brief Lives - of Oscar Wilde and E M Forster - for Hesperus Press, a collection of American AIDS fiction, Vital Signs (Carroll & Graf) and the essay anthology50 Gay and Lesbian Books Everybody Must Read. Richard's most recent book is a variant, critical edition of Ronald Firbank's Vainglory, Inclinations and Caprice for Penguin Classics.

Areas for supervision of research students

Richard welcomes applications for postgraduate research on any areas relating to gay and lesbian literary and cultural studies in English, as well as in sexuality and literature or culture; nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first century British and American fiction, travel writing, memoir, decadence, symbolism and the fin de siecle. He has supervised ten PhDs to date, each successfully completed on time, on topics such as European gay male writings of the 1930s; AIDS poetry and memoir; the writings of Michael Field; the "decadent scientist" in the fin de siècle; a linguistic study of Cormac McCarthy's fictions; the late writings of William Burroughs; H G Wells's scientific romances.

Current Supervisions:​

Richard presently acts as primary supervisor for three PhDs:

(1) Mysticism and Modernism: the influence of Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love and The Cloud of Unknowing on the works of T.S. Eliot and David Jones;

(2) The Shorter Fiction of Katharine Mansfield;

(3) Samuel Beckett, Schopenhauer and Buddhism.

He is also second supervisor on the following PhDs:

(1) An Enquiry into Contemporary Auto/biographical Narrative with Photography: W G Sebald and Others;

(2) Contemporary New Zealand and Global Life Writing: a Reflective Creative Writing dissertation.

He also acts as Director of Studies for the following PhD:

(1) Representations of Anglican Spirituality in Twentieth-Century Fantasy Fiction, from C S Lewis to Philip Pullman.


Jump to: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008


  1. Canning, R. (2015) All the doomed young men: post-war English gay male fiction. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 22(1) 1532-1118.


  1. Canning, R. (2014) Visiting Professor. University of Buckingham.
  2. Canning, R. (2014) A touching farewell as the Tales come to the end of the road. The Independent. 29 Jan
  3. Canning, R. (2014) AIDS, as it struck us, you and them, or, contemporary gay identity and the syndrome that never truly was. In: Kaufman, J. S. and Powell, D. A. (eds.) The Meaning of Sexual Identity in the Twenty-First Century. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 87-98.
  4. Canning, R. (2014) An Irish novelist lands in New York: James McCourt's Lasting City. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 21(1) 1532-1118.
  5. Canning, R. (2014) An epidemic of unknowing: historicisation and forgetfulness in contemporary HIV/AIDS popular discourse. Invited Keynote presented to: The HIV Sector: Inter/connecting Communities and Narratives Seminar, Keele University, 11 February 2014. (Unpublished)
  6. Kimber, G., Canning, R. and Parker, P. (2014) Editing a Literary Classic, with Richard Canning, Peter Parker and Gerri Kimber. Panel Presentation presented to: Editing a Literary Classic, School of the Arts, The University of Northampton, 30 January 2014. (Unpublished)
  7. Canning, R. (2014) Homologous tales of the Near East: The Homoerotics of Orientalism by Joseph Allen Boone. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 21(4), p. 28. 1532-1118.
  8. Canning, R. (2014) James Purdy’s notions of childhood in the 1960s: a historical and contextual consideration. Invited Presentation presented to: American Literary Association Annual Conference 2014: James Purdy Society Panel: The 1960s and James Purdy, Washington DC, 22-25 May 2014. (Unpublished)
  9. Kimber, G., Canning, R. and Parker, P. (2014) Literary Biography with Richard Canning, Peter Parker and Gerri Kimber. Invited Presentation presented to: Literary Biography, School of the Arts, The University of Northampton, 30 January 2014. (Unpublished)
  10. Canning, R. (2014) Roommates: Sarah Waters’ Paying Guests. Literary Review. 423, p. 52. 0144-4360.
  11. Canning, R. (2014) Stephen Dedalus in Argentina: Leopoldo Marechal’s Adam Buenosayres. Times Literary Supplement. 16 July 0307-661X.
  12. Canning, R. (2014) Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, by John Lahr. Literary Review. 425, pp. 14-15. 0144-4360.
  13. Canning, R. (2014) The splendid, drunken Van Vechten: The Tastemaker: Carl van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America, by Edward White. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 21(2) 1532-1118.
  14. Canning, R. (2014) What makes a Penguin Classic? Redux: Firbank’s Vainglory. Invited Presentation presented to: English Studies Symposium, University of Buckingham, 19 November 2014. (Unpublished)
  15. Canning, R. (2014) Yours unfaithfully: The Animals: Love Letters Between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy; and The Man Who Was Norris: The Life of Gerald Hamilton, by Tom Cullen. Literary Review. 417, pp. 19-20. 0144-4360.


  1. Simkhada, P., Altman, D., Collini, P. and Canning, R. (2013) HIV-AIDS through the Arts and Sciences. Panel Presentation presented to: HIV-AIDS through the Arts and Sciences, Humanities Research Institute, Sheffield, 20 June 2013. (Unpublished)
  2. Canning, R. (2013) The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy. Pedestal Magazine. 73
  3. Canning, R. (2013) The Epidemic of unknowing: knowledge and historicisation in Western contemporary HIV/AIDS discourses. Panel Presentation presented to: 2nd International Conference of the Association for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV (ASSHH): Knowing Practices, Paris, 07-10 July 2013. (Unpublished)
  4. Canning, R. (2013) The very English Britten. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. XX(6), pp. 22-25. 1532-1118.
  5. Canning, R. (2013) Ziggy Stardust memories. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. XX(5), pp. 27-29. 1532-1118.
  6. Canning, R. (2013) “Easy to chronicle, bewildering to practice”: E.M. Forster.


  1. Canning, R. (2012) Prancing back into print: the forgotten Mr Firbank. Literary Review. 55 0024-4589.
  2. Canning, R. (2012) The politics of experience: a response to Charles Silverstein's For the Ferryman. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 19(2) 1532-1118.
  3. Canning, R., (ed.) (2012) Vainglory (with Inclinations and Caprice), by Ronald Firbank. London: Penguin. 9780141196336.
  4. Canning, R. (2012) What you weren’t reading in 1952: G.F. Green’s In the Making. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 19(4) 1532-1118.


  1. Canning, R. (2011) 'They just let go': James Purdy’s ‘Desiring Machines’ and the dramatic sense of his fiction. Hyperion. VI(1), pp. 44-61.
  2. Canning, R. (2011) The epidemic that barely was. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 18(2) 1532-1118.


  1. Canning, R. (2010) The literature of AIDS. In: Stevens, H. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Gay and Lesbian Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 132-147.


  1. Canning, R., (ed.) (2009) 50 Gay and Lesbian Books Everybody Must Read. New York, NY: Alyson Books. 9781593501198.
  2. Canning, R., (ed.) (2009) Between Men 2: Original Fiction by Today's Best Gay Writers. New York, NY: Alyson Books. 9781593501143.
  3. Canning, R. (2009) Brief Lives: E.M. Forster. London: Hesperus Press. 9781843919162.
  4. Canning, R. (2009) Douglas Wright’s Ghost Dance. In: Canning, R. (ed.) 50 Gay and Lesbian Books Everybody Must Read. New York, N.Y.: Alyson Books. pp. 331-339.
  5. Canning, R. (2009) Fragments of a gay life: Yves Saint Laurent’s auction. Ganymede. 3, pp. 4-5.
  6. Canning, R. (2009) New York City Boy: a conversation with Edmund White. Chroma Online.
  7. Canning, R. (2009) Novel ideas in a static landscape: a response to Les Brookes’s Gay Male Fiction Since Stonewall. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 16(1) 1532-1118.
  8. Canning, R. (2009) Stories with spice from Cornwall to Bali: Gentleman's Relish, by Patrick Gale. Independent. 0951-9467.
  9. Canning, R. (2009) Tomb with a view: three recent publications by E.M. Forster. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 16(2) 1532-1118.


  1. Canning, R. (2008) Brief Lives: Oscar Wilde. London: Hesperus Press. 9781843919056.
  2. Canning, R. (2008) The dancer and the dance: on the legacy of Rudolf Nureyev. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 15(3) 1532-1118.
  3. Canning, R., (ed.) (2008) Vital Signs: Essential AIDS Fiction. New York: Carroll and Graf. 9780786720095.
  4. Canning, R. (2008) What Allen Ginsberg told his friends. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 15(6) 1532-1118.
This list was generated from NECTAR on Wed Aug 15 15:07:19 2018 BST.

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