James McNaughton

James McNaughton

Associate Professor
Director, Graduate Studies


  • PhD, English, University of Michigan

Research Areas

  • 20th-Century Irish and British Literatures
  • Critical Theory
  • International Modernisms


I joined UA English in 2007 as a specialist in 20th-Century Irish writing, British and Irish poetry, Anglo-European modernisms, and critical theory. Though my scholarship addresses modernism and Irish writing more broadly, my recent work examines Samuel Beckett’s political aesthetic. I find Beckett’s work particularly exciting and productive in exploring specific connections among politics, philosophy, literature, and history. I welcome the chance to work with students interested in these areas.

I founded and direct “UA in Ireland,” a study abroad program run in conjunction with the National University of Ireland, Galway.

In 2013, I was awarded the University of Alabama’s Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award.



Reviews: Textual Practice, The Beckett Circle, Irish University Review, Journal of Beckett Studies

Special Issue

  • McNaughton, James with Neil Doshi, eds. “Beckett’s Political Aesthetic on the International Stage.” Special issue, Samuel Beckett Today/Aujuord’hui 31:2 (2019), 183-327.

Public Interviews and Recorded Lecture

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Erudition and Ignorance,” The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Beckett (Oxford: Oxford University Press), forthcoming.
  • “Sean Hillen, Conspiracy, and the Ends of Irish Art,” Irish Studies Review (2021).
  • “Choose Your Horror: An Introduction to Beckett’s Political Aesthetic on the International Stage,” Samuel Beckett Today/Aujuord’hui 31:2 (2019): 183-200.
  • Samuel Beckett’s ‘Echo’s Bones’: Politics and Entailment in the Irish Free-State.” Modern Fiction Studies 60.2 (Summer 2014), 320-344.
  • Thomas MacGreevy’s Poetics of Loss: War, Sexuality, and Archive.” Journal of Modern Literature 35.4 (2012), 130-150.
  • “The Politics of Aftermath: Beckett, Modernism, and the Free State.” Beckett and Ireland: New Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010, 56-77.
  • “Beckett’s ‘Brilliant Obscurantics’: Watt and the Problem of Propaganda.” Samuel Beckett: History, Memory, Archive. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 47-69.
  • “Beckett, German Fascism, and History: The Futility of Protest.” Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui 15 (2005), 101-116.


Book Reviews