Alex Thomson

Senior Lecturer and Head of Department


Dr Alex Thomson has been at the University of Edinburgh since January 2006. From 2010 to 2014 he was Postgraduate Director of the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.

After completing his PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2001, Alex Thomson held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, before appointments as a lecturer at the University of Bristol and the University of Glasgow. Between July 1999 and January 2001, he was editor of Edinburgh Review.

He also holds an MA (Hons) in English and Scottish Literature from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in English Literature from the University of Sussex.

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Chair of University English (2017-)
  • Member of the Executive Steering Committee, British Association of Modernist Studies (2016-).
  • Convenor, Press Committee, Edinburgh University Press (2015-).

I have been chair of the Scottish Network of Modernist Studies.


Undergraduate teaching

  • Contemporary Scottish Fiction
  • Romanticism: Themes, Genres, Contexts
  • Modern Scottish Fiction
  • Scottish Literature 2

Postgraduate teaching

  • Critical Theory: Issues and Debates

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I have supervised research projects on twentieth-century Scottish writing,  as well as on modernist, avant-garde and contemporary poetics.

I am happy to supervise research on a wide range of topics in literary, cultural and critical theory.

Current PhD students supervised

James Benstead - Hugh MacDiarmid's late poetry

Past PhD students supervised

Corey Gibson - Endless Flyting: The Formulation of Hamish Henderson’s Cultural Politics. [Revised as "The Voice of the People: Hamish Henderson and Scottish Cultural Politics" Edinburgh University Press, 2015]

Christos Hadjiyiannis - A Re-examination of the work of T.E. Hulme.

Nathalie Ingrassia - Norman MacCaig and the Fascination of Existence.

Lila Matsumoto - Poetic Experiments and Transnational Exchange: the little magazines Migrant (1959-60) and Poor.Old.Tired.Horse (1962-67).

Greg Thomas - Concrete Poetry in England and Scotland 1962-1975: Ian Hamilton Finlay, Edwin Morgan, Dom Sylvester Houedard and Bob Cobbing.

Silvia Villa - The Concept of Canon in Literary Studies: Critical Debates 1970-2000.

Project activity

  • In the field of 19th century Scottish literature I am currently editing Memories and Portraits for the New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, to be published by Edinburgh University Press. Dr Thomson has published an essay on Stevenson's use of familiar style in this volume of essays, as well as book chapters on Stevenson's reception, and on politics, history and literature in Treasure Island. As co-director of the Scottish Writing in the Nineteenth Century project, I work with Professor Penny Fielding to oversee a programme of research seminars and public engagement events, as well as a regular staff-postgraduate reading group.
  • Dr Thomson's interests in international modernism, and in twentieth century literature, are reflected in my recent essay on Hugh MacDiarmid and Wyndham Lewis in an issue of Modernist Cultures on 'Ex-centric Modernisms', co-edited with Matthew Creasy, as well as in my long-term involvement with the Scottish Network of Modernist Studies, of which I am currently the Chair.
  • Alongside Benjamin Arditi, and Andrew Schaap, Dr Thomson is series editor for the Edinburgh University Press series Taking on the Political, publishing new work in political theory that draws on the tradition of continental political thought.

View all 30 publications on Research Explorer