Celeste Callen

Thesis title: Dickens and Time: Exploring Subjective Temporal Experience in Dickens’ Fiction through the lens of Bergson’s Philosophy of Durée

Background

Celeste Callen holds a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature from King's College London and an MSc in Enlightenment, Romantic and Victorian Literature from the University of Edinburgh. She is a third year PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD research explores subjective temporal experience in Dickens’ fiction, and more specifically Dickens anticipation of modern philosophy’s conception of temporal experience, by reading his fiction through the lens of Henri Bergson’s philosophy of time. Her other areas of interest include representations of selfhood, subjectivity and temporality, as well as reflections on the novel and the philosophy of time more broadly.

 

 

Qualifications

PhD in English Literature (2020- Present)

MSc Literature and Society: Enlightenment, Romantic and Victorian from The University of Edinburgh (2019)

BA (Hons) English Language and Literature from King's College London (2018)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Reader for the James Tait Black Prize in Fiction (2021 and 2022 Prizes)

Undergraduate teaching

Tutor for the English Literature 2 Undergraduate course.

Research summary

Celeste Callen's research interests focus mainly on time and subjective temporal experience in nineteenth-century fiction. She is interested in the relationship between the self and time, representations of selfhood, subjectivity and temporality, as well as reflections on the novel and the philosophy of time. 

 

Conference details

The Past as Nightmare Conference - The University of Reading, 6th-7th September 2022

My paper will explore my current PhD research on subjective temporal experience in Dickens' fiction and is titled: 'Dickens and the Disequilibrium of the Self: Between Haunting Pasts and Unpredictable Futures.'

 

The 27th Annual Dickens Society Symposium: 'Our Dickens: Dickens and His Publics' in collaboration with the Dickens Museum - London, 8th-10th July 2022

This paper will present my current PhD research. This research explores the complex and sinuous relationship between the self and time through the depiction of subjective temporal experience in Dickens’ fiction, focusing on on David Copperfield and Great Expectations. 

 

Late Summer Lecture Series 2021: The Past, Present and Future - Durham University Department of English 

'Dickens and the Disequilibrium of the Self: Between Haunting Pasts and Unpredictable Futures'

This paper presents my doctoral research, exploring the complex relationship between the self and time in Dickens' David Copperfield. Reading Dickens' novel through the theoretical lens of Henri Bergson's subjective temporal philosophy, this paper aims to reveal the disequilibrium that is at the heart of the human experience of time, one that oscillates between memory and the future. 

 

The Thomas Hardy Society Tess of the D'Urbervilles Study Day - October 2021

'The Experience of Marginality and Rejection in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles'

My paper drew its inspiration from a comparison between Frankenstein's creature in Mary Shelley's work and Hardy's heroine, Tess. For Tess, just like Frankenstein's creature, a perpetual question of belonging arises from a life of rejection and despair. This discussion explored the ways in which Tess, just like Frankenstein's creature, became a marginalised creature herself.

 

Threshold, Boundary and Crossover in Fantasy Conference at The University of York - March 2020

'Dickens and Barrie: The Threshold of Time'

My paper explored the blurred boundaries between childhood and adulthood in Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Barrie's Peter and Wendy, in which I discussed the ways in which the representation of doors and windows pervade these works, acting as imaginary thresholds and portals between worlds.  

Organiser

Organiser for the 'Shaping the Self: The Construction of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Fiction' Conference at The University of Edinburgh, Thursday 19 May 2022. 

'Undesirable Darkness and Frightful Deeds: Spectacle and Guilt in Dickens' Oliver Twist and Elizabeth Mary Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret', in "Make 'em cry, make 'em laugh, make 'em wait": Sensation, mystery and detection in the Victorian novel. The ESSE Messenger, Vol. 29-2 Winter 2020.