Hannah Simpson

Simpson_PhotoMy primary research interests are modernist and postmodern drama and choreography, with an emphasis on the work of Samuel Beckett. I am particularly interested in questions of physical pain, deformation and agency. I examine the presentation and reception of deviant, defective or damaged bodies on the stage, both as objects of aesthetic spectacle and in terms of the empathetic and empathic spectator response that such bodies generate. A strong interest in disability theory, dismodernism and gender theory informs my research.

You can view my CV here.

PhD, English Literature, Boston University, in progress.
M.A., English Literature, Boston University, 2015
B.A., English Literature and French, University of Oxford, 2014


“ ‘Now keep out of the way, Whitelaw’: Self-Expression, Agency and Directorial Control in Yeats’s and Beckett’s Theatre,” forthcoming in Comparative Drama Summer 2016.

“ ‘Strange laughter’: Post-Gothic Questions of Laughter and the Human in Samuel Beckett’s Work,” forthcoming in the Journal of Modern Literature.

Review of Willful Subjects by Sara Ahmed, forthcoming in College Literature.

Conference Presentations

“ ‘In effect, my head was now held in a vice, clamped at either side of my temples’: The Vice as Control of Physical Movement on the Beckettian Stage”, Beckett and Vice, San Diego, CA, February 21-24, 2016.

“ ‘Let us watch her move’: The Implications of Beckettian Control over the Actor’s Body”, SAMLA, Durham, NC,November 13-15, 2015.

“ ‘Drive him for the stage he has dishonoured’: Ira Aldridge Performing Blackness on the White Stage”, Violation: Representations in Literature and Culture, McGill University, Montreal, February 21-22, 2015.

“ ‘Is there ever anything you write for an actor that isn’t physically painful?’: Directorial Torture, the Actor’s Physical Suffering, and Agency in the Beckettian Production”, Staging Beckett and Contemporary Theatre and Performance Cultures: University of Reading, England, April 9- 11, 2015.

“Beckett and Schopenhauer: Suicide and Vedantic Hinduism”, Samuel Beckett Society Inaugural Conference, Phoenix, AZ, February 19-20, 2015.

Courses Taught

Teaching assistant:

EN 128: Representing Boston (Fall 2015 with Professor Howell)