Edinburgh Research Explorer
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Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

I would be interested in supervising doctoral researchers in modern and contemporary literature.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Literature, Justus Liebig University Giessen
Travellers' Tales of Wonder in Contemporary Literature
Master of Arts, University College London
W.G. Sebald and the 'entire questionable business of writing'
Bachelor of Arts, University of Hull


Dr Cooke studied for an undergraduate degree in English Literature at Hull University (2000), and then for an MA in English: Issues in Modern Culture at University College London (2003); he then moved to Germany to join the International PhD Programme (IPP) ‘Literary and Cultural Studies’ and take up a scholarship at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen. At JLU, Dr Cooke taught in the Department of English and American Studies, and from 2009-10 was a Research Co-ordinator of the IPP. He returned to the UK in 2010 to take up a Research Fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford, where from April to September 2012 he also covered as administrator for the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing. Dr Cooke joined the English Department at Edinburgh University as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in autumn 2012, and was appointed as a Lecturer in autumn 2014.

Research Interests

Dr Cooke’s research interests lie primarily in modern and contemporary English and comparative literature and culture. The literature of travel is one area of special interest, and is the subject of his first monograph -Travellers' Tales of Wonder: Chatwin, Naipaul, Sebald - published by EUP in February 2013. His main current research project, 'Life and Work': Modernity and the Literary Life, focuses on various controversies concerning the relationships between writers' lives and their works, from the mid-nineteenth-century to the present. He also has strong interests in literature and translation (he is a co-founder, with Prof. Timothy Mathews (UCL), of the podcast interview series Between the Lines: Literature and the Arts in Translation) and in spy fiction and secrecy in modern literature, which ties in with his involvement as co-organiser with Prof. Penny Fielding and Dr David Sorfa of Edinburgh Spy Week


My main teaching at present, alongisde lecturing, dissertation supervision and workshops, is:


  • Fiction and Espionage (4th-year option)
  • Mystery and Horror (3rd-year option)
  • English Literature 1 tutorials (Semester 1)


  • Modernist Aesthetics, the first-semester core course for the MSc Literature and Modernity

Research outputs

  1. 'Parler de soi': Jean Rhys and the uses of life writing

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  2. Inner journeys: Travel writing as life writing

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  3. Travellers' Tales of Wonder: Chatwin, Naipaul, Sebald

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

View all (14) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Childhood Reading

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesOral presentation

  2. Life-Writing Colloquium

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  3. A 'world of method and intrigue': Muriel Spark's Literary Intelligence

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

View all (13) »

Research projects

  1. Spy Week

    Project: University Awarded Project Funding

View all (1) »

ID: 4504949