Contact Details


Role: Departmental Lecturer in English (1800 to the Present)

Close up of David Barnes, who has short dark brown hair and dark rimmed glasses


I studied English at Oxford as an undergraduate; I then moved to London to work in journalism, before completing an MA and PhD at Queen Mary, University of London. After completing my PhD, I was a postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of Birmingham, before holding various teaching and research positions in Oxford. I’ve also held visiting research fellowships at the Harrison Institute, University of Virginia and Senate House Library, University of London. My doctoral research delved into the political and historical contexts of 19th and 20th century literary depictions of Venice. This work was later developed as my first monograph, The Venice Myth: Culture, Literature, Politics.

I also continue to write in other media, including radio, where I occasionally produce and present programmes. In 2021, I co-produced Regarding the Pain of Others for BBC Radio 3/World Service, and in 2019 I wrote and presented Escape of the Zebra (also for Radio 3) – a documentary that followed the dramatic escape of a Grevy’s zebra from London Zoo during the Blitz of 1941 (link here BBC Radio 3: Between the Ears - The Escape of the Zebra from the Zoo.) My writing has also appared in The Times, Guardian, TLS, New European and Literary Hub.

Research Interests

I’m particularly interested in the role of cities in the modern cultural imaginary. My first book explored the ways in which the contested politics and history of Venice shaped a range of literary and cultural responses from 1800 to the present. Current research interests focus on two areas of interest. Urban Animals is a project focusing on the role of the animal in the modern city, and features a range of literary figures, from Dickens to Virginia Woolf, Bram Stoker to T.S. Eliot.

My second area of interest lies in exploring a range of transatlantic cultural exchanges in the late 19th and early 20th century. It examines the ways in which ideologies of empire and race condition or determine the forms of exchange – literary and cultural – between Europe and the Americas. Authors of interest here include Henry James, Edith Wharton, D.H. Lawrence and Langston Hughes.


For LMH, I teach Prelims Papers 3, 4 and the literature side of Paper 1. For the Faculty of English, I lecture in Victorian and early 20th century writing.

Selected Publications

'What Hemingway Means in the Twenty-First Century'. Literary Hub, April 2023.

'Hemingway's British Accents'. Symbiosis: Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations 26.2. 2022.

'How T.S. Eliot's Therapeutic Practice Produced The Waste Land'. Literary Hub, October 2022.

‘Pleasure and Politics: European and American Writers in Nineteenth-Century Venice’. In Viva Venezia! (catalogue for the Belvedere Gallery, Vienna). Cologne: Walther & Franz Konig, 2022.

‘“Race against Race, Immutable”: Pound’s Fascist Readings of Henry James’. Textual Practice 34:7. 2020.

‘Why British Tourists in Europe have Never Really Changed’. The New European, March 2020. 

‘Canto 26’. In Readings in the Cantos Volume I, ed. Richard Parker (Liverpool University Press/ Clemson University Press). 2018.

‘Mexico, Revolution and Indigenous Politics in D.H. Lawrence’s The Plumed Serpent’. MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 63:4. 2017.

‘“All the People in the Ring Together”: Hemingway, Performance and the Politics of the Corrida de Toros’ Modernist Cultures 11:1. 2016.

‘Introduction: New Transatlanticisms’. Modernist Cultures 11:1. 2016

Edited special issue: New TransatlanticismsModernist Cultures 11:1. 2016.

The Venice Myth: Culture, Literature, Politics 1800 to the Present (Routledge, 2014)