Dr George Potts

College Lecturer in English

George Potts is a College Lecturer in English.

George Potts studied for his BA, MA and PhD degrees at University College London, for which he was awarded an AHRC Research Preparation Masters Studentship and a Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities. After completing his doctorate, George taught at UCL and Queen Mary University of London, before coming to Oxford in 2019. He held a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship in the Faculty of English from 2019-23 and is teaching at St Edmund Hall for the 2023-24 academic year.

George Potts works primarily on twentieth- and twenty-first-century British and American poetry, with a focus to date on three areas in particular: modern poetry’s relationship with cinema, the city, and with intertextuality and literary history. Articles based on his research in these fields have appeared in such journals as American Literary History, Critical Quarterly, ELH, Essays in Criticism, and Modernist Cultures.

George is currently completing a book titled Charlie Chaplin Among the Poets, which examines the filmmaker’s far-reaching relations with poetry and poets over the past century. As cinema’s foremost global icon, Chaplin has inspired poets in diverse and complex ways: through his films’ political commitments, anarchic clowning, queer subtexts, sentimentalism and kinetic slapstick, to name but a few. Not only has Chaplin exercised a major influence on the styles, subjects and ideas of many poets, but he also knew writers in his lifetime – Hart Crane, Claude McKay and Gertrude Stein among them – and was himself a reader and writer of verse. Combining archival research, literary biography, reception history and close reading, the book uncovers Chaplin’s relationships with poets and analyses their work’s mutual influence. In doing so, Charlie Chaplin Among the Poets opens up new perspectives on a wide range of modern poetry – including Wilfred Owen, Marianne Moore, Louis Zukofsky, Elizabeth Bishop, Bob Kaufman and Lorna Goodison – as well as on the life and work of film’s most famous comedian. With Beci Carver (University of Exeter), George is also currently co-editing a special issue of Critical Quarterly titled ‘Chaplinish’, which will offer a new set of readings of the filmmaker’s life, work and legacy.

Journal Articles

I think of Chaplin”: Poetry and the Tramp in Cold War America’, American Literary History 35:2 (2023), 744-68.

The Stoic Comedy of Elizabeth Bishop and Buster Keaton’, ELH: English Literary History 89:3 (2022), 807-32.

Influence poetry once more”: Allen Tate and Milton’s “Lycidas”’, Modernist Cultures 14:2 (2019), 193-212. Awarded runner-up in the British Association for Modernist Studies Essay Prize.

Simple, Sensuous and Passionate”: John Milton and Geoffrey Hill’, Essays in Criticism 67:2 (2017), 154-74.

Trench traffic: David Jones’s In Parenthesis’, Critical Quarterly 58:4 (2016), 99-112.

Book Chapters

‘Pseudo-Cities: Exhibitionary, Military, Cinematic’, in British Literature in Transition, 1900-1920: A New Age?, ed. James Purdon (Cambridge University Press, 2021), 317-30.

Where next?

English Language and Literature

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