School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Dr Aneesh Barai

Teaching Associate


Aneesh has just begun working as a Teaching Associate at Newcastle, after lecturing and supervising in English, Children's Literature and Film at Cambridge for two years, and teaching in English and Comparative Literature at Queen Mary for five years. He will be contributing to the first-year module Introduction to Literary Studies, the second-year module Modernisms and the third-year module Home, Heritage, History: 20th Century Children's Literature, drawing on his research expertise on intersections of modernism and children's literature.

In 2014, he completed a 6-month post-doctoral project as a research assistant for Dr Kiera Vaclavik at Queen Mary, on the AHRC-funded project “Addressing Alice: The Emergence of an Icon, 1865-1900”. His work for this focused on archival research into amateur performances and fancy dress of Alice in the late 19th century.

He completed his PhD at Queen Mary in 2014, titled “Replacing Rousseau’s Ideal Childhood: Place and Space in English Modernist Children’s Literature and Its French Translations”, and over has submitted a book proposal for its publication. In the thesis, he discussed works for children written by T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein and Walter de la Mare. His Master’s dissertation was on narrating sexual identity in the post-modern myths and fairy tales of Jeanette Winterson and Ali Smith.


School Stories 1900-1945: High, Middle and Low

Aneesh's current research is on early twentieth-century school stories in modernist, middlebrow and children’s literature, as well as films from the period. The first half of the twentieth century saw the rise of modernism, the boom of boarding school stories, and the growth of film as a popular medium, and was witness to debates about comprehensive education and its role in society. In bringing together texts for disparate audiences, this study aims to provide an overview of radical ideas of education in culture in this period, including in the works of Enid Blyton, D. H. Lawrence, Clemence Dane, R. K. Narayan and others, in relation to the teaching philosophies of Froebel, Montessori, Dewey and others.

Fantasy Film

Having co-created and convened a full-year undergraduate film paper last year, Aneesh is also preparing a number of articles on fantasy films and animation. This includes co-authoring a chapter already accepted for a collection on childhood and intergenerational alliances, on the films of Hayao Miyazaki, and co-authoring an article with Nozomi Uematsu on queer fantasy film.

English Modernist Children's Literature: Repositioning Rousseau and Childhood Innocence

Aneesh's PhD thesis was titled “Replacing Rousseau’s Ideal Childhood: Place and Space in English Modernist Children’s Literature and Its French Translations”. For this, Aneesh looked at Rousseau’s pervasive model of childhood education, based on the boy playing in the countryside and learning from nature, and how modernists challenged and critiqued Rousseau’s concepts, in light of the developments in psychology, transport technology, urbanisation and philosophy of the early twentieth century. Specifically, he considered texts by modernist authors (T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein) directed towards children, to propose a largely overlooked corpus of modernist children’s literature, and how they had been translated and adapted into French, and into visual media and performance. This project is currently under review as a monograph for John Benjamin’s series in Children’s Literature, Culture and Cognition.



First Year

SEL1008 Introduction to Literary Studies

Second Year

SEL2207 Modernisms

Third Year

SEL3338 Home, Heritage, History: 20th Century Children’s Literature