Michael Bowden


I graduated from the University of Manchester in 2012 with a BA (1:1) in English Literature. My Long Essay focused on the portrayal of masculinity in Raymond Carver's short fiction.

In 2016 I graduated from Manchester with an MA (Distinction) in English Studies. My thesis concerned the representation of evil in Cormac McCarthy's novels.

Outside of academia, I have held various roles in publishing and journalism.

I have twice undertaken 6-month oversees placements contributing to social development, once in Malawi (2008) and once in Thailand (2014).

Research interests

My research focuses on contemporary responses to Dostoevsky with an emphasis on ethics and morality.

In order to analyse Dostoevsky’s relevance to contemporary moral/ethical debates, my research concerns a global range of authors that expressly identify a debt to Dostoevsky in their respective works. This range includes authors such as J.M. Coetzee, David Foster Wallace, and Atiq Rahimi.

I am particularly interested in the ways these contemporary works challenge a prevailing belief that Dostoevsky’s ethics cannot be divorced from his Russian Orthodox faith.

My research is interdisciplinary in nature, embracing literary studies, narrative theory and ethical philosophy. Building a theoretical framework from the philosophical writings of Mikhail Bakhtin and Emmanuel Levinas, I aim to resituate Dostoevskian ethics within a polyphonic narrative structure and thus allow for their adoption in a poststructural, secular context.

My research is funded by Leeds’ Arts Cross Disciplinary Research Scholarship.

Conference Papers 

'"It is his voice, not his reasoning, that sweeps me along": Ethical Plagiarism in Dostoevsky and Coetzee', Plagiarising Posterity: Reading the 19th Century Backwards, The University of Exeter, June 2018

‘“The highest synthesis of life”: Levinasian Ethics in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot’, BASEES Annual Conference, Robinson College, Cambridge, April 2019

‘Totality and Infinite Jest: A Levinasian Search for Contemporary Ethics in The Brothers Karamazov’, The XVII International Dostoevsky Symposium, Boston University, July 2019