Richard Vytniorgu © 2020
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I am a British-Romanian writer, literary scholar, and early career academic in the UK. A specialist in women's writing and twentieth-century literature, culture, and pedagogy, I am also interested in contemporary gay writing, film, and visual culture (including erotica).
My first book, published in 2019, (The Butterfly Hatch) was on the modernist writer Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) (1886-1961) and the educational theorist Louise Rosenblatt (1904-2005), in which I explored how aesthetic experience of literature, especially of the past, can lead to exploration of issues usually associated with wisdom. I defined wisdom as a mix of self-knowledge, life management, and insight into human experiences which are shared across cultures. This work challenged prevailing approaches to literature as pseudo-history and argued for the importance of an experiential engagement with literature and its personalising potential.
I have also published on other twentieth-century women writers such as Virginia Woolf, Ottoline Morrell, and Elizabeth David (forthcoming).
Since completing my doctoral work I have collaborated on various engaged research projects using arts/literary-based approaches to exploring gender, sexuality, politics, and wellbeing.
From 2019-21 I worked on an AHRC- and Wellcome-funded project with Heike Bartel and Una Foye at the University of Nottingham on narratives of eating disorders in men, culminating in an animated training tool co-produced with men with lived experiences of eating disorders.
I am now working on a number of projects related to gender, sexuality, and belonging, most of which are engaged research projects and which utilise literary forms such as poetry, theatre, and film to explore the intersection of these themes. At the University of Exeter I am part of an AHRC-funded project on LGBTQIA+ loneliness and belonging.
My next monograph explores the importance of place in shaping representations of gay male effeminacy in contemporary European film and erotica (since 2010). Developing the concept of 'effeminate belonging', I am interested in how film and erotica imagine ways for effeminate gay men to belong -- to identities, locations, communities, and their own bodies -- which can be empowering as well as addressing the challenge of effeminophobia, especially among rural settings. This work will connect existing scientific and social-scientific studies on effeminate gay males (including self-identified gay bottoms) to contemporary literary and artistic representations of gay male effeminacy, highlighting the importance of the imagination for fostering modes of effeminate belonging.
I also continue to write journalism for a range of national and international platforms on topics such as culture, gay sexuality, citizenship, religion, and food, and I review books for The Lady magazine.
My research has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.
I am currently Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health at the University of Exeter, and Honorary Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Cultures, Languages, and Area Studies at the University of Nottingham, and I teach Academic Writing at Coventry University.
Previously, I have taught literature at the University of Leicester (2015-18) and De Montfort University (2017), and delivered lectures on modernism at Edge Hill University and the University of Valencia.
In 2017 I was also a Visiting Fellow at Veliko Tarnovo University in Bulgaria.
Since 2013 I have also modelled for gay artists and photographers interested in representing gay twink bodies and atypical masculinities.
I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Aacademy, supporting excellence in teaching and learning.
In 2020 I was shortlisted for the Mollie Salisbury Cup, an annual memoir competition in memory of Lady Salisbury.