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Peter McDonald

Professor Peter D. McDonald is a Fellow of St Hugh's College and a Lecturer at the University of Oxford. He has written extensively on the history of 'literature' as a category from the nineteenth century to the present day, on publishing history, and on the relationship between literary institutions and the modern state.
For most of his professional life he has been thinking about the idea of culture as it has been shaped and reshaped over the past two hundred years, and about the processes and perils of literary guardianship, especially in the complex, mobile, and interconnected world that emerged in the course of the long twentieth century. This guiding interest has informed his work on censorship, the rise of mass culture, media history and questions of the book, the public value of literature, critical theory, and interculturalism. It has also led him to write on an eclectic range of authors, including Arnold, Beckett, Bennett, Blanchot, Bourdieu, Brink, Breytenbach, Coetzee, Conan Doyle, Conrad, Derrida, Gordimer, Jensma, Lawrence, Matthews, Mphahlele, Ndebele, Pound, Serote, Woolf, and Yeats. His main publications include 'British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice' (1997) and 'The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences' (2009).

Series featuring Peter McDonald

  • Censorship in Literature in South Africa
  • Writers in Dialogue
  • Great Writers Inspire
  • Interviews on Great Writers
  • Interviews with Oxonians
  • Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation (OCCT)
  • St Anne's College
# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Creative Commons Intercultural Literary Practices - Theorising Interculturality Dr. Birgit Kaiser (Utrecht), Prof. Peter McDonald (English), and Prof. Elleke Boehmer (English) Birgit Kaiser, Peter McDonald, Elleke Boehmer 20 Sep 2014
2 Creative Commons Peter D McDonald in conversation with Daljit Nagra Peter D. McDonald talks to the poet Daljit Nagra about cultural diversity, the contemporary life and history of the English language, the canons of English literature, and translation. Peter McDonald, Daljit Nagra 17 Mar 2014
3 Peter D McDonald in conversation with Amit Chaudhuri Peter D. McDonald talks to Amit Chaudhuri about his work as a novelist, critic and musician, focusing on his interest in the specificity of the many media he uses and on the challenge of thinking about cultural interconnectedness in new ways. Peter McDonald, Amit Chaudhuri 05 Jun 2013
4 Peter D McDonald in conversation with Derek Attridge Peter D. McDonald and Derek Attridge reflect on their different approaches to the questions of literature and public value, and on the bearing this has for teaching and research today. Peter McDonald, Derek Attridge 04 Jun 2013
5 Peter D McDonald in conversation with Antjie Krog Peter D. McDonald talks to Antjie Krog about her relationship to Afrikaans, English and African languages, about the promise and perils of translation, and about the challenges of and for writing in a multilingual democracy. Peter McDonald, Antjie Krog 04 Jun 2013
6 Peter D. McDonald in conversation with Arvind Krishna Mehrotra Peter D. McDonald talks to Arvind Krishna Mehrotra about his work as a poet, critic and translator, focusing on the idea of triangulation and his interest in the intersections between languages and literary traditions. Peter McDonald, Arvind Mehrotra 23 Apr 2013
7 Creative Commons DH Lawrence: A Postcolonial Writer? Professor Peter McDonald draws on the work of Indian novelist and literary critic, Amit Chaudhuri, to open up new ways of how we can think about D.H. Lawrence, not only as a Modernist, but also as a Post/Colonial writer. Peter McDonald 28 Aug 2012
8 Creative Commons Joseph Conrad and Postcoloniality - Part 2: Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim Professor Peter McDonald talks to Great Writers Inspire about the Post/Colonial aspects of Joseph Conrad's writing. Peter McDonald 28 Aug 2012
9 Creative Commons Joseph Conrad and Postcoloniality - Part 1: Conrad and Chinua Achebe Professor Peter McDonald talks to Great Writers Inspire about the Post/Colonial aspects of Joseph Conrad's writing. In this first part, Peter takes Chinua Achebe's 1975 critique of Conrad as a starting point. Peter McDonald 28 Aug 2012
10 Creative Commons What is a Great Writer? An academic panel discusses the question. In this panel discussion from the Great Writers Inspire Engage Event workshop, Dr Seamus Perry, Dr Margaret Kean, Professor Peter McDonald and Dr Ankhi Mukherjee discuss what we mean when we talk about greatness in writing. Seamus Perry, Margaret Kean, Peter McDonald, Ankhi Mukherjee 15 May 2012
11 Creative Commons J.M. Coetzee Professor Peter McDonald gives a talk on the work of South African Nobel Laureate, J.M. Coetzee. Peter McDonald 07 Feb 2012
12 Creative Commons Censorship in South Africa: Introduction Peter McDonald talks briefly about what first interested him in Censorship of Literature in South Africa. Peter McDonald 12 Jan 2010
13 Creative Commons Peter McDonald on Censorship in South Africa Peter McDonald talks with Oliver Lewis about censorship, its philosophical basis and general history within Apartheid South Africa. Peter McDonald, Oliver Lewis 12 Jan 2010
14 Creative Commons Political Perspectives to State Censorship of Literature Peter McDonald and David Robertson discuss the idea of state censorship, especially Apartheid era South Africa, looking at the political perspectives and implications of state censorship of literature. Peter McDonald, David Robertson 17 Nov 2009
15 Creative Commons Literature and State Censorship: A literary perspective Peter McDonald and Elleke Bohemer discuss state censorship from a literary perspective; also discussing the issues of nationalism, modernism and Apartheid. Peter McDonald, Elleke Boehmer 17 Nov 2009
16 Creative Commons Legal issues in state censorship Peter McDonald and Liora Lazarus discuss the legal issues of state censorship especially in Apartheid era South Africa. Peter McDonald, Liora Lazarus 17 Nov 2009
17 Creative Commons Legal issues in state censorship Peter McDonald and Liora Lazarus discuss the legal issues of state censorship especially in Apartheid era South Africa. Peter McDonald, Liora Lazarus 17 Nov 2009
18 Creative Commons Peter McDonald on Censorship in South Africa Peter McDonald talks about censorship, its philosophical basis and general history within Apartheid South Africa. Peter McDonald, Oliver Lewis 11 Aug 2009
19 Creative Commons Peter McDonald on Literature Summary: Peter McDonald talks about how he became to be interested in Literature, how he became to be an academic at Oxford and what it is like to study literature at Oxford. Peter McDonald, Oliver Lewis 11 Aug 2009