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Ross Deans McLachlan

PhD candidate



I am an AHRC funded PhD student in English Language. I completed my MA(Hons) and MPhil(R) in the same subject area at the University of Glasgow, the latter being funded by the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (HTOED) Scholarship and the Bellahouston Scholarship.

My research is primarily in the field of cognitive narratology, a branch of ‘postclassical’ narrative theory which seeks to study the mind-relevant aspects of storytelling. Specifically, the focus is on the dual nature of narrative, broadly conceived: firstly, narrative as object of interpretation; secondly, narrative as a means of making sense of experience.

In this respect, cognitive narratology is equally as indebted to ‘classical’ structuralist models of narrative as it is to contemporary linguistics, psychology, phenomenology, and cognitive science. With a foundational commitment to the interdisciplinary study of storytelling, cognitive narratology is an open, exciting, dynamic field of enquiry.

Research and Teaching Interests

Drawing on existing theories and frameworks within cognitive narratology, my PhD thesis takes illness narratives as the primary object of analysis. Specifically, I am interested in the ‘naturalizing’ strategies readers employ when reading autobiographical accounts of chronic illness, particular when those accounts appear incoherent, fragmented, or broken.

Adopting the cognitive narratological view of the dual nature of narrative, my PhD therefore wants to ask a dual question: (1) how do readers make sense of narrative incoherence; (2) how do these fragmented narratives make sense of experience? Finally, what can this approach contribute to debates surrounding the philosophical and psychological conception of ‘narrative identity’?



  • College of Arts, School of Critical Studies