Dr. NG Zhao Feng
Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow
My research focuses on literature in the twentieth century, and is directed in relation to themes in religion, philosophy, and psychoanalysis.
My interest in the aesthetic and existential responses to suffering and evil in secular modernity has led to my first book on melancholy and theodicy in the works of the American writer and artist, Djuna Barnes. In unfolding a theoretical analysis of the structures of literary and religious worlds, this book also resituates questions of genre (comedy/tragedy) and anthropological embodiment (laughing/crying; queerness and hybridity) in the field of ontology.
My current work continues to examine twentieth-century literature and art in the context of the waning of traditional religious worlds. Dark Gods: Modernism in a Time of Political Religions reconsiders previous scholarly narratives on modernism, secularisation, and religious experience by focusing on the rise of Fascism and Communism in the interwar period. It considers how writers and artists of the period sought to conceptualise political world-making using religious concepts, and covers works by Wyndham Lewis, Jacob Epstein, Rebecca West, Louis Aragon, Nancy Cunard, and Mina Loy.