Dominic Rainsford is Professor of Literature in English and Head of the Department of English at Aarhus University, Denmark, where has worked since 1998. Before that he taught for a few years at universities in England, Wales, Poland, and the United States. Both his BA (1987) and PhD (1994) are from University College London. During the tenure of his British Academy Visiting Fellowship he will be attached to the Department of English at Royal Holloway, University of London. He will be working to complete a book on literature, ethics, and quantification.
The starting point for this project was the observation that numbers are used incoherently in public discourse, for example in politics and the media, in relation to issues of moral concern, reflecting an irreducible difficulty that we all have in trying to quantify, and thus give relative importance to, both bad things and good things that happen in our own lives and to those around us. The major claim is that pragmatic, statistical, and philosophical thought about this question not only can but must be supplemented by forms of literariness. This claim is worked out through discussion of a wide range of texts and genres, from Renaissance tragedy, through the Victorian novel, to contemporary poetry, both within and beyond English-language traditions.