Dr Rick de Villiers
Senior Lecturer
Department Engish
Internal Box 28
Flippie Groenewoud Building: Block B 206

Short CV

Rick de Villiers is a senior lecturer in Department of English and a NRF Y1 rated scholar.

My first monograph, Eliot and Beckett`s Low Modernism: Humility and Humiliation, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2021. I hold a PhD from Durham University (UK). My teaching and research interests include: modernism, 20th and 21st century literature, literary theory, affect theory, and humility studies. Potential M.A. or PhD students with an interest in any of the above are welcome to contact me. For more info, see www.rickdevilliers.com/.



2021 Eliot and Beckett`s Low Modernism: Humility and Humiliation. Edinburgh University Press.


Selected articles and book chapters

2024. (forthcoming) `True Feints: Samuel Beckett and the Sincerity of Loneliness.` Journal of Modern Literature

2024. `Poetic Licentiousness and the Destitutions of High Culture.Critical Quarterly.  

2023 `Alternative Avatars of the Plagiarist, or, An Embarrassment of Glitches.` Textual Practice.

2023 `Transgeneric Assessment: Modernist Affordances for the Student Essay.` Critical Arts.  

2022 `Criteria of Embarrassment: JM Coetzee`s Jesus Trilogy and the legacy of modernist difficulty.` English Studies in Africa. 65.1: 58-71.

2021 `Samuel Beckett, Max Nordau, and the Worms of How It Is.The Explicator, 79.3: 101-103.

2020 `Mr Eliot`s Christmas Morning Service: Participation, Good Will, and Humility in Murder in the CathedralLiterature and Theology, 34.2: 166-183. 

2019 A Defence of Wretchedness: Beckett’s Molloy and humiliation’. Journal of Modern Literature, 42.2: 93-101.

2019 `"What can you do with a story like this[?]": the expectations and explicitations of South African Fiction.` Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 31.2.

2017 `Banishing the Backward Devils: Eliot`s Quatrain Poems and "Gerontion". In The New Cambridge Companion to T.S. Eliot, ed. Jason Harding, 55-70. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Reviews and other writing

2023 Essay: ChatGPTLon, or Prompts towards a Supreme FictionIn Media Res. 15 May 2023.  

2022 Essay: `The case of the acclaimed South African novel that ‘borrows’ from Samuel Beckett`The Conversation, 4 July 2022.  

2022 Review: Giving Way: Thoughts on Unappreciated Dispositions by Steven ConnorPhilosophy and Literature 46.1: 244-7.  

2021 Poem: `Except Names.` Stanzas Poetry Magazine?, no. 23 (July).

2021 Essay: `The poem not taken: Robert Frost and the inaugural tradition that isn`t`. Wild Courthttps://wildcourt.co.uk/features/essays/the-poem-not-taken-robert-frost-and-the-inaugural-tradition-that-isnt/

2020 Review: `Samuel Beckett`s How It Is: Philosophy in Translation,` Journal of Beckett Studies.

2018 Review: The Wartime Diary of WD Terry: A ‘Safrican’ at Cambridge, with selected letters 1938-1941, ed. Lawrence Wright,’ English Academy Review, 35.2.

2018 Review: Natures of Africa: Ecocriticism and Animal Studies in Contemporary Cultural Forms, ed. F. Fiona Moolla,’ English Academy Review, 35.2.

2018 Review: Losing the Plot: Crime, reality and fiction in postapartheid writing, by Leon de Kock,’ English Academy Review, 35.1.

2017 Review: The Sellout by Paul Beatty,’ The Scores: A Journal of Poetry and Prose.


Courses Presented

Courses taught  

ENGL 2614 - Early Modern to Contemporary World Literatures

ENGL 3718 - Early English Literature and Cultures

ENGL 3728 - Feeling Awkward (seminar)

ENGL 3728 - Wretched Writing: Poverty and the Literary Imagination (seminar)

ENGL 6814 - Literary Theory 

ENGC 6824 - Modernism`s Shakespeare

ENGL 6824 - Contemporary Critical Theory


Awards and Fellowships

2023 ASSAF Humanities Book Award: honourable mention for Eliot and Beckett`s Low Modernism

2022 Fellow of the Future Generation Professoriate (UFS)

2022 Humanities Excellence Award: Teaching Methods and Assessment 

2021-2023 UFS Teaching and Learning Fellow

2019-2021 Fellow of the Emerging Scholars Programme (UFS)

2021 Innovative Methods in Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching (Winner)

2021 Best Innovation in Curriculum Development Conference Paper



T: +27 51 401 2240 or humanities@ufs.ac.za

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu: +27 51 401 2536
Phyllis Masilo: +27 51 401 9683

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