Marcel DeCoste

PhD (McGill University); MA (York University); BA (University of Toronto)

Office: AH 306
Phone: 306-585-4691

Research interests

  • 20th-century British and American Literature, particularly: Modernism
  • Literature of the World Wars
  • The fiction of Evelyn Waugh, Flannery O’Connor, and Cormac McCarthy.

Prof. Marcel DeCoste joined the English Department at the University of Regina in the summer of 2000. His area of teaching and research interest is the literature of the twentieth century, in particular British and American poetry and fiction of the period. His time at U of R has seen him offer undergraduate courses in Anglo-American modernist verse, modernist short fiction, horror fiction, and African-American prose. He also regularly teaches a course on James Joyce, which allows for an intensive exploration of the greatest novel in the English language, 1922's Ulysses, as well as classes in British literature of World Wars II. His graduate seminars have included single-author studies of T. S. Eliot, Evelyn Waugh, and Cormac McCarthy, as well courses on the women of modernism, modernism and popular culture, and modernism and the problem of history.

This protracted engagement with the twentieth century has yielded a number of articles which have appeared in such venues as Twentieth Century Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, Journal of Modern Literature, Contemporary Literature, Style, Renascence, Religion & Literature, and Christianity and Literature. He has recently completed a book-length study of Catholicism in the fiction of Cormac McCarthy for Louisiana State University Press.

Scholarly Publications


Confessing Endarkenment: Cormac McCarthy's Catholic Critique of American Enlightenment. Forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press.

The Vocation of Evelyn Waugh: Faith and Art in the Post-War Fiction. Ashgate, 2015.

Articles in Refereed Journals

"'A Professor of Darkness': Higher Education and the Annihilation of Virtue in Cormac McCarthy's The Sunset Limited."  The Cormac McCarthy Journal, 19.2 (2021): 109-127.

"'When You Stop Pretending that You Know': Gnosis, Humility, and Christian Charity in Cormac McCarthy's The Stonemason." Religion and the Arts. 25.1-2 (2021):125-146.

"'One Among and not Separate From': Fallen Communion and Forfeit Community in Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing." Christianity and Literature 69.3 (Fall 2020): 439-58.

“Confessing Compassion: Waugh’s Penitential Performance in Sword of Honour.” Logos 22.3 (Summer 2019): 156-81.

“This Is My Body: The Saving Knowledge of Suffering Flesh in Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood.” Journal of Religion & Literature 49.2 (Summer 2017): 65-91. (Appeared March 2019).

“Contested Confessions: The Sins of the Press and Evelyn Waugh’s False Penance in The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold.” Logos 21.3 (Summer 2018): 64-81.

“‘Merely Hints and Symbols?’ Kierkegaard and the Progressive Oracles of Brideshead Revisited.” Christianity and Literature. 66.2 (March 2017): 244-262.

“‘A Thing that Even Death Cannot Undo’: The Operation of the Theological Virtues in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.” Journal of Religion and Literature. 44.2 (Summer 2012): 67-91. (Appeared August, 2013).

“‘(AND YOU GET FAR TOO MUCH PUBLICITY ALREADY WHOEVER YOU ARE)’: Gossip, Celebrity and Modernist Authorship in Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies.” Papers on Language and Literature 49.1 (Winter 2013): 3-36.

“Temptations of the Craftsman in Middle-Age: Diabolical Art and Christian Vocation in The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold.” Renascence 63.3 (Spring 2011): 189-209.

“‘A Frank Expression of Personality’? Sentimentality, Silence and Early Modernist Aesthetics in Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier.” Journal of Modern Literature v. 31.1 (Fall 2007): 101-23. (Appeared February, 2008).

“The Plasticity of the Merely Human: Secular Perfection and the Limits of Aesthetics in Waugh’s Love Among the Ruins.” Renascence 60.1 (Fall 2007): 33-52.

“Question and Apocalypse: The Endlessness of Historia in Graham Swift’s Waterland.” Contemporary Literature 43.2 (Summer 2002): 377-399. (Appeared September 2002).

“Waugh’s War and the Loop of History: From Put Out More Flags to Brideshead Revisited and Back Again.” Style. 34.3 (Fall 2000): 458-86. (Appeared February 2001).

“Modernism’s Shell-Shocked History: Amnesia, Repetition and the War in Graham Greene’s The Ministry of Fear.” Twentieth Century Literature 45.4 (Winter 1999): 428-451. (Appeared, March 2000).

“To Blot It All Out: The Politics of Realism in Richard Wright’s Native Son.” Style 32.1 (Spring 1998): 127-147. (Appeared February 1999).

“’Do you remember to-morrow?’: Modernism and Its Second War in Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano.” Modern Fiction Studies 44.3 (1998): 767-791.

Chapters in Books

“‘Tony madly feudal’: Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust and the Conservative Critique of Secular Conservatism.” Literature and the Conservative Ideal. Ed. Mark Zunac. Lexington Books. April, 2016. 127-151.

“Beyond the Pale? Craster and the Pathological Reproduction of Houses in Westeros.” Mastering the Game of Thrones: Essays on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Ed. Jes Battis and Susan Johnston. McFarland, 2015. 225-42.

“The World's Anachronism: The Timelessness of the Secular in Evelyn Waugh's Helena.” “A Handful of Mischief”: New Essays on Evelyn Waugh. Ed. Donat Gallagher, Ann Pasternak Slater, and John Howard Wilson. Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2011. 160-71.

“The Literary Response to the Second World War.” A Companion to the British and Irish Novel, 1945-2000. Ed. Brian Shaffer. Blackwell, 2005. 3-20.

Master’s Theses Supervised

Spencer, Katherine. "'Pull Out His Eyes, Apologize': Confession and the Body in James Joyce." Defended May, 7, 2021.

Griffin, Laura. “D.H. Lawrence, Gender, and the Body.” Defended May 22, 2020.

Otis, Harrison. “A Love that Points: The Teleologies of Evelyn Waugh and Iris Murdoch.” Successfully defended, April 10, 2018.

Wenaus, William. “Yi Sang and Global Modernism.” Defended, Sept. 6, 2016. Soloduk, Myron.

Soloduk, Myron. “The Relevance of Error: Dynamic Dialetheia in the ‘Ithaca’ Episode of James Joyce’s Ulysses”. Successfully defended, June 29 2011.

Dusel, Susan. “Writing the Body into the War Text: Women Writers Confront Ideologies of Nation and Gender.” Successfully defended, January 22, 2008.

Murphy, Arin. “Reconstructing the Past in the Academic Novel: The Concept of Nostalgia in Thatcher Britain.” Concordia University. Successfully defended, March 2000.

Honours Essay Supervised

Leeper, Jessica. “W.B. Yeats’s A Vision as ‘Metaphors for Poetry:’ Tracing Threads of Symbolic Opposition in Yeats’s Verse.” Defended April, 2020.

Griffin, Laura. “The Damage of War: Writing the Burden of World War I’s Memory in Robert Graves and Virginia Woolf.” Defended, December 19, 2016.

Fontaine, Michael. “Urban Revisions of Irish Identity in Sean O’Casey’s “Dublin Trilogy” and Samuel Beckett’s Murphy” Defended, March 22, 2013.

Jensen, Richard. “The Path of the Uncommon Common Man: Anishinabe Philosophy and James Joyce’s Ulysses”. Defended, April 29, 2011.

Hahn, Steven. “‘The Shadow of Annihilation:’ The repetitions of Destructive History in W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn and Austerlitz”. Defended, May 4, 2009.

Horacki, Michael J. “Swarm Intelligence and Michel Foucault’s Model of Discourse.” Defended, April 2008.