My research focuses on modern British and Irish literature, with particular attention to how literary texts interact with the social, political, and cultural contexts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At present I am working on a study of literary modernism's response to the decline and fall of the British aristocracy in the modern democratic age. This project embraces figures from Wilde and James in the late nineteenth century to Yeats, Woolf, Lawrence, Huxley, and Bowen in the early twentieth century.
Earlier projects include book-length studies of impressionism and censorship. In A Sense of Shock: The Impact of Impressionism on Modern British and Irish Writing (2011), I consider literary impressionism in relation to social and political upheavals of the modern age, especially the rise of anarchism, terrorism, and nationalism and the emergence of modern discourses of sexuality and gender. This book includes detailed discussion of several Victorian writers (Pater, James, Wilde, and others) as well as various Moderns (Bowen, Conrad, Ford, Rhys, Wells, and Woolf). My first book, Modernism and the Theater of Censorship (1996), situates the fiction of James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and Radclyffe Hall in the context of censorship controversies that shaped British writing in the modernist period.
I teach a range of undergraduate courses on modern British, Irish, and American literature since 1900. The classes I offer most regularly include 20th-Century British Novel, 21st-Century British Fiction, and James Joyce. I also teach the sophomore survey of British literature since 1700 and First-Year Odyssey seminars (2015: "Portraits of the Artist"; 2017: "Brave New World in Context"). My most recent graduate seminars have studied "Ulysses and Company" and "Modernism and the Aristocracy." This Fall I am offering a seminar on Forster, Lawrence, Huxley, and Bowen.
I would welcome working with graduate students who specialize in any aspect of modern British, Irish, and American literature; I am especially interested in projects that examine literary texts in relation to historical, critical, and theoretical contexts. The topics of doctoral dissertations I have supervised to completion in the last dozen years include modernist women writers and the periodical press; the impact of early film on James and Conrad; mid-twentieth-century fictions of West Indian immigration; and literary animism in Bowen, Joyce, and Woolf. I have also supervised M.A. theses on Joyce, Conrad, and T.S. Eliot, among others.
Ph.D., University of Rochester, 1988-1993.
B.A., Cambridge University, 1985-1988.
Wolverhampton Grammar School, 1977-1984.
A Sense of Shock: The Impact of Impressionism on Modern British and Irish Writing (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day: A Reader's Guide (Continuum, 2001).
Modernism and the Theater of Censorship (Oxford University Press, 1996). Listed by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book.
Some recent essays, articles, and reviews
“'A Small Caste of Experts': Aristocracy, Intelligence, and Stupidity in Huxley’s Interwar Fiction," Aldous Huxley Annual 15 (forthcoming).
“Elizabeth Bowen’s Mélisande,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 59:4 (Winter, 2017, forthcoming).
“Naturalism, Realism, and Impressionism,” in Late Victorian into Modern, 1880-1920, ed. Laura Marcus, Kristin Shepherd-Barr, and Michèle Mendelssohn (Oxford University Press, 2016).
Review of Daniel Albright, Putting Modernism Together: Literature, Music, and Painting, 1872-1927, Review 19 (July 22, 2015): http://www.nbol-19.org/view_doc.php?index=401
“Varieties of Modernist Im/Personality” (review of Jed Esty, Unseasonable Youth and Max Saunders, Self Impression), Modern Fiction Studies (Fall 2013).
“History, Bloodshed, and the Spectacle of American Identity in Blood Meridian,” in Cormac McCarthy: New Directions, ed. James Lilley (University of New Mexico Press, 2002; reissued in paperback, 2014).
"Expatriation, Snobbery, and the Commonplace in Aaron's Rod," SAMLA, Atlanta, November 2017
“Recovering Elizabeth Bowen’s Mélisande,” Victorian Studies Institute Conference, Furman University, Greenville, SC, October 2017
"'A Small Caste of Experts’: Huxley’s Fictions of the Twenties and Thirties,” Sixth International Aldous Huxley Symposium, Almeria, Spain, April 2017 (https://www.facebook.com/SextoSimposioInternacionalAldousHuxleyAlmeria/videos/1545714948813928/).
“Barren Tragedies: D.H. Lawrence and Elizabeth Bowen,” SAMLA, Jacksonville, FL, November 2016.
“Crossings and Crosses: Joyce, Yeats, Bowen,” International James Joyce Symposium, University of London, June 2016.
“Survival Instincts in Isherwood’s Berlin Stories,” Modernist Studies Assocation, Boston, Mass., November 2015.
“Vicious Creatures and Ignorant Swans: St. Aubyn and Yeats.” Symposium on the Status of Literature/Literature of Status, University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, March 2015.
“Monsters of English Privilege,” MDRN Research Group Lecture, University of Leuven, Belgium, May 2014.
On 2017 Nobel Prize Winner Kazuo Ishiguro, University of Rochester Newscenter, October 7, 2017 (http://www.rochester.edu/newscenter/nobelist-ishiguro-novelist-quiet-riskiness/). Phone interview.
On the censorship of Oscar Wilde’s Salome for “The Censorship Files,” Georgia Institute of Technology, October 2016 (https://thecensorshipfiles.wordpress.com/an-interview-with-adam-parkes/). Email interview.