Primarily a specialist in British and Irish modernism, I also have interests in late Victorian literature, American modernism, and contemporary fiction. My research pursues various historical, theoretical, and interdisciplinary approaches to these bodies of writing in order to explore the large question of how modernist texts interact with their contexts.
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. In A Sense of Shock: The Impact of Impressionism on Modern British and Irish Writing (2011), I consider literary impressionism -- in writers from Pater and James to Conrad and Woolf -- in relation to the social and political upheavals of modernity, as well as aesthetic debates about literature and its connections with other arts. My current book-length project is a study of literary modernism's response to the decline and fall of the aristocracy in the modern democratic age. Organized around affects and attitudes (stupidity, benevolence, cruelty) that modernists attributed to the aristocracy, this project examines such authors as Lawrence, Huxley, Bowen, Yeats, and Woolf.
I teach a range of undergraduate courses on modern British, Irish, and American literature since 1900. These 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"). The topics of my most recent graduate seminars have been "Ulysses and Company"; "Modernism and the Aristocracy"; and "Modern Quartet: 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 contextual approaches to the period.
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.
“'A Small Caste of Experts': Aristocracy, Intelligence, and Stupidity in Huxley’s Interwar Fiction." Aldous Huxley Annual 16 (2017): 173-190.
“Elizabeth Bowen’s Mélisande.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 59:4 (Winter 2017): 457-476.
“Naturalism, Realism, and Impressionism.” In Late Victorian into Modern, 1880-1920, ed. Laura Marcus, Kristin Shepherd-Barr, and Michèle Mendelssohn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 187-203.
"Elizabeth Bowen in the Wood," 30 November 2017 (https://www.facebook.com/notes/texas-studies-in-literature-and-language/elizabeth-bowen-in-the-wood-discussing-the-allusions-to-m%C3%A9lisande-in-bowens-the-/1689012941173069). Email interview.
"Nobelist Ishiguro: Novelist of Quiet Riskiness," 7 October 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.