My doctoral work focused on developments in the British novel after the Second World War, and this led to my first book, Postwar British Fiction (1995), which concentrated on the various responses to the legacy of Modernism and to the challenges posed by postmodernism. Since 1995 I have been working primarily on early twentieth-century literature, with a particular focus on Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, and Wyndham Lewis. I have also maintained my interest in contemporary writing, producing a book on J. G. Ballard (2005), and publishing essays on Michael Chabon, Jim Crace, Howard Jacobson, W. G. Sebald, and Zadie Smith. Wyndham Lewis’s writing and painting is an ongoing source of interest; I am currently the editor of the Journal of Wyndham Lewis Studies and the chair of the Wyndham Lewis Society. My book Wyndham Lewis and Modernism (2004) discusses Lewis’s wide-ranging contribution to, and critique of, literary and visual modernism. My most recent monograph is A History of Modernist Literature (Blackwell, 2015).
My interest in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature led me to co-edit T. E. Hulme and the Question of Modernism (2006) with Edward Comentale, Ford Madox Ford: Literary Networks and Cultural Transformations (2008) with Daniel Moore, Wyndham Lewis and the Cultures of Modernity (2011) with Alice Reeve-Tucker and Nathan Waddell, The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms (2010) with Peter Brooker, Deborah Longworth and Andrew Thacker, volume 4 of The Oxford History of the Novel in English: The Reinvention of the British and Irish Novel, 1880-1940 (2011) with Patrick Parrinder, and to undertake Wyndham Lewis: A Critical Guide (2014) with Nathan Waddell. I am currently editing Lewis’s The Caliph's Design (1919), alongside his essays on art from the immediate post-war years, for the Collected Works of Wyndham Lewis: Wyndham Lewis, under the general editorship of Paul Edwards.
I am a co-founder of the British Association of Modernist Studies, with which I continue to maintain close ties, principally through the journal I co-edit with Deborah Longworth and Michael Valdez Moses: Modernist Cultures, which each year publishes the best article by a postgraduate student who is a member of BAMS. In 2017 (29th June – 1st July) BAMS’s biennial conference was hosted by the Centre for Modernist Cultures at the University of Birmingham.
I have recently written essays on a range of topics: the politics of modernism; Aldous Huxley's Brave New World; Carl Theodor Dreyer's Joan of Arc; Wyndham Lewis's critique of modernism; and Jean Rhys’s fiction (principally Wide Sargasso Sea) in relation to post-colonialism. I’m currently thinking about Leavis's response to (and critique of) modernism from the early 1930s through to the 1970s. A good deal of my time at present is devoted to Modernist Cultures, especially to the guest-edited special issues that are a key feature of the journal. Recent topics have included:
- ‘New Transatlanticisms’ (ed. David Barnes), Vol. 11. No. 1 (Spring 2016)
- ‘Modernism in Public’ (ed. Rod Rosenquist and Alice Wood), Vol 11. No. 3 (Autumn 2016)
- ‘Modernism and the First World War’ (ed. Andrew Frayn), Vol. 12. No. 1 (Spring 2017)
Forthcoming special issues of Modernist Cultures will be on the following topics:
- ‘Global Modernisms’ (ed. Lise Jaillant and Alison E. Martin, 2018)
- ‘World War 1 and Ireland’ (ed. Mark Quigley, 2018)
- ‘Collaboration and the Institutions of Poetry in the Modernist Age’ (ed. Alexander Runchman and Tom Walker, 2019)
- ‘Modernism and/as Pedagogy’ (ed. Rebecca Beasley and Peter Howarth, 2019)
- ‘The New Modernist Editing’ (ed. Bryony Randall, 2020)