Professor Max Saunders

Professor Max Saunders

Department of English Literature
Interdisciplinary Professor of Modern Literature and Culture

I work on modern literature and culture. My main areas of interest are modernism, the literature of the First World War, life writing, literary impressionism, and futurology.

  • Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, 2 vols (Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • Self-Impression: Life-Writing, Autobiografiction and the Forms of Modern Literature (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • Imagined Futures: Writing, Science and Modernity in the To-Day and To-Morrow Book Series, 1923-31 (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Qualifications

  • BA Cambridge
  • AM Harvard
  • PhD Cambridge

Biography

Max Saunders became Interdisciplinary Professor of Modern Literature and Culture at the University of Birmingham in 2019. He studied at the universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and was a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He is the author of Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, 2 vols. (Oxford University Press, 1996); and Self Impression: Life-Writing, Autobiografiction, and the Forms of Modern Literature (Oxford University Press 2010). He has edited five volumes of Ford’s writing, including an annotated critical edition of Some Do Not . . . (Carcanet, 2010), and has published essays on Life-writing, on Impressionism, and on a number of modern writers. As Professor of English and Co-Director of the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s College London, he directed the College’s Arts and Humanities Research Institute from 2012-18. In 2013 he was awarded an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for a 5-year collaborative project on digital life writing called ‘Ego-Media’. He was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to research his latest book, Imagined Futures (Oxford University Press, 2019), the first study of the landmark To-Day and To-Morrow book series. At Birmingham he is developing an interdisciplinary project on future thinking.

Teaching

I have taught widely, especially across nineteenth and twentieth century literature

Postgraduate supervision

Modern and contemporary futurology; modernism; literature and impressionism; Ford Madox Ford


Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

My main research areas are modern literature, the writing of the First World War, life writing, literary impressionism, and futurology.

I have written a critical biography of Ford Madox Ford, and have edited five volumes of Ford’s writing, including an annotated critical edition of Some Do Not . . . (Carcanet, 2010) – the first volume of his tetralogy about the First World War, Parade’s End. I have also written on a broad range of modern and modernist writers – especially James, Conrad, Lawrence, Woolf, Joyce, and Eliot.

Self Impression: Life-Writing, Autobiografiction, and the Forms of Modern Literature (Oxford University Press 2010) explored the relation between life writing and fiction from the late nineteenth  to the early twentieth centuries.

More recently I have written Imagined Futures, the first book on the extraordinary To-Day and To-Morrow book series – 110 volumes by writers such as Robert Graves, Vera Brittain, Winifred Holtby, Hugh MacDiarmid, Bertrand Russell, the scientists J. B. S. Haldane and J. D. Bernal, and many other superb inter-war writers. My current research follows on from Imagined Futures, comparing literary speculations about the future to other methodologies of future thinking.

I also have a strong interest in literature and the visual arts, and am working on a book for the centenary of the painter Alfred Cohen.

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Saunders, M & MacDougall, S (eds) 2020, Alfred Cohen – An American Artist in Europe: Between Figuration and Abstraction. Alfred Cohen Art Foundation / Ben Uri, London and Wighton, Norfolk.

Saunders, M 2019, Imagined Futures: Writing, Science, and Modernity in the To-Day and To-Morrow Book Series, 1923-31. 1st edn, Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198829454.001.0001

Article

Saunders, MWM 2019, 'Byatt, 'Fiction and Biofiction'', International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity, vol. 6, no. 1. https://doi.org/10.18352/hcm.543

Saunders, MWM 2019, 'Post-war imagination and the narrative of (future) history in the To-Day and To-Morrow book series', Correspondence: Hitotsubashi Journal of Arts and Literature, vol. 4, pp. 127-151. https://doi.org/10.15057/30058

Saunders, M 2017, 'De l’impressionnisme littéraire', Modèles Linguistiques, vol. 29, no. 75, 7, pp. 155-170. https://doi.org/10.4000/ml.4346

Chapter

Saunders, M 2020, Impressions of Translation: Ford Madox Ford’s Cosmopolitan Literary Crossings. in Cross Channel Modernisms. Edinburgh University Press, pp. 50-68.

Saunders, M 2020, Modernist Close Reading. in D James (ed.), Modernism and Close Reading. Oxford University Press, pp. 19-44.

Saunders, M 2020, ‘To-Day and To-Morrow’: Modernism and Futurology. in T Ferguson (ed.), Literature and Modern Time: Technological Modernity; Glimpses of Eternity; Experiments with Time . Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 233-251.

Saunders, MWM 2019, The To-Day and To-Morrow Book Series and Aldous Huxley. in B Nugel & J Meckier (eds), Aldous Huxley Annual. vol. 17/18, LIT Verlag, pp. 191-207.

Haslam, S, Saunders, MWM & Skinner, P 2018, Editing Ford. in S Haslam, L Colombino & S O'Malley (eds), The Routledge Research Companion to Ford Madox Ford. Routledge, pp. 441-460.

Haslam, S & Saunders, MWM 2018, Ford's Letters. in S Haslam, L Colombino & S O'Malley (eds), The Routledge Research Companion to Ford Madox Ford. Routledge, pp. 25-38.

Saunders, MWM & Clasen, P 2018, Ford's Parade's End. in S Haslam, L Colombino & S O'Malley (eds), The Routledge Research Companion to Ford Madox Ford. Routledge, pp. 273-301.

Saunders, MWM 2018, Regeneration, Cultural Theory and Travel in Writings by Lawrence, Ford, Aldington, and Others. in A de Nicola (ed.), David Herbert Lawrence. Aracne Editrice, pp. 33-48.

Book/Film/Article review

Saunders, MWM 2018, 'Lasting impressions: The Legacies of Impressionism in Contemporary Culture by Jesse Matz', Twentieth Century Literature, vol. 64, no. 3, pp. 379-386. https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-7142105

Web publication/site

Saunders, MWM, Futurology: how a group of visionaries looked beyond the possible a century ago and predicted today’s world, 2019, Web publication/site, The Conversation . <https://theconversation.com/futurology-how-a-group-of-visionaries-looked-beyond-the-possible-a-century-ago-and-predicted-todays-world-118134>

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