Dr Nathan Waddell BA, MPhil, PhD, PGCHE, FHEA

Photograph of Dr Nathan Waddell

Department of English Literature
Senior Lecturer in Early Twentieth-Century and Modernist Literature

Contact details

Address
Arts Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

I teach and research early twentieth-century literature, with a core emphasis on the life, work, and controversies of the painter and writer Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957). All of my research is collaborative—with students, postdoctoral scholars, university administrators, and individuals based outside of higher education—and I seek always to make my teaching similarly reciprocal, treating literary scholarship as an urgent conversation about culture and its indispensable place in the world.

Qualifications

  • BA (University of Birmingham)
  • MPhil (University of Birmingham)
  • PhD (University of Birmingham)
  • PGCHE (University of Nottingham)
  • FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy)

Biography

I’m a Senior Lecturer in Birmingham’s Department of English Literature, where I’ve worked since October 2017. Between 2012 and 2017 I worked in the School of English at the University of Nottingham. Before that, between 2008 and 2012, I taught at the University of Birmingham, where I also studied for my BA, MPhil, and PhD degrees. I attended a secondary school in Somerset and grew up in the West Country.

Teaching

Although my teaching now tends to concentrate on early twentieth-century literature, I’ve worked with students selectively across English literary history from the 1300s to the present. In the 2018-19 academic year I’ll be teaching and lecturing on the following modules:

  • UG year 2: ‘Aspects of Modernism’
  • UG final year: ‘Orwell’s Book: Deciphering Nineteen Eighty-Four
  • MA: ‘Modernism’

Postgraduate supervision

Although I’ll consider proposals for general modernism-related theses, I’m most interested in supervising MA and PhD candidates in my core research area: i.e. the life, work, and controversies of the painter and writer Wyndham Lewis, 1882-1957. I’m also very keen to consider projects on material related to the work of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley.

Current PhD students include:

  • William Bateman, ‘Landscape, Exile, and Form in the Collected Works of D. H. Lawrence’
  • Daniel Buckingham, ‘Constructing the Middlebrow Satirist’
  • Sophia Day, ‘Eliot and Economics: The Difficulties of a Statesman’
  • Emily Heathcote, ‘Postmodernist Literature and Postmodernist Editing’
  • James Hirst, ‘Modernist Magazines, Editing Networks, and Short Fiction’

Former PhD students include:

  • Hollie Johnson, ‘Ecodystopia: Environmental Apocalypse and the Ecocidal Imagination’
  • Emma Zimmerman, ‘Architexture: Space, Form, and the Modernist Novel’

In addition to the above-mentioned students, I’ve acted as the internal examiner for multiple PhD theses at the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham, and as the external examiner for theses at King’s College, London; Queen’s University, Belfast; and the University of Strathclyde.


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

Research

To date, my research has focused on contextual interpretations of early twentieth-century and modernist literature in relation to questions to do with music, politics, utopianism, and the genre of dystopian fiction. The fiction and non-fiction of Wyndham Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and George Orwell tend to feature prominently in my scholarship. Current projects include:

  • a scholarly edition of Wyndham Lewis’s little-known novel Snooty Baronet (1932), for Oxford University Press
  • an edited collection of essays on Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, as part of the Cambridge University Press Cambridge Companions series
  • essays on dirt and the abject in works by Orwell; on biographical sources in Huxley’s Antic Hay; and on Lewisian presences in The Sackbut magazine
  • a book on tyranny in relation to works by Lewis, Orwell, Huxley, and Rebecca West, for Princeton University Press

I regularly speak about my research at academic conferences and at public institutions. Recent talks include:

  • ‘Work in Focus: “Portrait of T. S. Eliot” by Wyndham Lewis’ (The Royal Academy of Arts, London, July 2018)
  • ‘Katherine Mansfield, George Meredith, and Beethoven’s Hearing Eyes’ (CLEMT Summer Symposium, University of Birmingham, May 2018)
  • ‘Beethoven, Dorothy Richardson, and Musicology’ (Transitions: Bridging the Victorian-Modernist Divide, University of Birmingham, April 2018)
  • ‘Ford Madox Ford’s Evanescent Cities’ (The City as Modernist Ephemera, London South Bank University, June 2017)
  • ‘Moonlighting: Beethoven, Literature, and the First World War’ (Modern Literature Graduate Seminar, University of Oxford, January 2017)
  • ‘Beethoven and British Literature, 1902-1927’ (Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, November 2016)
  • ‘Facing Beethoven: Literature, Sculpture, and Identity’ (Royal Society of Edinburgh, September 2016)
  • ‘Problems, Possibilities, and Polemics: Taking the Arrows of Wyndham Lewis’ (Editing Modernism, Edinburgh Napier University, May 2016)

Other activities

With my colleague Dr Chris Mourant, I co-direct Birmingham’s Centre for Modernist Cultures. Aside from that, a lot of my professional activity is concerned with supporting the scholars who research the life and work of the modernist painter and writer Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957). I’m current Chairperson of the Wyndham Lewis Society; co-editor of The Journal of Wyndham Lewis Studies; and a member of the Editorial Board of the Wyndham Lewis Complete Critical Edition commissioned by Oxford University Press. As of 2017 I have been a trustee of the Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust, a registered charity which promotes the study and preservation of Lewis’s output.

I've recently established a podcast called Critical Attitudes, which features interviews with scholars working in English studies. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you'd like to be a guest on the programme.

Publications

Solo-authored books

  • Moonlighting: Beethoven and Literary Modernism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press)
  • Modernist Nowheres: Politics and Utopia in Early Modernist Writing, 1900-1920 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
  • Modern John Buchan: A Critical Introduction (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009)

Co-edited volumes

  • Jonathan Greenberg and Nathan Waddell (eds), ‘Brave New World’: Contexts and Legacies (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
  • Andrzej Gąsiorek and Nathan Waddell (eds), Wyndham Lewis: A Critical Guide (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015)
  • Alice Reeve-Tucker and Nathan Waddell (eds), Utopianism, Modernism, and Literature in the Twentieth Century (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
  • Kate Macdonald and Nathan Waddell (eds), John Buchan and the Idea of Modernity (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2013)
  • Andrzej Gąsiorek, Alice Reeve-Tucker, and Nathan Waddell (eds), Wyndham Lewis and the Cultures of Modernity (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011): 163-82

Co-edited periodicals

Journal articles and essays in edited volumes

  • 'Ford, Family, and Music', in Laura Colombino, Sara Haslam, and Seamus O'Malley (eds), The Routledge Research Companion to Ford Madox Ford (Abingdon: Routledge, 2019): 79-93
  • ‘H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds and the Crimson Map of Empire’, emagazine: The Magazine for Advanced Level English, 80 (April 2018): 20-22
  • ‘Modernism and Music: A Review of Recent Scholarship’, Modernist Cultures, 12.2 (Spring 2017): 316-30
  • ‘Signs of the T: Aldous Huxley, High Art, and American Technocracy’, in Jonathan Greenberg and Nathan Waddell (eds), ‘Brave New World’: Contexts and Legacies (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016): 31-49
  • ‘Lawrence Atkinson, Sculpture, and Vorticist Multimediality’, Modernism/modernity Print Plus, 1.3 (September 2016): online, n.p.
  • BLAST (1914-15)’, in Stephen Ross (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism (Routledge, 2016): online, n.p.
  • ‘Lewis and Fascism’, in Tyrus Miller (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Wyndham Lewis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016): 87-99
  • ‘Lewis and Politics’, in Andrzej Gąsiorek and Nathan Waddell (eds), Wyndham Lewis: A Critical Guide (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015): 128-42
  • ‘Wyndham Lewis’s “Very Bad Thing”: Jazz, Inter-War Culture, and The Apes of God’, Modernist Cultures, 8.1 (Spring 2013): 61-81
  • ‘Providing Ridicule: Wyndham Lewis and Satire in the Postwar-to-end-war World’, in Alice Reeve-Tucker and Nathan Waddell (eds), Utopianism, Modernism, and Literature in the Twentieth Century (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013): 56-73
  • ‘Bohemian Retrospects: Ford Madox Ford, Post-War Memory, and the Cabaret Theatre Club’, in Kate McLoughlin (ed.), The Modernist Party (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013): 192-209
  • ‘Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight: An Unacknowledged Adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent?’, Adaptation, 6.1 (February 2013): 43-59
  • ‘John Buchan’s Amicable Anti-Modernism’, The Journal of Modern Literature, 35.2 (Winter 2012): 64-82
  • ‘Technocracy and the Fordian Arts: America, The American Mercury, and Music in the 1930s’, in Sara Haslam and Seamus O’Malley (eds), Ford Madox Ford and America, International Ford Madox Ford Studies Vol. 11 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012): 167-80
  • with Alice Reeve-Tucker, ‘Wyndham Lewis, Evelyn Waugh, and Inter-War British Youth: Conflict and Infantilism’, in Andrzej Gąsiorek, Alice Reeve-Tucker, and Nathan Waddell (eds), Wyndham Lewis and the Cultures of Modernity (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011): 163-82
  • ‘Modernist Coteries and Communities’, in Peter Brooker, Andrzej Gąsiorek, Deborah Longworth, and Andrew Thacker (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010): 740-61
  • ‘Buchan and the Pacifists’, in Kate Macdonald (ed.), Reassessing John Buchan: Beyond ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’ (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009): 91-101
  • ‘Pathology in John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps’, The Birmingham Journal of Literature and Language, 1.2 (2008): 4-11