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

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

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.


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


I’m a Senior Lecturer in Birmingham’s Department of English Literature, where I’ve worked since October 2017. You can find out more information about me at my personal website, here.


Although my teaching now tends to concentrate on twentieth-century literature, I’ve taught across English literary history from the 1300s to the present. I convene a final-year undergraduate specialist module on George Orwell, and give lectures and co-ordinate seminars across the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula.

Postgraduate supervision

My work for the foreseeable future will be concerned with various projects on the lives and writings of Wyndham Lewis and George Orwell. As a result, I’m currently best placed to supervise postgraduate research in these areas, though I will consider proposals for theses on twentieth-century literature more generally.

Current PhD students include:
- William Bateman, ‘Landscape, Exile, and Form in the Collected Works of D. H. Lawrence’
- Daniel Buckingham, '"Licence to Tease": Satire, Apology, and Celebrity in the Mid-Century Middlebrow'
- James Hirst, ‘Modernist Magazines, Editing Networks, and Short Fiction’
- Liam Knight, 'Dystopian Literature in the Twenty-First Century: An Endotextual Account'
- Katie Lowe, '#MeToo: Female Rage in Literary Modernism and Contemporary Women's Writing'
- Helen Alexander, ‘From Music and Dance to Poetry and Prose, Music is Life: Developing a Literary Theory of Musicality through an Analysis of Thomas Hardy’s Life and Work’

Completed PhD students include:
- Emily Heathcote, 'Julian Barnes, John Fowles, and B. S. Johnson: Case Studies in the Postmodern, the Author, and Text Editing' (2020)
- Hollie Johnson, 'Ecodystopia: Environmental Apocalypse and the Ecocidal Imagination' (2018)
- Emma Zimmerman, 'Architexture: Space, Form, and the Modernist Novel' (2015)

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; the University of Liverpool; the Open University; 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.


Up-to-date information about my research can be found at my personal website.

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.


Recent publications


Waddell, N 2019, Moonlighting: Beethoven and literary modernism. Oxford University Press, Oxford. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198816706.001.0001

Greenberg, J & Waddell, N (eds) 2016, 'Brave New World': Contexts and Legacies. 1 edn, Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-44541-4

Waddell, N & Gasiorek, A (eds) 2015, Wyndham Lewis: A Critical Guide. Edinburgh University Press.

Waddell, N & Macdonald, K (eds) 2013, John Buchan and the Idea of Modernity. Pickering and Chatto.

Waddell, N & Reeve-Tucker, A (eds) 2013, Utopianism, Modernism, and Literature in the Twentieth Century. Palgrave Macmillan.


Waddell, N 2017, 'Modernism and music: a review of recent scholarship', Modernist Cultures, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 316-330. https://doi.org/10.3366/mod.2017.0173

Waddell, N 2016, 'Lawrence Atkinson, Sculpture, and Vorticist Multimediality', Modernism/Modernity, vol. 1, no. 3. https://doi.org/10.26597/mod.0003

Waddell, N 2013, 'Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight: An Unacknowledged Adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent?', Adaptation, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 43-59.


Waddell, N 2019, Dystopia. in L Webster (ed.), The Literature Handbook. English and Media Centre, pp. 127-34.

Waddell, N 2019, Ford’s artistic contexts: family and music. in L Colombino, S Haslam & S O'Malley (eds), The Ashgate Research Companion to Ford Madox Ford. Routledge, London, pp. 79-93.

Waddell, N 2017, BLAST (1914-15). in S Ross (ed.), The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. Routledge.

Waddell, N 2016, Lewis and Fascism. in T Miller (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Wyndham Lewis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 87-99. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCO9781107284326

Waddell, N 2016, Signs of the T: Aldous Huxley, High Art, and American Technocracy. in J Greenberg & N Waddell (eds), ‘Brave New World’: Contexts and Legacies. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 31-49.

Waddell, N 2015, Lewis and Politics. in A Gasiorek & N Waddell (eds), Wyndham Lewis: A Critical Guide. Edinburgh University Press, pp. 128-142. <https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-wyndham-lewis.html>

Waddell, N 2013, Bohemian Retrospects: Ford Madox Ford, Post-War Memory, and the Cabaret Theatre Club. in K McLoughlin (ed.), The Modernist Party. Edinburgh University Press, pp. 192-209.

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