Dr Jarad Zimbler BA MPhil PhD

Dr Jarad Zimbler

Department of English Literature
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I work on late nineteenth- and twentieth-century literatures in English, with a focus on decolonization and the Cold War. Much of my research has been concerned with the social and historical dimensions of literary form, and with how best to conceive the horizons of possibility that determine any work’s effects and meanings. To these ends, I draw on the methods of narratology, stylistics and poetics, as well as on the insights of literary sociology, book history, and critical theory. 

As a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow, I worked on the project 'Literary Communities and Literary Worlds' (see under Research for further details). After a two year secondment at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I have now returned to UoB for the final year of the fellowship.


BA (Oxford), CPE/ PGDip Law (City), MPhil, PhD (Cambridge), PGCert (Birmingham)


I completed my undergraduate degree at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. After a period away from academia, I returned in 2004 for an MPhil in Criticism and Culture at Pembroke College, Cambridge, followed by a PhD in English Studies. I spent a year at the University of California, Berkeley as a Visiting Scholar in 2006-2007. Before joining Birmingham in 2013, I was the Junior Research Fellow in World Literatures of the 20th and 21st Centuries in English at Wolfson College, Oxford, and in January 2018 I was seconded to the University of Illinois at Chicago for two years as a Marie-Skłodowska Curie Global Fellow.


Prior to beginning an extended period of research leave in 2016, I taught on the first-year undergraduate modules Poetry and Plays & Performance, and convened, or helped to convene, the second-year modules Tragedy and Colonial/ Postcolonial, and the third-year module Postcolonial Poetry and Poetics. I also taught on the MA modules Contemporary Literature and Theories of the Modern. 

Postgraduate supervision

I would be very happy to supervise dissertations on topics in postcolonial/ world literatures, especially those focused on anglophone novelists and poets from Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. I would also be happy to supervise dissertations on British and American writers of mid- to late twentieth century, particularly if addressed from narratological and stylistic and/ or book historical perspectives. 

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


My first monograph, J. M. Coetzee and the Politics of Style (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which was shortlisted for the University English Book Prize 2015, traces the emergence and meaning of Coetzee’s spare, stark and sometimes lyrical prose, and situates his early and middle fictions in relation to works of South African, European and American predecessors and peers. I am co-editor, with Ben Etherington, of The Cambridge Companion to World Literature (2018), and editor of The Cambridge Companion to J.M. Coetzee (2019).

Since 2012 I have been involved in a larger collaborative research project, Crafts of World Literature, initiated by myself and Dr Ben Etherington (Western Sydney University, Australia). We have thus far staged three international conferences and colloquia (Crafts of World Literature, 2012; Poetic Craft and White Settler Colonialism, 2013; Craft Wars, 2014), and convened a panel at the MLA 2018 (Crafts of World Literature: Materials, Genres, Forms) and a stream of panels at ASAUK 2018 (African Literature: Communities, Collaborations, Crafts & Crossings). We have also produced special issues of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature (2014) and Wasafiri (2016).

Marie Curie LogoMy current research project, ‘Literary Communities and Literary Worlds’, is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 708030). Its first strand examines the careers of several authors, including Stefan Heym, Vladimir Nabokov, and Denise Levertov, who managed to gain entry to the mid-twentieth-century American literary community by re-shaping their practices in response to their new literary environments. Its second strand looks at another set of authors - Richard Wright, Guy Butler, Peter Abrahams, and Kamau Brathwaite - and considers their uses of West African aesthetic traditions.

Flag of the EUWhereas the first strand is concerned with the notion of the 'literary field', the second raises questions about the nature and portability of 'literary material'. At its broadest, the project addresses the relationship between literary community, labour and belonging, and aims to offer new ways of describing the literary world, and new ways of researching and teaching world literature.


Books and special issues

  • Editor. The Cambridge Companion to J. M. Coetzee (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2019)
  • Editor, with Ben Etherington. The Cambridge Companion to World Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)
  • J. M. Coetzee and the Politics of Style (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  • Editor with Ben Etherington and Rachel Bower. Crafts of World Literature, a Special Issue of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature 49.3 (2014) 

Journal articles

  • ‘Guy Butler’s Poetry and Poetics: Beyond Postcolonialism & Prac. Crit.’. Wasafiri, 86 (2016) 58-64.
  • With Ben Etherington. ‘Field, Material, Technique: On Renewing Postcolonial Literary Criticism’. Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 49.3 (2014) 279-298. 
  • ‘Caring, Teaching, Knowing: Spivak, Coetzee and the Practice of Postcolonial Pedagogies’. Parallax, 17.3  (2011) 19-31.
  •  ‘For Neither Love nor Money: The Place of Political Art in Pierre Bourdieu’s Literary Field’. Textual Practice, 23.4 (2009) 599-620.
  • ‘Under Local Eyes: The South African Publishing Context of J. M. Coetzee’s Foe’. English Studies in Africa, 47.1 (2004) 47-59.

Book chapters

  •  ‘Stories and Narration’, in The Cambridge Companion to J. M. Coetzee, ed. Jarad Zimbler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2019)
  • ‘Introduction’, in The Cambridge Companion to J. M. Coetzee, ed. Jarad Zimbler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2019)
  • ‘Literary Worlds and Literary Fields’, in The Cambridge Companion to World Literature, eds. Jarad Zimbler and Ben Etherington (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 69-84.
  • With Ben Etherington. ‘Introduction’, The Cambridge Companion to World Literature, eds. Jarad Zimbler and Ben Etherington (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 1-24.
  • ‘Lyric Arrest: South African Poetry after Apartheid’, in Post-Conflict Literature: Human Rights, Peace, Justice, eds. Chris Andrews and Matt McGuire (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 96-106.
  • ‘Mythology, Empire and Narrative’ in Late Victorian into Modern, 1880-1920: Oxford 21st-Century Approaches to Literature, eds. Laura Marcus, Michèle Mendelssohn and Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 38-54.
  • ‘Under Local Eyes: The South African Publishing Context of J. M. Coetzee’s Foe’ in Print, Text and Book Cultures in South Africa, ed. Andrew van der Vlies (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2012), pp. 195-207.

Reviews and interviews

  • Review of Keya Ganguly’s Cinema, Emergence and the Films of Satyajit Ray. New Formations 80/81 (2014) 226-229.
  • ‘Interview with Josh Comaroff and Ong Ker Shing’. The Salon 6 (2013), http://jwtc.org.za/volume_6.htm
  • Review of Archie L. Dick’s The Hidden History of South Africa’s Book and Reading Cultures. The Library (Transactions of the Bibliographic Society) 14.2 (2013) 228-229.
  • Review of Jane Poyner’s J.M. Coetzee and the Idea of the Public Intellectual. History of Intellectual Culture 9.1 (2010/2011).
  • Review of Jean-Pierre Martin’s Bourdieu et la littérature. French Studies 65.4 (2011) 555-556.
  • Review of Stefan Helgesson’s Transnationalism in Southern African Literature: Modernists, Realists and the Inequality of Print Culture. Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies 10.3 (2009) 364-366.

View all publications in research portal