Modernist Peripheries: Fringes and Frontiers

Organisers: Nicoletta Asciuto and Hannah Roche (English and Related Literature)

Famously beginning ‘on or about December 1910’ and ending with mid-century postmodernism, the temporal parameters of modernism have long been set. Modernism’s geography, whilst shaped by border crossings and transatlantic exchanges, is similarly easy to define: Woolf’s Bloomsbury, Joyce’s Dublin, and the lively artistic spaces of 1920s Paris all provide key focal points on the modernist map. But what of those writers, artists, and thinkers who fall outside of the established boundaries? In terms not only of temporal and spatial topography but also of identity and aesthetics, is the category of modernism more exclusionary than it is expansive? What might be gained by a new critical approach that enlarges our conception of modernism by focussing on its peripheries and cross-disciplinary pollinations?

Through a series of seminars and workshops delivered by leading and emerging scholars working across the Arts and Humanities, this Research Strand casts a much-needed light on modernism’s margins. By drawing attention to texts, artworks, and technologies that have evaded close analysis as ‘modernist’, and by dismantling long-established frameworks that have threatened to limit understandings of the avant-garde, our aim is to explore the gains to be made in probing the fringes and pushing the temporal, spatial, and disciplinary frontiers of modernism.

Forthcoming Events:

Thursday 1 November 2018, 6pm. Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building

Who's Afraid of Alice Meynell?: Alice Meynell in the Age of Modernism.’
Research seminar by Dr Sarah Parker (Loughborough University). All welcome. Contact: and

Dr Sarah Parker is a Lecturer in English at Loughborough University. Her first monograph is The Lesbian Muse and Poetic Identity, 1889–1930 (Routledge, 2013). A co-edited collection, Michael Field: Decadent Moderns (with Ana Parejo Vadillo) is forthcoming from Ohio University Press in 2019. Her current research focuses on the continuing activities of so-called 'fin-de-siècle' women poets in the twentieth century.

Tuesday 20 November 2018, 6pm. Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building
Projecting Modernism: The Future of Britain in 1930s Documentary Film.
Research seminar by Dr Michael McCluskey (English and Related Literature, University of York). All welcome. Contact: and

Dr Michael McCluskey is Lecturer in English and Film Studies at the University of York. His research looks at the literature and film of the 1920s and 30s to consider the social, spatial, and technological shifts of this radical period and to make connections with the emergence of our own networked world. He is co-editor (with Kristin Bluemel) of Rural Modernity in Britain (Edinburgh University Press, 2018) and (with Luke Seaber) the forthcoming Airmindedness: Aviation in Interwar Britain.