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Sarah Davison

Assistant Professor in English Literature, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

BA (Oxon), MA (London), DPhil (Oxon)

Areas of expertise: James Joyce, modernism, modernist poetry, adaptation, parody, intertextuality, genetic criticism.

Teaching Summary

Undergraduate Teaching: I teach on a wide range of literature modules at the University of Nottingham, including Studying Literature and Modern and Contemporary Literature: 1910-present. At level… read more

Research Summary

I am fascinated by modernism and its literatures. My doctoral thesis (2009) was the first study to show the defining role played by parody in the creation of literary modernism. Focusing particularly… read more

Selected Publications

I would be delighted to hear from students who wish to undertake a PhD in modernist literature or early twentieth-century literary culture more broadly. My interests span a range of authors, themes and methodologies, including:

  • James Joyce
  • T.S. Eliot
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Ezra Pound
  • Max Beerbohm
  • Little magazines
  • Comedy, satire and parody
  • Intertextuality, allusion, influence and adaptation
  • Genetic criticism and manuscript studies
  • The history of criticism

Undergraduate Teaching: I teach on a wide range of literature modules at the University of Nottingham, including Studying Literature and Modern and Contemporary Literature: 1910-present. At level three, I teach two specialist modules: Poetry in the Age of Modernism and James Joyce: Revolutions of the Word.

Postgraduate Teaching: I contribute to three team-taught MA modules: What is a Text?; Literature and Modernity; and Modernism. I also supervise dissertations on twentieth-century literature.

Current Research

I am fascinated by modernism and its literatures. My doctoral thesis (2009) was the first study to show the defining role played by parody in the creation of literary modernism. Focusing particularly on Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, it examines how parody informed the modernists' experiments in style, form and satire, drawing on a wealth of primary material, including unpublished juvenilia, holograph drafts and comic material only previously treated anecdotally. I am working to expand the thesis into a monograph, Modernist Parody, which I hope will be published in the Oxford English Monographs series.

I am also the author of Modernist Literatures: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). This lively, accessible Guide provides an up-to-date overview of the critical concepts that are now essential for understanding British, Irish and American modernist poetry, fiction and drama in their wider transnational context. Part I sets out how the modernists understood their experiment, introducing manifestos, movements, traditions and individual talents, taking particular note of the activities of European avant-garde. Part II provides a historical overview of the successive fashions that have shaped modernist studies from New Criticism right up to the methodologies that are changing the discipline today.The Guide introduces classic interpretations of familiar texts alongside fresh approaches to more recently recovered materials, investigating modernist responses to new thinking on sex, gender, race, human psychology, philosophy, science, technology, new media, and globalization, furnishing readers with the knowledge and insight to make their own interventions in critical debates.

A major theoretical approach of my present research is genetic criticism: the comparative study of different stages in the production of texts. In February 2011 I was awarded British Academy funding for 'Intertextual Joyce', a two-year project investigating the genesis of the 'Oxen of the Sun' chapter of Ulysses. The research is being jointly undertaken with Dr Chrissie Van Mierlo, Visiting Lecturer, Royal Holloway, University of London. Please visit our website for more information.

I would be delighted to hear from students or researchers with interests in modernism, particularly James Joyce, and/or genetic criticism and I welcome PhD applications in these fields.

  • DAVISON, S. and MERTENS, B., 2017. ‘A Portrait of Hugo Claus as a Young Man: the Influence of James Joyce on Het Verdriet.’ Modern Language Review. 112(2), 415-41.
  • DAVISON, S., 2016. ‘“The True-Born Englishman” and the Irish Bull: Daniel Defoe in the “Oxen of the Sun” Episode of Ulysses.’ European Joyce Studies. 25, 111-40.
  • DAVISON, S., 2014. Review: Andrew Gibson, 'The Strong Spirit: History, politics, and aesthetics in the writings of James Joyce, 1898-1915' (Oxford University Press, 2013). Times Literary Supplement (3 January 2014), 22.
  • DAVISON, S., 2014. Modernist Literatures: A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • DAVISON, S., 2013. Review: David G. Wright, '"Dubliners" and "Ulysses": Bonds of Character' (Edizioni Joker, 2013). Times Literary Supplement (6 September 2013), 27.
  • DAVISON, S., 2011. Max Beerbohm's altered books Textual Cultures: Texts, Contexts, Interpretation. 6(1), 48-75
  • DAVISON, S., 2011. For the Love of Molly. Review: Karen R. Lawrence, 'Who's Afraid of James Joyce?' (University of Florida Press, 2010); Michael Groden, 'Ulysses in Focus' (University Press of Florida, 2010). Times Literary Supplement (4 February 2011), 7.
  • DAVISON, S., 2010. Review: Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker (eds), 'The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Volume 1. Britain and Ireland.' Keywords: A Journal of Cultural Materialism. 8, 134-137.
  • DAVISON, S., 2009. Ezra Pound's esteem for Edmund Waller: a new source for Hugh Selwyn Mauberley The Review of English Studies. 60(247), 785-800
  • DAVISON, S., 2009. An "atmosphere of parody": Ezra Pound and imagism. In: MORLEY, C. and GOODY, A., eds., American modernism: cultural transactions Cambridge Scholars Press. 143-164
  • DAVISON, S., 2009. Joyce’s incorporation of literary sources in ‘Oxen of the Sun’ Genetic Joyce Studies. 9, n/a
  • DAVISON, S., 2008. Family Romance in 'Wise Children'. The English Review. 18(4), 7-10.
  • DAVISON, S., 2008. 'Penultimate Poetry': Richard Aldington's Parodies of Ezra Pound. In: KEMPTON, D., ed., Locations and Dislocations: Proceedings of the Fourth International Richard Aldington Conference Gregau Press. 85-92.
  • DAVISON, S., 2007. 'Postmodern Pie'. Review: Richard Dyer, 'Pastiche' (Routledge, 2006), Times Literary Supplement (26 October), 28.
  • DAVISON, S., 2007. Review: Modernist Literature: An Introduction. By Mary Ann Gillies and Aurelea Mahood (Edinburgh University Press, 2007). Times Literary Supplement.
  • DAVISON, S., 2006. Sir Max Beerbohm. The Literary Encyclopedia.
  • DAVISON, S., 2006. Review: Michael Arditti, 'A Sea Change' (Maia Books, 2006). Times Literary Supplement (28 September), 21.
  • DAVISON, S., 2006. Review: Kunal Basu, 'Racists' (Weidenfeld, 2006). Times Literary Supplement (11 January), 19.
  • DAVISON, S., 2003. Review: Susan K. Harris, 'The Cultural Work of the Late Nineteenth-Century Hostess' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002) Times Literary Supplement (25 April), 30.
  • DAVISON, S., 2003. Review: Janet Davy, 'English Correspondence' (Chatto and Windus, 2003). Times Literary Supplement (7 February), 21.

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