Dr Edward Allen, Christ's

ejfa2@cam.ac.uk

 

 

Biographical Information

I am an Associate Professor in modern British and Irish Literature, and a Fellow of Christ's College. I was brought up on the coast in rural Somerset, studied for my degrees in Cambridge, and have held research fellowships along the way at the Library of Congress (Washington DC), the Huntingdon Library (San Marino, California), Jesus College (Cambridge), and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH).

From September 2022, I will be leading a project at the University of Padova called 'Radio Waves: Network Building and the Making of Modern Europe'. You can hear me talking about the project to Tony Barnfield on his 'Sunday Supplement' programme (Cambridge 105 Radio) here.

Research Interests

I work for the most part on British, North American and European literatures of the period 1870-1980. My primary focus is sound and media culture; by that I mean I'm interested in broadcasting institutions like the BBC, in technological advances (radio, phonography, telephony, talkies), in the contact points between literary studies and musicology, and in things that may well be termed sonic curiosities (earworms, audiobooks, landlines, church bells). As well as attending to the listening habits of readers, and to the reading habits of listeners, I am drawn more broadly to the material conditions of reading at particular times in history, so I have interests too in book history, editorial practice and magazine culture.

My project at the University of Padova – 'Radio Waves: Network Building and the Making of Modern Europe' – is going to provide a fresh insight, amidst the fall-out of Brexit and ongoing crises of European integration, into the reconstruction of nations, blocs, and regional modes of identity after the Second World War. It will do so by narrating the history of broadcasting institutions, the history of the writers, editors and producers who worked for such institutions, and the important part they played in mediating the fantasy – part fiction, part fact – of an evolving European Union in the years 1945-1981. As Principal Investigator, I will be working closely with a team of postdocs with a view to triangulating the BBC with outfits, in Italy and Greece, which drew conspicuously on the model of a restructured BBC in the late 1940s.

My recent work includes a book about sound media and modernist American poetry (centred on the writing of Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore and Wallace Stevens); edited collections of essays on Dylan Thomas, on sub-genres of lyric poetry, and on literary fiction, disability, and the hearing sciences; and special journal issues dedicated to Moore's annotations and to Hemingway's attitude to Britain.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

I contribute to the MPhil in English Studies, and ordinarily I welcome all expressions of interest regarding doctoral research in the areas I've outlined above. While I am on research leave in Padova (2022-24), however, I cannot take on any new students. Recent doctoral students' topics include:

  • Modernist radio culture
  • Poetry, theology, and incantation
  • Material dramaturgies on the modern stage
  • Sound, poetry, and the American Civil War
  • Politics of the short story in late-colonial India

Selected Publications

Books

  • Edward Allen (ed.), Forms of Late Modernist Lyric (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2021): amazon  LUP
  • Edward Allen, Modernist Invention: Media Technology and American Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020): amazon  CUP
  • Edward Allen (ed.), Reading Dylan Thomas (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019): amazon  EUP

Edited Special Issues

  • Edward Allen, Beci Carver, James Purdon (ed.), 'Cooking with Trotter', Critical Quarterly, 61.4 (2019).

Articles and book chapters

  • Edward Allen, 'Nocturne: J. H. Prynne Among the Stars', in Forms of Late Modernist Lyric (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2021), pp. 243-78.
  • Edward Allen, 'What We Talk about When We Talk about Talking Books', in Sound and Literature [Cambridge Critical Concepts Series], ed. Anna Snaith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020), pp. 211-33.
  • Edward Allen, 'Romancing the Phone: Woolf's First Media Age', Critical Quarterly, 61.4 (2019), 100-15. 
  • Edward Allen, 'Dylan Thomas on the BBC Eastern Service', in Reading Dylan Thomas (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019), pp. 110-37.
  • Edward Allen, 'Performing on the Fringe: Basil Bunting and Morden Tower', in Flower/Power: British Literature in Transition, 1960-1980, ed. Kate McLoughlin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 247-62.
  • Edward Allen, 'Ringing the Changes: Thomas Hardy's Communication Networks', in Rural Modernity in Britain: A Critical Intervention, ed. Kristin Bluemel and Michael McCluskey (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018), pp. 19-32.
  • Edward Allen, '"Spenser’s Ireland," December 1941: Scripting a Response', Twentieth-Century Literature, special issue on Marianne Moore, ed. Heather Cass White and Fiona Green, 63.4 (2017), 451-74. [Winner of the Marianne Moore Society Annual Essay Prize 2018]
  • Edward Allen, 'Towards a History of Pneumatics: Writing under Pressure, from Verne to Verne', Critical Quarterly, special issue on 'Traffic', ed. Beci Carver and James Purdon, 58.4 (2016), 27-49.
  • Edward Allen, 'Eliot’s Radio Times; or, Listen With Possum', in The Edinburgh Companion to T. S. Eliot and the Arts, ed. Frances Dickey and John Morgenstern (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016), pp. 275-86.
  • Edward Allen, 'On the Early Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Teasing, Typewriting, Editing', Textual Cultures, 9.1 (2014), 95-111 (available here).
  • Edward Allen, '"One long, unbroken, constant sound": Wireless Thinking and Lyric Tinkering in Wallace Stevens's Harmonium', Modernism/modernity, 21.4 (2014), 919-36. 
  • Edward Allen, '"Visible Earshot": The Returning Voice of Susan Howe', Cambridge Quarterly, 41.4 (2012), 397-421.

Review essays, liner notes, and shorter pieces

  • Edward Allen, 'Lecturing to the Converted?' [on If Not Critical, by Eric Griffiths], Essays in Criticism, 71.4 (2021), 518-25.
  • Edward Allen, 'Play Time' [on The Poems of T. S. Eliot, vol. 1, ed. Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue], Cambridge Quarterly, 47.1 (2018), 65-72.
  • Edward Allen, 'Peace Works', in Ralph Vaughan Williams, ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’; Leonard Bernstein, ‘Chichester Psalms’; sung by the Choir of King's College Cambridge (2017, CD, KGS0021/SACD Hybrid), pp. 5-10.
  • Edward Allen, 'Omissions could be mistakes' [on Marianne Moore's New Collected Poems, ed. Heather Cass White; and Observations, ed. Linda Leavell], The Times Literary Supplement (15 September 2017), 9-10.
  • Edward Allen, 'A Presiding Spirit: Elizabeth Bishop’s Poetic Afterlives', PN Review, 39.2 (2012), 22-25.

Book reviews 

  • Edward Allen, 'Rhian Barfoot, Liberating Dylan Thomas: Rescuing a Poet from Psycho-Sexual Servitude’ (review), International Journal of Welsh Writing in English, 5 (2018), 1-3.
  • Edward Allen, 'Brian Hochman, Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology' (review), Journal of American Studies, 50 (2016), 482-84.
  • Edward Allen, 'Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style & the 1960s, ed. Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Lilya Kaganovsky, and Robert A.Rushing' (review), Critical Quarterly, 56.1 (2014), 99-102. 

Other work includes an opera libretto and a chamber poem, with music in each case by Edwin HillierSerpentine; or, The Analysis of Beauty was performed at the Royal College of Music in May 2014, in collaboration with Tête à Tête; and Villanelle followed in December 2015 at St George's, Hanover Square, in collaboration with artists from Handel House.