Dr Leo Mellor, Murray Edwards




Biographical Information

I studied at King's College Cambridge for my BA; then at the University of Sussex for an MPhil in twentieth century literature; then back to Cambridge for a PhD on George Barker, autodidacts and 1930s poetry. I've also spent significant amounts of time in Hokkaido (northern Japan) and Berlin

Research Interests

Twentieth-century literature; war writing; islands & culture; contemporary poetry; Anglo-Welsh literature. I'm a member of the literature technology media research group in the English Faculty, and am currently working with colleagues at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich on a collaborative project 'Signal and Sign: Prehistories of Connectitivity'.

Recent lectures / papers

Areas of Graduate Supervision

British literature of the 1900s-50s. Authors of special interest: W.H. Auden, George Barker, Elizabeth Bowen, Patrick Hamilton, David Gascoyne, W.S. Graham, Henry Green, Anna Kavan, Malcolm Lowry, Rose Macaulay, Lynette Roberts, William Sansom, Colin Simms, Dylan Thomas, Edward Upward. Areas of particular interest: nature writing, wars and rumours of wars, the Modernist city, phenomenology, documentary writing & film, subcultures & queering the 1930s, and literary experimentation.

Selected Publications


The Long 1930s: British Literature 1926-1949, in preparation.

Reading the Ruins: Bombsites, Modernism and British Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2011).


Chapters and articles

‘‘It’s only chance that you’re safe and sound’: meanings of the body in Humphrey Jennings’ A Diary for Timothy (1945)’, Journal of War & Culture Studies 12.4 (2019).

‘The Documentary Impulse’, in The Cambridge History of 1930s British Literature, eds. Matthew Taunton and Benjamin Kohlmann (Cambridge University Press, 2019) [covering work by W.H. Auden, Inez Holden, Storm Jameson, R.M. Lockley, and those involved with Mass Observation], pp. 257-270.

‘Burnt pain and blasted seashells: Lynette Roberts’ esturine war writing’ in Locating Lynette Roberts: ed. Siriol McAvoy (University of Wales Press, 2019), pp. 153-174.

‘Trouble at the explosive plant: Ceri Richards and Dylan Thomas’, in Reading Dylan Thomas, ed. Ned Allen (Edinburgh University Press, 2018), pp. 157-178.

‘Demob: the postwar origins of the New Nature Writing’ in Postwar: Literature in Transition 1940-60 ed. Gill Plain (Cambridge University Press, 2018) [covering work by John Lodwick, Gavin Maxwell, and Gwen Moffat], pp. 249-266

‘Forbidden Landscapes’ in Dead Ground: 1918-2018, ed. Andrew McNeillie (Clutag, 2018), pp. 76- 83.

‘Listening-in to the long-1930s’, in Critical Quarterly 58.2 (Dec 2016) [covering work by James Barke and John Sommerfield], 113-132.

‘The 1930s, the Second World War, and Late Modernism’ in The Cambridge History of Modernism, ed. Vincent Sherry (Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp.142-164.

‘Contemporary British Poetry’ in A Global History of Literature and the Environment, ed. Louise Westling (Cambridge University Press, 2016) [covering work by Elisabeth Bletsoe, Alice Oswald, R.F. Langley, Peter Larkin, Rod Mengham, and Colin Simms], pp.301-319.

‘The lure of the wild’ in The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Environment, ed. Louise Westling (Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 104-120.

‘George Barker in the 1930s: an autodidact and the classical inheritance’, Modernist Cultures 10.2 (July 2015), 250-268.

'Late Modernism and WWII' in The Cambridge History of Modernism, ed. Vincent Sherry (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2015).

'Early Graham Greene' in The Oxford Research Reviews in Literature (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2014).

‘The unburied past & walking with ghosts’, in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry, ed. Peter Robinson (Oxford University Press, 2013).

'Narcissus and a trust fund: George Barker and T.S. Eliot', Journal of the TS Eliot Society (2013), 27-37.

'The lure of Wilderness' in The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Environment ed. Louise Westling (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

'Cityscape: the bombed city' in The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-century British and American War Literature eds. Adam Piette and Mark Rawlinson (Edinburgh University Press, 2012).

‘London and Literature – 1900-1950’ for The Cambridge Companion to London ed. Lawrence Manley (Cambridge University
Press, 2011).


Special Issues of Journals

Co-editor with Glyn Salton-Cox, ‘The long-1930s’; Special Issue of Critical Quarterly 57.3 (2015). Introduction, 1-9.


Selected Reviews

Review of John Whittier Ferguson,  Mortality and Form in Late Modernist Literature. In Review of English Studies 68:268, 830–832. (2017)

'Thrills of Destruction' [review of the Ruin Lust exhibition at Tate Britain, London], Times Higher Education Supplement, 13 March 2014.

'Wastelands to Wonderlands' [review of Writing Britain at the British Library], Times Higher Education Supplement 10 May 2012.

Review of Lara Feigel, Literature, Cinema and Politics: Reading between the Frames. In Modernism and Modernity, 19.4. (2012).

Review of Julia Hell & Andreas Schönle (eds), Ruins of Modernity. In Forum for Modern Language Studies, 48.1 (2012).

'Expressing the rapidity of life’ [review essay], Cambridge Quarterly 40.1, (2011).