Professor Tim Armstrong

Educational background

I have worked at Royal Holloway since 1995; before that I taught at the University of Sheffield for six years, at University College Cork, and at University College London, where I did my graduate work.  My BA and MA were at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. I worked as a diplomat for a few years before starting a PhD, and in my teens I was a licenced free-diver for paua.




Research interests

My main research areas are Modernism, American literature, literature and technology, the body (including such areas as sexology, bodily reform, cinema, and sound); and the poetry of Thomas Hardy. For earlier books including Modernism, Technology and the Body, Haunted Hardy, and Modernism: A Cultural History, see the panel above.  My most recent book was on slavery as cultural metaphor, The Logic of Slavery: Debt, Technology and Pain in American Literature, for CUP (early sample here|). It was awarded the 2013 C. Hugh Holman Prize of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature for the best book of literary scholarship or criticism in the field of Southern literature in its year;and was a Choice outstanding academic title the same year.

Recent articles have covered modernism and mathematics, modernism and time; modernism and music; modernism and biology; and slavery in in American literature 1900-45, I am currently writing a study of modernist localism after 1926, Micromodernism.  I also have a background (and much deferred) project on the literature and culture of risk and disaster from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, focussing on shipwreck narratives. 

I am co-editor of the Edinburgh University Press series Edinburgh Critical Studies in Modernist Culture, and one of the organizers of the London Modernism Seminar, now well into its third decade.  I was chair of the British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS) in 2019.

Full list of publications here.   Some of my work can be read on my page.



I welcome applications from prospective PhD students in all areas of twentieth-century literature, especially modernism and American Literature. I have supervised 25 research degrees to completion, and usually have around 3-4 supervisees (I've also examined over 60 PhDs).  Current and recent areas of supervision include lesbian modernism, modernism and fashion, modernism and visual culture, African-American literature, post-9/11 fiction, Kathy Acker, Virginia Woolf, and Gertrude Stein.



I teach Modernism on the MA English Literature and courses including Introducing America, The American Century, Dark Reform (on American satire and the reform mode), Odysseus' Scar: Time in Modern Literature, and African American Literature|


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