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Noreen Masud

       Academic      |      Author      |      Broadcaster

 

About Me

I’m Noreen Masud – a Lecturer in Twentieth Century Literature at the University of Bristol, and an AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker. My research covers all kinds of bases: flatness, spivs, puppets, leftovers, earworms, footnotes, rhymes, hymns, surprises, folk songs, colours, superstitions. I work mostly on twentieth-century literature, but I make forays into Victorian and Romantic literature too. 

 

Projects

Most of my work falls within one of these four major research areas.

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Aphorisms

My first major research project was on aphorism in Stevie Smith. The book based on my doctorate is coming out with OUP in 2022, called Hard Language: Stevie Smith and the Aphorism

Flatness

This is my current project - I'm working on both an academic book and a trade book (A Flat Place: see below for more). Work on flatness is out in Twentieth Century Literature and Textual Practice.

Puppets

This is my third project, still in the planning stages. Always happy to hear from possible collaborators! You can listen to a broadcast I made on puppets, for an initial idea of my thinking.

Nonsense

I'm always working with an eye to or on nonsense literature, with work published and forthcoming on Edward Lear, modernist nonsense and George Orwell.

 

Books

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forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2022

Hard Language frames an original approach to the enigmatic poetry and novels of Stevie Smith (1902-1971), and by extension to a range of twentieth-century women writers, by drawing up a new theory of the aphorism, a form which has received limited critical treatment in literary and philosophical studies. The monograph suggests that aphorism can represent a tool for the social management of emotion, offering an opportunity to make and simultaneously to undercut a dramatic communication.

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forthcoming with Hamish Hamilton and Melville House in Spring 2023

Part-travelogue through Britain’s flat landscapes, part-memoir, A Flat Place investigates how flat spaces might give shape and succour to complex trauma. It was bought by Hamish Hamilton at Penguin (UK and Commonwealth) in a five-way auction, and by Melville House (USA), via my agent Matt Turner at RCW Literary Agency. Hermione Thompson, editor at Hamish Hamilton, described A Flat Place as ‘ground-breaking and much-needed’ in The Bookseller.

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Flat Landscapes in Twentieth-Century Literature

(in progress)

My academic book on flat landscapes, in progress, focuses on D. H. Lawrence, Willa Cather and Gertrude Stein. Small parts of the manuscript have been published in Textual Practice (on Lawrence and on contemporary poetry) and in Twentieth-Century Literature (my bridge-piece between my first and second books, on flatness in Stevie Smith). I've also discussed my project on podcasts: High Theory and Moveable Type.

 
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Radio

I'm an AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker, and love sharing my research on BBC Radio 3 - here are some of my programmes.

Daljit Nagra & Val McDermid; Reynard the Fox

14 October 2020

On medieval trickster myth, with Shahidha Bari and Anne Louise Avery.

Dada and the power of nonsense

23 July 2020

On George Orwell and the absurd, with Shahidha Bari, Jade French, Jade Montserrat and Lottie Whalen.

The Aphorism Now: Failing with Style

31 January 2021.

Sunday Feature, on aphorism as a queer and female form.

Breakdown: Horatio Clare, Stevie Smith

3 March 2021

On Stevie Smith, aphorism and my book! With Laurence Scott.

The Essay: In Praise of Flatness

 30 April 2021

On the feelings that flat landscapes make available to us.

The Puppet's Gaze

13 June 2021

The Sounds of Tyne: Benwell Temple

23 March 2022

From a five-part series on Hadrian's Wall in Newcastle. On Benwell Roman Temple, the West End of Newcastle, and mutual aid (donate here to West End Mutual Aid)

 
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Journal Articles

Cambridge Quarterly (2016) 45 (3): 244-267.

Essays in Criticism (2018) 64 (4): 441-465.

With Frances White, Women: A Cultural Review (2018) 29 (3-4): 290-305.

Women: A Cultural Review (2018) 29 (3-4): 306-318.

Review of English Studies (2019) 70 (296): 732-751.

Victorian Poetry (2020) 58 (2): 207-220

Twentieth-Century Literature (2021) 67 (2): 215–234.

Textual Practice (2021)

Modern Philology (2022) 119 (3): 421-41.

Textual Practice (2022)

 

Book Chapters

‘British poetry, 1900-1950’

The Year’s Work in English Studies, 2018-2021

‘Collecting Stevie Smith’s Aphorisms’

In Aphoristic Modernity: 1890 to the Present, ed. Michael Shallcross and Kostas Boyiopoulos (Brill: 2019).

‘Wild as a Cat: Stevie Smith and Sylvia Plath’

In Sylvia Plath in Context, ed. Tracy Brain (Cambridge University Press: 2019)

‘Monumental Silences’

In On Commemoration: Global Reflections upon Remembering War, ed. Catherine Gilbert, Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro (Peter Lang, 2020)

‘Shady Pleasures: Modernist Nonsense’

In The Edinburgh Companion to Nonsense, ed. Anna Barton and James Williams (Edinburgh University Press, 2021).

‘George Orwell and the Absurd’

In The Oxford Handbook to George Orwell, ed. Nathan Waddell (Oxford University Press; contracted and due 2022).

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Other Work

Films, blogs, other writings.

Public Writing

I've written for Aeon (here) and for the Times Literary Supplement here and here.

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The Blue from Heaven

I advised Professor Suzie Hanna (Norwich University of the Arts), on an animated film based on the Stevie Smith poem ‘The Blue from Heaven’. The animation has been shown at a range of poetry film festivals throughout 2019 and 2020, was nominated for ‘Best Animated Short’ and ‘Best Short Short’ at High Peak Independent Film Festival, and won ‘Best Editor’ at the 2019 ‘Lit on Film’ festival.

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Blog

My blog is called Parrots Ate Them All. I update when I have time, which is almost never.

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Contact

Find me at noreen.masud@bristol.ac.uk, or @NoreenMasud on Twitter. Or my agent Matthew Turner at matthew@rcwlitagency.com.