Academic | Author | Broadcaster
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.
Most of my work falls within one of these four major research areas.
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.
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.
Hard Language: Stevie Smith and the Aphorism
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. Surveying the aphoristic tradition through German, French, and English lines of development, 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.
A Flat Place
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.
Flat Landscapes in Twentieth-Century Literature
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.
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
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)
‘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)
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).
Films, blogs, other writings.
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.