Dr Suzanne Hobson, BA (Oxford) MA (Warwick) PhD (London)
Reader in Twentieth Century Literature
I grew up in Barnsley, South Yorkshire and studied for my BA at Hertford College University of Oxford. I moved to the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender at the University of Warwick for my MA and to the English Department at Queen Mary University of London for my PhD. I have been teaching at Queen Mary since 2007.
I have taught on:
- ESH102: Reading Theory and Interpretation
- ESH213: Modernism
- ESH393: Feminism(s)
- ESH381: DH Lawrence: Controversy and Legacy
I teach and write on modernism and literary theory and am especially interested in questions of religion and belief in the early twentieth century. My first book, Angels of Modernism: Literature, Culture, Aesthetics 1910-1960 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), explores a variety of literary angels rendered strange or untimely by their appearance in self-consciously modern contexts. I have published articles and book chapters on Mary Butts, D.H. Lawrence, Mina Loy and H.D. and am the co-editor of The Salt Companion to Mina Loy (Salt, 2010).
I am currently working on a book about unbelief in modernist fiction between the wars. Across a variety of genres modernist authors probe the history and philosophy of unbelief, reflecting as they do so on the viability of this position as a basis for ethical and aesthetic commitment. My book will argue that, far from a given, unbelief is frequently an elusive and troublesome category in these novels. From stories of lapsed unbelievers (H.G. Wells) and believers in belief (Mary Butts, Virginia Woolf) to particular genres dedicated to rationalist themes such as Biblical biofiction (H.D. and D.H. Lawrence) and speculative fictions about the afterlife (Wyndham Lewis and Naomi Mitchison), this book tracks the emergence of a crisis of doubt in twentieth-century literature.
I am on the organising committee of the London Modernism Seminar at the Institute of English Studies and am Chair of the British Association for Modernist Studies 2017-2018. In 2014, I was part of the organising committee of Modernism Now, the bi-annual conference of the British Association of Modernist Studies (Senate House, June 2014). I was on the book prize committee for the Modernist Studies Association in 2016.
I took part in The Forum for European Philosophy – Apocalypse event in 2017. Listen to the recording here.
Angels of Modernism: Religion, Culture, Aesthetics 1910-1960 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011)
The Salt Companion to Mina Loy, ed. Suzanne Hobson and Rachel Potter (Cambridge: Salt, 2010)
Articles and Book Chapters:
‘Radical Unorthodoxy: H.D.’s and Mary Butts’s Hellenistic Fiction’, in Spirituality in Modernist Women’s Writing: A Piercing Darkness, ed. Heather Walton, Elizabeth Anderson, Andrew Radford (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
‘”Looking all lost towards a Cook's guide for beauty”: The Art of Literature and the Lessons of the Guidebook in Modernist Writing’, Studies in Travel Writing, 19 (2015): 30-47.
‘Christian Prehistories of Literary Modernism in G.K. Chesterton and Allen Upward’, in Modernism, Christianity and Apocalypse, ed. Erik Tonning, Michael Feldman and David Addyman (Leiden: Brill, 2014)
‘Religion and Spirituality’, in The Cambridge Companion to Modernist Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
‘Credulous Readers: H.D. and Psychic Research Work’, in Incredible Modernism: Literature, Trust and Deception, ed. John Attridge and Rod Rosenquist (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013)
‘“I am not the British Isles on Two Legs”: Travel Fiction and Travelling Fiction from D.H. Lawrence to Tim Parks’, in The End of Empire and the English Novel since 1945, ed. Rachael Gilmour and Bill Schwarz (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011)
‘Mina Loy’s “Conversion” and the Profane Religion of her Poetry’, in The Salt Companion to Mina Loy, ed. Suzanne Hobson and Rachael Potter (Cambridge: Salt, 2010), pp. 248-65
‘H.D. and the Angelus Militans’, Miranda, no. 2 (2010), http://www.miranda-ejournal.eu/1/miranda/index_numero.xsp?numero=2
‘The Angel Club: Allen Upward and the Divine Calling of Modernist Literature’, Literature and Theology, 22/1 (2008), 48-63 doi:10.1093/litthe/frm013
‘A New Angelology: Mapping the Angel in Twentieth-Century Literature’, Literature Compass, 4/2 (2007), 494-507. doi:10.1111/j.1741-4113.2006.00412.x
‘Modernism’, in British and Irish Literature, ed. Andrew Hadfield (Oxford University Press), entered on 25 September 2012: http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199846719/obo-9780199846719-0042.xml?rskey=TNTzMi&result=24&q=
I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.
I has supervised the following successful PhD projects:
- Timothy Bell, 'Envisioning the Working Class in British Fiction, 1957-1967', co-supervised with Clair Wills (2012)
- Steven Quincey Jones, ‘The Egoist and Its Afterlives: Modernism, Mysticism and Egoism’, co-supervised with Peter Howarth (2013)
- Isabelle Parkinson, ‘Whose Gertrude Stein? Contemporary Poetry, Modernist Institutions and Stein’s Troublesome Legacy’ (2016)