Max Saunders

Prof

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Modern and contemporary futurology; modernism; literature and impressionism; Ford Madox Ford

1993 …2022

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Personal profile

Biography

Max Saunders became Interdisciplinary Professor of Modern Literature and Culture at the University of Birmingham in 2019. He studied at the universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and was a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He is the author of Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, 2 vols. (Oxford University Press, 1996); and Self Impression: Life-Writing, Autobiografiction, and the Forms of Modern Literature (Oxford University Press 2010). He has edited five volumes of Ford’s writing, including an annotated critical edition of Some Do Not . . . (Carcanet, 2010), and has published essays on Life-writing, on Impressionism, and on a number of modern writers. As Professor of English and Co-Director of the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s College London, he directed the College’s Arts and Humanities Research Institute from 2012-18. In 2013 he was awarded an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for a 5-year collaborative project on digital life writing called ‘Ego-Media’. He was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to research his latest book, Imagined Futures (Oxford University Press, 2019), the first study of the landmark To-Day and To-Morrow book series. At Birmingham he is developing an interdisciplinary project on future thinking.

Research interests

My main research areas are modern literature, the writing of the First World War, life writing, literary impressionism, and futurology.

I have written a critical biography of Ford Madox Ford, and have edited five volumes of Ford’s writing, including an annotated critical edition of Some Do Not . . . (Carcanet, 2010) – the first volume of his tetralogy about the First World War, Parade’s End. I have also written on a broad range of modern and modernist writers – especially James, Conrad, Lawrence, Woolf, Joyce, and Eliot.

Self Impression: Life-Writing, Autobiografiction, and the Forms of Modern Literature (Oxford University Press 2010) explored the relation between life writing and fiction from the late nineteenth  to the early twentieth centuries.

More recently I have written Imagined Futures, the first book on the extraordinary To-Day and To-Morrow book series – 110 volumes by writers such as Robert Graves, Vera Brittain, Winifred Holtby, Hugh MacDiarmid, Bertrand Russell, the scientists J. B. S. Haldane and J. D. Bernal, and many other superb inter-war writers. My current research follows on from Imagined Futures, comparing literary speculations about the future to other methodologies of future thinking.

I also have a strong interest in literature and the visual arts, and am working on a book for the centenary of the painter Alfred Cohen.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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