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The University of Southampton
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Dr Kevin Brazil BA, MSt, DPhil

Associate Professor of English Literature; joint Director of Programmes

Dr Kevin Brazil's photo

Dr Kevin Brazil is an Associate Professor of English Literature.

I joined Southampton in 2016 after being awarded my DPhil in English Literature by the University of Oxford in 2015. I also have an MSt in English Literature from Oxford (2011), and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College, Dublin (2009).

My academic research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first century literature, the history and theory of the novel, modernism, and visual art and culture.

I also write art criticism, essays, and creative non-fiction, which have appeared in Frieze, Granta, The White Review, the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, and elsewhere. What Ever Happened To Queer Happiness?, a book of essays, is forthcoming from Influx Press.

You can find out more about my creative writing at

I supervise PhD students working on a variety of topics in modern and contemporary literature and culture, and welcome inquiries from graduate students interested in working on any aspect of twentieth- and twenty-first century fiction, visual culture, and modernism.

I also welcome inquires from creative writing students writing about queerness in any form, or who seek to blur the genres of fiction, non-fiction, and life writing.

Research interests

My first book, Art, History, and Postwar Fiction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), explores the ways in which novelists have engaged with visual art from 1945 to the present day. In chapters on Samuel Beckett, William Gaddis, John Berger, and W. G. Sebald, and shorter discussions of writers like Doris Lessing, Kathy Acker, and Teju Cole, it shows the ways in which visual art, from abstraction to the photographic readymade, provided novelists with means to rethink the relationship between the novel and history beyond models of contextualization or determination, and thus to create fictions which explore literature’s own modes of historicity and contemporaneity.

I am currently at work on a new book project, provisionally entitled Telling Time: History, Time, and The Novel, that aims to offer a new theory of the relationship between history and the novel by focusing on the relationship between fictional forms and the temporalities that have been widely used to understand history since 1945: lateness, the extended present, the series, and the event. Work from this project has been published in Modern Language Quarterly.

I have published widely on modern and contemporary literature in the Journal of Modern Literature, Modernism/modernity, Tate Papers and Textual Practice: on figures from T. S. Eliot to Doris Lessing; on topics in visual studies such as conceptualism and photography theory; and on contemporary fictional forms.

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Art, History, and Postwar Fiction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018)

Doris Lessing and the Forming of History, ed. Kevin Brazil, David Sergeant, and Tom Sperlinger (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016)

Articles & Chapters

'The Eye and the I: The Essay and Images', The Cambridge History of the British Essay, ed. Denise Gigante and Jason Childs, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)

‘Lateness and Lessness’, Modern Language Quarterly 81.2 (June 2020) 219-241 (Link to article)

‘Form and Fiction 1980 – Present’, in The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction 1980 – Present, ed. Peter Boxall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 89-104.

‘W. G. Sebald’s Revisions of Roland Barthes’, Textual Practice, 33.4 (2019), 567-584 (Taylor & Francis Online website link to abstract)

'An Embarrassment of Lateness', in 'Forum: Modernism's Contemporary Affects', Modernism/modernity Print+ (2018)

'Modernist Literature, Disciplines, and the Systematic Pursuit of Knowledge', in Being Modern: Science and Culture in the Early Twentieth-Century ed. Robert Bud and Morag Shiach (London: UCL Press, 2018)

‘Art-Language, Conceptualism, Cosmopolitanism’, Tate Papers 27 (Spring 2017) (TATE website link to abstract)

‘Character, Sequence, and Series in Children of Violence’, in Doris Lessing and the Forming of History, ed. Kevin Brazil, David Sergeant, Tom Sperlinger (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016).

‘Histories of the Immediate Future: The Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Reconstruction of Modernism in Postwar Britain’, Modernism/modernity 23.1 (January 2016), pp. 193-217 (Project Muse website link to abstract)

‘Beckett, Painting, and the Question of “the human”’, Journal of Modern Literature 36.4 (Spring 2013), pp. 81-99 (Project Muse website link to abstract)

I am the convenor for the module Theory & Criticism, which introduces first-year students to debates and reflections about the art and practice of literary criticism: How should we interpret literature? Does literature shape our identity, and does our identity shape how we read literature?

I also teach a third-year research led module on ‘The Historical Novel’, which looks as the development of this influential literary genre from the eighteenth century to the present day, in the literatures of Scotland, England, the United States, India, Nigeria, Uganda, and Japan.

Dr Kevin Brazil
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BF, United Kingdom

Room Number : 65

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