Centre for Modernist Studies

Welcome to the Centre for Modernist Studies

The Centre for Modernist Studies at Sussex organises events and supports projects on a wide range of modernist themes, authors and artists.

The explosion of literary and artistic activity at the beginning of the twentieth century provoked a fundamental rethinking of cultural and social values, the reverberations of which continue to be felt. The new aesthetic of experiment and rupture affected all forms of expression and shaped the ways in which modernity was experienced and understood. Critics and theorists have increasingly understood modernism as a plural phenomenon, one comprising many avant-garde movements and competing political agendas. New research on modernism focuses on many previously neglected questions, including the interaction of aesthetic modernisms with forms of nationalism and internationalism; the exploration of modernist publishing, patronage and networks of support; and the continuation of modernism within contemporary literary and artistic culture.

Current and planned events include:

An exhibition: 'A Tale of Mother's Bones: Grace Pailthorpe, Reuben Mednikoff and the Birth of Psychorealism', opening at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill in October 2018 and touring to Camden Arts Centre in April 2019. It is curated by co-Director of the Centre for Modernist Studies, Dr Hope Wolf with Rosie Cooper, Head of Exhibitions at the De La Warr Pavilion, Martin Clark, Director of Camden Arts Centre and Gina Buenfeld, Curator at Camden Arts Centre.

A Conference: 'Virus of Hate: Responses to Fascism in Psychoanalysis, Surrealism and Modernism', January 12, 2019 at the De La Warr Pavilion. More information to follow. Please contact the Centre Directors, Helen Tyson and Hope Wolf, for further information. 

We are also planning several talks that will take place this academic year, and also a postgraduate reading group. 

Past events:

The Centre for Modernist Studies organised and hosted MSA 15 –the largest event on modernism in the UK to date.

Recent events have included Sussex Modernism, an exhibition in London, a symposium on 'Craft Modernism', 'Vanguard Women: A Welcome to the Anna Mendelssohn Papers', talks by Benjamin Kahan, Iain Sinclair, Kate Mcloughlin, Sarah Wilson, Nicholas Gaskill and Alison Light, an international symposium on 'Mina Loy: Radium of the World' (hosted at New York University); multiple conferences on a variety of modernist topics including an interdisciplinary conference on 'Modernism's Child', and graduate led conferences on 'Hospitable Modernism' and 'Modernist Criticisms'; multiple single author events including celebrations of Gertrude Stein (hosted at the University of Sheffield) and Anna Mendelssohn, and, as part of the Sussex Modernism series: 'Bloomsbury in Sussex: a One-Day Conference Marking 100 Years at Charleston'. We have co-sponsored events with New York University, the University of Sheffield, and Queen Mary University of London. 




Centre Directors:

Dr Hope Wolf

Dr Helen Tyson


Previous Directors:

Professor Sara Crangle

Dr Pamela Thurschwell

Professor Peter Nicholls

Professor Laura Marcus