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Peter Nicholls

Henry James Professor; Professor of English

Ph.D. 1982, M.A. 1975, B.A. 1972, Cambridge

Office Address: 

244 Greene Street room 507 New York, NY 10003

Office Hours: 






Areas of Research/Interest: 

Twentieth-century British and American literature; international modernism; modern and contemporary poetry and poetics

External Affiliations:

Member, British Association of American Studies; European Network of Avant-garde and Modernist Studies; Modernist Studies Association, Australian Modernist Studies Network. Textual Practice, Editor, 2002-2009, North American Associate Editor, 2009-present. Member of editorial boards of Paideuma, Modernist Cultures, Revue Françaises d’Etudes Américaines, College Literature, Affirmations: Of the Modern.


Peter Nicholls has published widely on twentieth-century writing, with recent works including Modernisms: A Literary Guide (2nd ed. 2008) and George Oppen and the Fate of Modernism (2009). He is especially interested in connections between American and European poetry, and in the political and economic dimensions of literary texts. Nicholls arrived at NYU in 2009 after many years at the University of Sussex, where he was Professor of English and American Literature and editor of the journal Textual Practice.


Finalist, Modernist Studies Association Book Prize; Arthur Miller Essay Prize; Leverhulme Research Fellowship

How Abstract Is It? Thinking Capital Now, ed. with Rebecca Colesworthy, Special Issue of Textual Practice, 28. 7 (December 2014).

Thinking Poetry, introd. & ed. with Peter Boxall (London: Routledge, 2013)

Regarding the Popular: Modernism, the Avant-Garde, and High and Low Culture, ed. with Sascha Bru (Berlin: Verlag Walter de Gruyter, 2012)

On Bathos: Literature, Art, Music, ed. and introd., with Sara Crangle (London: Continuum, 2010). Paperback edition, 2012

Modernisms: A Literary Guide, 2nd expanded ed. (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Europa! Europa? The Avant-Garde, Modernism and the Fate of the Continent, ed. with Sascha Bru (Berlin: Verlag Walter de Gruyter, 2009)

George Oppen and the Fate of Modernism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). Paperback edition 2013

The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature, ed. and introd., with Laura Marcus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Paperback edition 2012

Ruskin and Modernism, ed. and introd., with Giovanni Cianci (London: Palgrave,  2001)

90s Fictions, ed. with Kate Ogborn and Andrea Stuart, Special Issue of Critical Quarterly, 37.4 (Winter 1995)

Politics, Economics and Writing: A Study of Ezra Pound’s ‘Cantos’ (London: Macmillan / Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1984)


Recent Essays

“Bravado or Bravura? Reading Ezra Pound’s Cantos,” in Modernism and Masculinity: Literary and Cultural Transformations, ed. Natalya Lusty and Julien Murphet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)

“Modernism and the Limits of Lyric,” in The Lyric Poem:  Formations and Transformations, ed. Marion Thain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)

“Hard and Soft Modernisms: Politics as ‘Theory,’” in A Handbook of Modernism Studies, ed. Jean-Michel Rabaté (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013)

“’You in the dinghy astern there’: Learning from Ezra Pound,” in Ezra Pound and Education, ed. Steven G. Yao and Michael Coyle (Orono, ME: National Poetry Foundation, 2012)

“Modernism,” The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 4th ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012)

 “That ‘saving ray of strangeness’: the late poems of George Oppen,” in Aberration in Modern and Contemporary Poetry, ed. Stephen Matterson and Lucy Collins (Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland  & Co, 2012)

“Destinations: Secession and Broom,” in Modernist Magazines: A Critical and Cultural History, 3 vols, ed. Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), vol. 2

“Rhetoric and Poetry: Modernism and Beyond,” in The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, ed. Cary Nelson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)

“Beginning the End: Ezra Pound and the Poetics of Survival,” in Ezra Pound: Ends and Beginnings, ed. John Gery and William Pratt (New York: AMS, Inc., 2011)

“Stein, Hemingway, and American Modernisms,” in The Cambridge History of the American Novel, ed. Leonard Cassuto, Benjamin Reiss and Clare Eby (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)

“’Arid Clarity’: Ezra Pound, Mina Loy, and Jules Laforgue,” in The Salt Companion to Mina Loy, ed. Rachel Potter and Suzanne Hobson (Cambridge: Salt, 2010)

“The Elusive Allusion: Poetry and Exegesis,” in Teaching Modernism, ed. Nicky Marsh and Peter Middleton (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)


Recent Articles

“Herman Melville: Scepticism, Cynicism, and the Memoirs of a Greek,” Textual Practice, 29.1 (2015)

“Ezra Pound’s Lost Book: Orientamenti,” Modernist Cultures, 9. 2 (2014)

“Marjorie Perloff’s 21st-Century Modernism,” Jacket 2, Special Issue on the work of Marjorie Perloff (November, 2012)

“Skin deep: Lynne Tillman’s American Genius, A Comedy,” Electronic Book Review (2011)

“Numerousness and Its Discontents: George Oppen and Lyn Hejinian,” Humanities Review, 9. 1 (Spring 2011)

“ A Necessary Blindness: Ezra Pound and Rhythm,” Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry, 6. 13 (Fall 2010)
Updated on 08/19/2015