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English and Creative Writing

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Dr Mark Steven

Senior Lecturer in 20th and 21st Century Literature (E&R)


01392 724066


I'm interested in the poetics of social transformation.

My thinking is especially alive to questions of how literature and cinema might help us envisage or even engineer a better world than the dumpster fire we now inhabit. Within this frame, I tend to write about how different forms respond to the vicissitudes of modern capitalism, to the practicalities of revolution, and to the possibility of communism. I make no bones about the fact that this research is fuelled by political commitment. 

My most recent book, Class War: A Literary History, was published by Verso in May 2023. This book weaves together literature and politics to chart the making and unmaking of social class through revolutionary combat in a narrative that spans the globe and more than two centuries of history. You can read an excerpt from its postscript here. I've done a good deal of press for this book, but I think this interview does a reasonable job of presenting the book as relative to some of what I teach here at Exeter and to my experience as a working-class bookworm. 

I have also published extensively in the field of modernism and I maintain personal and professional investments in the political dimensions of narrative and poetic form, in the aesthetics of horror, and in critical theory as a grounds for solidarity.

I am the author of two other books: Red Modernism and Splatter Capital.

I am editor of Understanding Marx, Understanding Modernism and am co-editor of The Cinema of Theo Angelopoulos and Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

My academic writing has appeared in Modernism/modernityTextual PracticeSubStanceScreenFilm-PhilosophyScreening the PastPostmodern CultureAffirmationsJames Joyce Quarterly, and elsewhere. Non-academic writing is in CommuneJacobinCounterpunch, and elsewhere. Sometimes I write poems.

Office Hours: Mondays 12.30-1.30; Tuesdays 11.30-12.30. Email for bookings. 

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I have a very wide range of research interests and would be happy to speak with potential research candidates in any of the fields or about any of the figures mentioned on this profile page.

I am especially keen to supervise candidates interested in: 

  • Literature and cinema in relation to political economy 
  • Literature and cinema in relation to revolutionary commitment 
  • Modernism in literature and cinema 
  • Marxism, Marxist literary studies, Marxist film studies 
  • Communism, socialism, and other anti-capitalist imaginaries   

I am committed to supporting BME, LGBTIQ, and working-class students, and will happily respond to general inquiries. 

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

| 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 |


  • Steven M. (2023) I Would They Were Barbarians: Shakespeare, Brecht, and the Global Riot, Writing the Global Riot: Literature in a Time of Crisis, Oxford University Press.
  • Steven M. (2023) Class War: A Literary History, Verso.


  • Steven M. (2022) The Politics and Poetics of Revolution, The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry and Politics Since 1900, Cambridge University Press.


  • Steven M. (2021) Hideous Hobgoblins: Monstrous Form in Darwin, Marx, and Joyce, James Joyce Quarterly, volume 58, pages 61-80, article no. 1-2, DOI:10.1353/jjq.2020.0032.
  • Steven M. (2021) Leviathan Gore: The Horrors of American Capitalism, The Cambridge Companion to American Horror, Cambridge University Press.
  • Steven M. (2021) Review of Margaret Ronda, Remainders: American Poetry at Nature's End, Journal of American Studies.
  • Steven MA. (2021) Understanding Marx, Understanding Modernism, Bloomsbury.


  • Steven M. (2020) Screening Insurrection: Marx, Cinema, Revolution, After Marx, Cambridge University Press.
  • Steven MA. (2020) Cinematic Masculinity in the Age of Finance, Postmodern Culture, volume 30.1.


  • Steven MA. (2019) Weaponizing Criticism, Affirmations: of the modern, volume 6.1, pages 73-96.
  • Steven MA. (2019) Freeze This Frame: Cormac McCarthy on Page and Screen, MLA Options for Teaching Cormac McCarthy, MLA.


  • Steven MA. (2018) Review of Maximum Feasible Participation: American Literature and the War on Poverty, by Stephen Schryer, American Literary History, volume ALH Online Review Series 18.
  • Steven MA. (2018) Ezra Pound and Mr Marx, Karl, A Companion to Ezra Pound’s Economy, Verlag Traugott Bautz.
  • Steven MA. (2018) Review of Cormac McCarthy and the Signs of Sacrament: Literature, Theology, and the Moral of Stories by Matthew L. Potts, MFS: Modern Fiction Studies, pages 195-198.
  • Steven MA. (2018) Love in the Time of Capital, SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism, volume 47.3, no. 147, pages 147-166.
  • Steven MA. (2018) The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille: Political Antiquity in Classical Hollywood, Screening the Past, volume 43.
  • Steven MA. (2018) Community and Apostrophe in E. L. Doctorow, Studies in American Fiction, volume 45.1, pages 119-140.
  • Steven MA. (2018) Shipwrecks and Mountaintops: Notes on Canto CII, Glossator : Practice and Theory of the Commentary, volume 10, pages 185-214.
  • Steven MA. (2018) E. L. Doctorow, Dictionary of Literary Biography: Twenty-First Century American Novelists, Gale.


  • Steven MA. (2017) Review of Nicholas Monk, True and Living Prophet of Destruction: Cormac McCarthy and Modernity, The Cormac McCarthy Journal, volume 15.2, pages 207-212.
  • Steven MA. (2017) Review of Stuart Jeffries, Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School, Sydney Review of Books.
  • Steven MA. (2017) Review of Enzo Traverso, Left-Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History, and Memory, Affirmations: of the modern, volume 5.1, pages 181-189.
  • Steven M. (2017) Nietzsche on Film, Film-Philosophy, volume 21.1, no. 1, pages 95-113, DOI:10.3366/film.2017.0033.
  • Steven M. (2017) The ragged claws of crisis: Reading ‘Prufrock’ in Detroit, Textual Practice, pages 1-21, DOI:10.1080/0950236X.2017.1371219.
  • Steven M. (2017) Reading Capital, Writing History: Pound's Marx, Modernism/modernity, volume 24.4, pages 771-771, DOI:10.1353/mod.2017.0063.
  • Steven M. (2017) Communist Laughter, from Lenin to Lubitsch, Screen, volume 58.4, pages 387-411, DOI:10.1093/screen/hjx042.
  • Steven M. (2017) Splatter Capital, Repeater Books.
  • Steven M. (2017) Red Modernism American Poetry and the Spirit of Communism, Johns Hopkins University Press, DOI:10.1353/book.56797.



  • Steven MA. (2015) Review of Hal Foster's Bad New Days, Affirmations: of the modern, volume 3.1, pages 149-155.
  • Steven MA. (2015) Review of P. Adams Sitney, The Cinema of Poetry, Make it New, volume 2.2, pages 43-47.
  • Steven MA. (2015) William Faulkner's Mediated Time: Capitalism, Cinema, Syntax, Faulkner in the Media Ecology, Louisiana State University Press, 195-215.
  • Steven M. (2015) Tracks in the Eurozone: Late Style meets Late Capitalism, The Cinema of Theo Angelopoulos, Edinburgh University Press, 141-155.
  • Steven M, Koutsourakis A. (2015) The Cinema of Theo Angelopoulos, University of Edinburgh Press.


  • Steven MA. (2014) Review of John Frow, Character and Person & The Value of Culture, Affirmations: of the modern, volume 2.1, pages 176-183.
  • Steven MA. (2014) Great Southern Wounds: The Trauma of Australian Cinema, Eco-Trauma Cinema, Routledge, 72-87.


  • Steven MA. (2013) The Flame's Lover: The Modernist Mind of William Carlos Williams, Mindful Aesthetics: Literature and the Science of Mind, Bloomsbury, 123-138.
  • Steven MA. (2013) Fritz Lang, Directory of World Cinema: Germany, Intellect Press, 12-17.


  • Steven MA. (2012) Holocaust Scribblebooks: From Paul Celan to Alain Badiou, Literature and Politics: Pushing the World in Certain Directions, Cambridge Scholars Press, 95-108.
  • Steven MA. (2012) The Late World of Cormac McCarthy, Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Bloomsbury, 63-87.
  • Steven MA. (2012) Flann O'Brien's Aestho-Autogamy, Flann O'Brien and Modernism, Bloomsbury, 195-212.
  • Steven M. (2012) Movements in the Hollow Coffin: On 'The Fall of the House of Usher', Poe Studies, volume 44, no. 1, pages 5-15, DOI:10.1111/j.1754-6095.2011.00033.x.
  • Steven M, Murphet J. (2012) Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Bloomsbury.

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External impact and engagement

I have written journalism and have been featured in interviews and articles for national and international media. My words have appeared in the following places (with links, where available): 

Contribution to discipline

I peer-review critical work for numerous journals and presses (including Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Illinois). Journal and press editors: if you would like me to review an article or manuscript please email.

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I joined the University of Exeter in January 2018.

My former life was in Australia, where I was the first member of my family to finish school let alone go to university.

I started teaching in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. I was then employed as a Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of New South Wales, specializing in modernist and world cinemas. 

I left Australia when my ARC-approved research project, "Red Hollywood: Communist Style Before the Blacklist" (335,788AUD), was personally vetoed by the conservative minister for education.

While this might have been a targetted attempt at ending an academic career for purely ideological reasons, there remains some joy in pointing out the irony that my project was to have retold the story of how numerous filmmakers were denied work because of real and alleged political commitments.

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