Modernist Informatics: Literature, Information, and the State (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016)


Chapters & Articles

"The Meaning of Monte Bello", in Cold War Legacies: Systems, Theory, Aesthetics, ed. by John Beck & Ryan Bishop (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016)

"Teletype", in Writing, Machine, Code, ed. by Sean Pryor & David Trotter (London: Open Humanities Press, 2016)

"Literature and Global Policing", in The SAGE Handbook of Global Policing, ed. by Ian Loader, Ben Bradford, Beatrice Jauregui & Jonny Steinberg (London: SAGE, 2016)

"The early fiction of John Sommerfield", in Oxford Handbooks Online — Scholarly Research Reviews (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015 — online publication)

" 'Is This War?': British Fictions of Emergency in the Hot Cold War", in War and Literature: Essays and Studies, ed. by Laura Ashe & Ian Patterson (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2014)

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Dr James Purdon

Education and Experience

James Purdon studied English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, was a Herchel Smith scholar at Harvard University, and worked as a parliamentary reporter before completing his doctorate in 2012. After three years as a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge, he was appointed to a Lectureship at St Andrews in 2015. ​James is one of the organizers of the AHRC-funded network The Art of Identification and an editor of the open-access book series Technographies (Open Humanities Press). He has been a frequent contributor to The Observer, The Times Literary Supplement, The Literary Review, and Apollo, and is a founding editor of the online quarterly The Junket.

Research Interests

James researches the intersection of literary narrative with technological and political systems over the course of the twentieth century, and has particular interests in modernist studies, Cold War-era culture, and contemporary fiction. His first book — Modernist Informatics: Literature, Information, and the State (Oxford University Press, 2016) — deals with transactions between modernist culture and state administration at the birth of the information age, and focuses on writers and film-makers including Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, Elizabeth Bowen, John Sommerfield, and John Grierson. James has published on a wide variety of subjects, from seventeenth-century biography to the significance of electricity pylons in modern British painting. Most recently, he co-edited (with Beci Carver) a special issue of Critical Quarterly on the cultural effects of traffic. He is currently working on a study of Cold War culture across multiple media forms, and editing the first volume in Cambridge University Press's series British Literature in Transition, covering the years 1900-1920.

Dr James Purdon

Contact information

Room: CH 10
Phone: 2647

Consultation hours:
Mondays 12-2

Research Profile on PURE

School role

Examinations Officer