Philip Tew


Professor of English (Post-1900 Literature)
Director Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing
Research Coordinator for English

Room: GB138
Brunel University
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1895 267257


Philip Tew is Professor of English (Post-1900 Literature) at Brunel, the elected Director of the Modern and Contemporary Fiction Studies Network (formerly the UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies), and joint Managing Editor of both Critical Engagements and of Symbiosis: a Journal of Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Royal Society of Literature. He acts as a member of the editorial advisory boards of both Taiwan-based journal Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies and the US-based journal, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. He is a member of the Peer Review Colleges of both the AHRC and ESRC. Locally in Brunel's School of Arts he serves as English Research Co-ordinator and Director of the Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing (BCCW).

Tew’s published monographs are B. S. Johnson: A Critical Reading (Manchester UP, 2001), The Contemporary British Novel (Continuum, 2004; Serbian trans. Svetovi, 2006; rev. 2nd edition Continuum, 2007); Jim Crace: A Critical Introduction (Manchester UP, 2006), and Zadie Smith (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). His latest book on social narrative, ageing and self-reflection, Ageing, Narrative and Identity: New Qualitative Social Research (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), was co-authored with Brunel's Dr. Nick Hubble. To date Tew has edited five collections in the field of contemporary British Fiction: Contemporary British Fiction, with Richard J. Lane and Rod Mengham (Polity, 2003); British Fiction Today: Critical Essays with Rod Mengham (Continuum, 2006); Teaching Contemporary British Fiction [special issue of Anglistik und Englischunterricht] with Steve Barfield, Anja Muller-Wood and Leigh Wilson (Universitätsverlag Winter, 2007); Re-Reading B. S. Johnson with Glyn White (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); and Reading Zadie Smith: The First Decade and Beyond (Bloomsbury, 2013). Tew is also co-editor of several book series, including Palgrave’s New British Fiction Series and the Bloomsbury Handbook Series. He has produced numerous other shorter publications in various fields.

For a number of years recently Tew’s research has been very largely concerned with the fields of social gerontology and social narrative theories. With Brunel's Dr. Nick Hubble he is currently preparing a study entitled Ageing, Narrative and Identity: New Qualitative Social Research; please see the 'Research and Teaching' tab on this webpage for further details.

Please note that prospective research students interested in being supervised by Prof. Tew should also consult the 'Research and Teaching' tab of his webpage.


Research and Teaching

Research Overview

Prof. Philip Tew's major research interests are in variously: post-1945 and contemporary fiction and culture; theoretical readings of literature; social gerontology; and social narrative theory. He has a longstanding, if intermittent focus on American literature. Recent scholarly work has included:  Well Done God! Selected Prose and Drama of B.S. Johnson, a co-edited (with Jonathan Coe and Dr. Julia Jordan, University College London) anthology of B.S. Johnson's shorter unpublished or out of print work published by Picador; two books on Zadie Smith for Palgrave Macmillan; and Ageing, narrative and identity: New qualitative social research (2013) co-authored with Dr. Nick Hubble also with Palgrave Macmillan. As well as outlining the ESRC-funded Fiction and Cultural Mediation of Ageing Project’s (FCMAP) use of both Mass Observation Study and volunteer reading groups in terms of representations of ageing in post-war narrative culture, this volume is concerned with various contexts and issues such as:  

Narrative, culture and identity; social research, elective readership and intersubjectivity as forms of social agency, everyday life and narrative exchange; identity, self-and intersubjective narration; Third and Fourth Age subjectivities; the role of representation in understanding ageing; and, attitudes of readers and writers to ageing.

Tew has also worked recently on several published essays on J.G. Ballard, one on Englishness, and another on experimental British fiction of the 1970s Other longer-term research areas concern B S Johnson, meta-realism, and social narrative theory.

At Brunel University Tew has collaborated with colleagues in raising the university's profile as a centre of research excellence for contemporary literature and narrative more broadly conceived, especially in terms of social narrative research. In 2008 / 2009 he led a team of academics from Brunel (including Dr. Nick Hubble and Dr. Jago Morrison) in a successful submission for funding to undertake research as part of the inter-research councils’ New Dynamics of Ageing initiative. Both FCMAP and a funded follow-on anthology project (FCMAAP) have produced and analyzed between 2008-2013 a range of in-depth qualitative data produced by the team deploying a Mass Observation (MO) directive and MO diary techniques in U3A volunteer reader groups. Both strands were used for a policy report on ageing and society, Coming of Age (2011), published by Demos, the prestigious think-tank: .The FCMAP team and Demos researchers presented the report’s findings to national, regional, local government and third sector stakeholders at the ‘Coming of Age Policy Roundtable’ hosted by Demos on the 16th May 2012. Speaking alongside the presenters, Hugh Pullinger, Head of Pensions, Ageing Strategy and Analysis Division at the Department for Work and Pensions, described the FCMAP research as ‘excellent’ and outlined how the report’s recommendations were relevant to current policy development.

Three key stakeholders responded to the report under Chatham House rules, all engaging with the implications of the research and all praising the innovative nature of the research. As one said, ‘It’s a really fantastic, very detailed report. I thought there were several particularly useful aspects of this research. I found the use of narratives as a research method particularly helpful, in providing a rich, bottom-up take on issues that are often dealt with in a very top-down way.’

Currently Tew, Hubble and postdoctoral FCMAAP researcher Dr. Jennie Taylor are finishing an anthology featuring FCMAP and MO data, offering eight life histories reflect on the life-course entitled

Tew’s next planned monograph to be researched and written over the next 3-4 years is entitled Social Narrative Exchange Mechanisms: the Storied Dynamics of Cultural Systems & Identities, which will be a study of social narrative exchange mechanisms. This volume will outline a theory and function social narrative; considering the role of narrative exchange in identity and agency, public debate, cultural views and opinions; it will explore the relationship of narrative and inter-subjectivit, examining  the concepts of consensus, ‘culturally agreed values’, community opinions, and the nature of discord and conflict. A contract was issued by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.

Current and Potential Research Supervision

Prof Tew welcomes queries from potential MPhil/PhD students (both full and part-time) most especially in the areas of twentieth and twenty-first century fiction and culture, Anglo-American literary and cultural contexts, and twentieth / twenty-first century criticism and theory. His own areas of research interests also include: aesthetic and philosophical interpretation and analysis of culture and fiction; meta-realist (critical and radical realist) interpretations; sociology and fiction; the Anglo-American experimental novel; and fiction and social gerontology. He also publishes occasionally in other fields, including American Fiction and Victorian Studies.

To date Prof. Tew has undertaken close supervision of students who have successfully submitted PhDs in various fields, including: Salman Rushdie; Marginality in Contemporary British Fiction (published by Continuum); the Anti-Heroic in the American Novel of the 1960s (published by Palgrave MacMillan in New York); Representations of Arabia and North Africa in Selected Prose and Novels from 1945; Selected Fiction of Salman Rushdie;London in Contemporary Fiction; and Modernism, Postmodernism, Realism and John Fowles. The latter project was awarded a Brunel University Vice-Chancellor’s Prize in 2009 for the completion of an outstanding doctoral research. Tew has also offered both formal and informal tuition to other successful PhD students on a variety of topics including: Laurence Sterne; Margaret Oliphant; and theory for a project on Beckett and the theatre of cruelty. Tew's current postgraduate students are undertaking research which includes the following areas: Selected Women Modernist Writers and correlations with Henri Bergson and William James; Fictional Representations of the Iraq War; The Life and Fiction of Alan Burns; Post-War British Aleatory Fiction; Literary and Cultural Representations of Margaret Thatcher; Darwin and Darwinism in Contemporary British Fiction; and Contemporary Anglo-South Asian Anglophone Fiction.

More about Philip

Prof. Tew is the Research Co-ordinator for the English Department, and the Deputy Head of the School of Arts for Research. He is a member of the Peer Review panels for both the AHRC and the ESRC, and he peer reviews submissions regularly for numerous academic journals and publishers worldwide. From 1990 he held a number of other full and part-time appointments teaching literature and theory at various higher education establishments including: the University of Wolverhampton; North London University; Westminster University; Tufts University Program at University College London; Jesus College, Cambridge; Debrecen University (Hungary); Szeged University (Hungary); Birmingham City University; and the University of Northampton. He is the subject of a page on Wikipedia




Journal Papers

(2012) Tew, P., Acts of reconsideration: J.G. Ballard (1930–2009) annotating and revising editions of The Atrocity Exhibition, Textual Practice: an international journal of radical literary studies 26 (3) : 399- 420

(2012) Tew, P., Alexithymia and a broken plastic umbrella: contemporary culture and Martin Amis's money, Textual Practice: an international journal of radical literary studies 26 (1) : 99- 114

(2011) Tew, P., Zadie Smith’s on beauty: Art and transatlantic antagonisms in the anglo-american academy, Symbiosis 15 (2) : 219- 236

(2010) Tew, P., The demotic voice in contemporary British fiction, Modern Language Review 105 868- 869

(2007) Tew, P. and Addis, M., Survey on teaching contemporary British fiction, Changing English 14 (3) : 313- 324

(2007) Tew, P., Book review on Contemporary novelists: British fiction since 1970, by Peter Childs published in Basingstoke and New York by Palgrave Macmillan, The Modern Language Review 102 (1) : 226-

(2007) Tew, P., Book review on 'Faculty Towers': The academic novel and its discontents, The Modern Language Review 102 845- 846

(2007) Tew, P., Book review on Twentieth century poetry: Selves and situations, The Modern Language Review 102 218- 219

(2003) Tew, P., Across the prairies, and beyond the postmodern: A. L. Kennedy, Linda Hutcheon and realizing the contemporary, Wascana Review of Contemporary Poetry and Fiction 38 (1) : 51- 65

(2002) Tew, P., B. S Johnson, The Review of Contemporary Fiction 22 (1) : 7- 58 Download publication

(2001) Tew, P., A matter of memory: Monica Jones, Philip Larkin and Myself, About Larkin: Newsletter of the Philip Larkin Society 12 19- 20

(2001) Tew, P., (Re)-acknowledging B. S. Johnson’s radical realism, or re-publishing the unfortunates, Critical Survey 13 (1) : 37- 61

(1999) Tew, P., Forgotten voices issue, Hungarian Journal for English and American Studies 5 (2) : 234-

(1999) Tew, P., Journeying with Bachelard, Bourdieu and others toward bunting: Revisiting the margins of forgetfulness, The Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies 5 (2) : 11- 37

(1999) Tew, P., Re-invoking Herbert Simmons: Man walking on eggshells of radical narrative, The Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies 5 (2) : 109- 126

(1999) Tew, P., Theorizing the lexicon of youth in contemporary Irish fiction: Mac Laverty, Bolger, and Doyle via Lefebvre’s tenth prelude, The Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies 5 (1) : 181- 197

(1998) Tew, P., Contextualizing B. S. Johnson (1933-73): the British novel’s forgotten voice of protest, The Anachronist 165- 192

Book Chapters

(2014) Tew, P., Turbulent times: Conflicts, ideology and the experimental British novel, 1969-1979. In: The 1970s: A decade of contemporary British fiction. London : Bloomsbury 145- 179

(2013) Tew, P., J.G. Ballard’s Traumatised and Traumatising Englishness. In: Gardiner, M. and Westall, C. eds. Literature of an Independent England. Basingstoke and New York : Palgrave Macmillan 147- 161

(2011) Tew, P., Postwar renewals of experiment, 1945–1979. In: Caserio, RL. and Hawes, CC. eds. The Cambridge History of the English Novel. Cambridge University Press

(2011) Tew, P., Moving beyond modernism in the fiction of B.S. Johnson: Charting influences and comparisons. In: James, D. ed. The legacies of modernism: Historicizing postwar and contemporary fiction. Cambridge Universty Press

(2010) Tew, P., Re-reading the DC universe(s) of super heroes: Tracing the spectacular malice and sacrifice through crisis on infinite earths (1985).. In: Tew, P., Barfield, S. and Phillips, L. eds. Critical engagements: A journal of criticism and theory 3.1. UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies 10- 30

(2009) Tew, P., Childhood, longing, sexuality, violence and sacrifice in Rumer Godden's The River (1946), An Episode of Sparrows (1956) and The Greengage Summer (1958). In: Lassner, P. and Le-Guilcher, LA. eds. Rumer Godden. Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, VT : Ashgate

(2009) Tew, P., Jim Crace's enigmatic pastoral. In: James, D. and Tew, P. eds. New Versions of Pastoral: Post-Romantic, Modern and Contemporary responses to the Tradition. Madison/Teaneck / London : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/ Associated University Press 230- 244

(2009) Tew, P., Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night (1961): Howard W Campbell Jr. and the banalities of evil. In: Simmons, D. ed. New Critical Essays on Kurt Vonnegut. New York : Palgrave, Macmillan

(2008) Tew, P., Jonathan Coe. In: Tew, P., Tolan, F. and Wilson, L. eds. Writers talk: Conversations with contemporary British novelists. Continuum International Publishing Group 35- 55

(2008) Tew, P., Matt Thorne. In: Tew, P., Tolan, F. and Wilson, L. eds. Writers talk: Conversations with contemporary British novelists. Continuum International Publishing Group 124- 161

(2008) Tew, P., Will Self. In: Tew, P., Tolan, F. and Wilson, L. eds. Writers talk: Conversations with contemporary British novelists. Continuum International Publishing Group 105- 124

(2008) Tew, P., Situating the violence of JG Ballard's postmillennial fiction: The possibilities of sacrifice, the certainties of trauma. In: Baxter, J. ed. JG Ballard: Contemporary Critical Perspectives. London : Continuum 107- 119

(2007) Tew, P., Literary theory. In: Hartwig, M. ed. Dictionary of critical realism. London and New York: Routledge 280- 282

(2007) Tew, P., A conversation between Jim Crace and Philip Tew. In: Critical engagements 1.1. UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies 333- 356

(2007) Tew, P., A phenomenology of the suffering of others: The case of Ralph Ernest Gorse. In: Critical engagements 1.1. UK Network for the Modern Fiction Studies 291- 310

(2007) Tew, P., James Thomson’s London: Beyond the apocalyptic vision of the city?. In: Phillips, LA. ed. A mighty mass of brick and smoke: Victorian and edwardian representations of London. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Bv 107- 129

(2007) Tew, P., Wintersonian masculinities. In: Andermahr, S. ed. Jeanette Winterson. Continuum International Publishing Group 114- 129

(2006) Tew, P., Jenny Diski’s Millennial Imagination, 1997 – 2004. In: Tew, P. and Mengham, R. eds. British fiction today. Continuum International Publishing Group 67- 77

(2006) Tew, P., Martin Amis and late-twentieth-century working-class masculinity: Money and London fields. In: Keulks, G. ed. Martin Amis: Postmodernism and beyond. Palgrave Macmillan 71- 86

(2005) Tew, P., B. S. Johnson and the BBC: Initial contacts. In: Tandt, CD. ed. Reading without maps?: Cultural landmarks in a post-canonical age. Peter Lang Publishing 119- 133

(2005) Tew, P. and Smallwood, P., 'British theory and criticism, 1900 and after. In: Groden, M., Kreiswirth, M. and Szeman, I. eds. The Johns Hopkins guide to literary theory & criticism. Johns Hopkins University Press 156- 160

(2005) Tew, P., Exploring an economy of exegetical structures through Cassirer and Bourdieu. In: Herbrechter, S. ed. Metaphors of economy. Amsterdam: Rodopi Press 39- 53

(2004) Tew, P., My doingthings: London according to B. S. Johnson. In: Phillips, L. ed. The swarming streets: Twentieth-century literary representations of London. Amsterdam: Rodopi Press 111- 129

(2003) Tew, P., Three dialogues as a laughable text?: Beckett’s bergsonian comedy. In: Buning, M. ed. Three dialogues revisited. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Press (13(1)) : 105- 118

(2003) Tew, P., Introduction. In: Tew, P. and Wheeler, W. eds. New formations: A journal of culture / theory / politics. Lawrence and Wishart Ltd (49) : 7- 13

(2003) Tew, P., A new sense of reality? A new sense of the text? Exploring the literary-critical field and meta-realism. In: Stierstorfer, K. ed. Beyond postmodernism. De Gruyter 29- 50

(2003) Tew, P., Radical victorian. In: Thomson, J. ed. The city of dreadful night. Agraphia Pr 55- 66

(2003) TEW, P., The fiction of A. L. Kennedy. In: Lane, RJ., Mengham, R. and Tew, P. eds. Contemporary British fiction post 1979: A critical introduction. Polity Press 120- 139

(2002) Tew, P., Philosophical adjacency: Beckett’s Prose Fragments via Jűrgen Habermas. In: Lane, RJ. ed. Beckett and philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan 140- 153

(2002) Tew, P. and Barfield, S., Philosophy, psychoanalysis and parody: Exceedingly Beckett. In: Engelberts, M., Buning, M. and Houppermans, S. eds. Pastiches, parodies and other imitations. Amsterdam and New York, Rodopi Press 93- 104

(2001) Tew, P., Co-ordinates for reconsidering literary interpretation. In: López, J. and Potter, G. eds. After postmodernism: An introduction to critical realism. Athlone Press 196- 205


(2014) Tew, P., Horton, E. and Wilson, L., 1980s: A decade of contemporary British fiction. Bloomsbury Academic

(2014) Hubble, N., McLeod, J. and Tew, P., The 1970s: A decade of contemporary British fiction. Bloomsbury Academic

(2013) Tew, P., Reading Zadie Smith: The First Decade and Beyond. Bloomsbury Academic

(2013) Coe, J., Tew, P. and Jordan, J., Well Done God! Selected Prose and Drama of B.S. Johnson. Picador

(2013) Hubble, N. and Tew, P., Ageing, narrative and identity: New qualitative social research. Palgrave Macmillan

(2011) Bazalgette, L., Holden, J., Tew, P., Hubble, N. and Morrison, J., Coming of age. Demos

(2011) Tew, P., Critical engagements: Exploring elements of satire in Will Self’s fiction 3.2. UKNMFS

(2010) Tew, P., Critical Engagements 4.1: Engagement & truth: B. S. Johnson & post-war experimental aesthetics. UKNMFS

(2009) Barfield, S., Feldman, M. and Tew, P., Beckett and Death. Continuum

(2009) Tew, P. and Murray, A., Modernism Handbook. Continuum

(2009) James, D. and Tew, P., New versions of pastoral: post-romantic, modern and contemporary responses to the tradition. Fairleigh Dickinson university Press

(2009) Tew, P., Zadie Smith. Palgrave Macmillan

(2008) Tew, P., Tolan, F. and Wilson, L., Writers talk: conversations with contemporary novelists. Continuum

(2007) Tew, P. and White, G., Re-Reading B. S. Johnson. Palgrave Macmillan

(2007) Tew, P., Steve, B., Muller-Wood, A. and Wilson, L., Teaching Contemporary British Fiction. Heidelberg : Universitätsverlag

(2007) Tew, P., The contemporary British novel. London: Continuum

(2006) Tew, P. and Mengham, R., British Fiction Today. Continuum

(2006) Tew, P., Jim Crace. Manchester: Manchester University Press

(2003) Tew, P. and Wheeler, W., Complex figures issue. New formations: A journal of culture / theory / politics. Lawrence and Wishart Ltd

(2003) Tew, P., Lane, R. and Mengham, R., Contemporary British fiction. Cambridge: Polity Press

(2001) Tew, P., B.S. Johnson: a critical reading. Manchester: Manchester University Press

Page last updated: Monday 24 March 2014