Dr Elinor Taylor

Dr Elinor Taylor

I joined Westminster in 2015 as a postdoctoral fellow in English and was appointed as a lecturer in 2017 and a senior lecturer in 2020. I studied at the University of Manchester (BA Hons, Philosophy) and the University of Salford (MA Literature, Culture & Modernity; PhD, English). I also hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In addition to these roles, I am an external examiner for Liverpool John Moores University's BA English programmes. 

My research to date has focused on cultural relationships with the political left in Britain, and is motivated by an attempt to reconnect currents in creative and critical practice to modes of political commitment. My first book, The Popular Front Novel in Britain, 1934-1940, was published by Brill in 2017. Aiming to prise open an image of the 1930s as a moment of failed engagement between writing and political activism constructed by post-war anti-communist discourse, this book reconstructs the relationship between British novelists and the ‘Popular Front’ strategy endorsed by the Communist International in 1935, identifying the novel as a key site in which the politics of anti-fascist alliance were rehearsed. Central issues under examination include the role the novel played in cultural anti-fascism; how the novel and its politics were theorised; how British fiction plays out the ‘national turn’ instituted by the Comintern in 1935; and how fiction associated with this formation relates to wider international bearings, especially the heritage of literary modernism and the codification of socialist realism in the Soviet Union. An interview with me about this project can be found here (original French version here). I also appeared on the BBC Radio 4 series Britain's Communist Thread discussing communist culture in the interwar years. 

I have worked more generally on fascism (and anti-fascist struggle) in Britain and its relationships with mid-century literary aesthetics. My chapter 'Spectres of English Fascism: History, Aesthetics and Cultural Critique', in The 1930s: A Decade in British Fiction, which I co-edited with Nick Hubble and Luke Seaber, draws on this research. 

I have forthcoming work on imperialism in the literature of the 1930s left, and on the idea of the people in interwar writing. I am currently working on two projects, one on the idea of 'people's war' as it pertains to 20th century writing, and another on literary iterations of the practice of workers' inquiry, focusing on more recent fiction. 

My wider research interests encompass creative and theoretical relationships between Marxism, modernism and realism; the theory of the novel; and working-class cultural production. I am keen to hear from prospective doctoral researchers working on any of my areas of interest. 

I am a member of the executive committee of the Raymond Williams Society (https://raymondwilliams.co.uk) and a regular contributor to its journal, Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism, as well as contributing to journals including Radical Philosophy, Socialist History, North West Labour History and the TLS

  • Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture

In brief

Research areas

Marxism, Modernism, Working-class writing, The Novel, Realism, Cultural materialism and Populism