Dr Mark Steven

Research Fellow
BA. Hons. (1, Medal); MPhil; PhD.
School of the Arts & Media, Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia


Room 231N, Level 2, Robert Webster
Kensington Campus


By appointment.

My major, ongoing research project is titled "Red Modernism: Communist Style Before the Blacklist." This project develops from the premise that Hollywood’s golden age was a reaction both to the greatest economic downturn in the history of capitalism (1929-1936) and to the creation of capitalism’s sovereign rival, the Soviet Union (1917-). It argues that these two historical contexts guided Hollywood into a politically uncertain yet aesthetically determining relationship with communism. My goal for this project is to provide a thoroughgoing account of how communism first entered Hollywood cinema and to demonstrate to the fullest extent its transformative relationship with Hollywood style during the 1920s, 30s, and early 40s. Within this frame, I am particularly interested in the films of Griffith, Chaplin, and DeMille.

I am working on a number of smaller projects: on narratives of finance capital; on the afterlives of H. P. Lovecraft; on the Bay of Pigs in American literature; on the intersections between contemporary cinema and other media, especially video games; and on several filmmakers (Haneke, Tarr, Lynch), poets (Rukeyser, Niedecker), and authors (Beckett, Robinson, Kushner, Diaz, Whitehead). I also maintain interests in the aesthetics of horror and in the discursive field of Marxism.

I have written journalism and have been featured in interviews and articles for national and international media (The Big Issue, Sight and Sound, The Conversation, New Matilda, Cosmopolitan, Sydney Review of Books, Shortlist, Discourse Collective, 2SER). I would be happy to talk to the media or speak in public about any aspect of my research, and am particularly enthusiastic about leftist podcasts. 

Authored Books        

  • Red Modernism: American Poetry and the Spirit of Communism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. Under contract, due for release 2017.
  • Splatter Capital. London: Repeater Books. London: Repeater, 2017. 

Edited Books 

  • The Cinema of Theo Angelopoulos. Eds. Angelos Koutsourakis and Mark Steven. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015.
  • Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Eds. Julian Murphet and Mark Steven. London: Continuum, 2012.

 Journal Articles

  • “Communist Laughter, from Lenin to Lubitsch” Screen. Accepted for publication.
  • “Community and Apostrophe in E. L. Doctorow.” Studies in American Fiction. Accepted for publication. 
  • “Writing History, from Karl Marx to Ezra Pound.” Modernism/modernity. In press, 2017.
  • “The Ragged Claws of Crisis: Reading Prufrock in Detroit.” Textual Practice. In press, 2017.  
  • “Shipwrecks and Mountaintops: Notes on Canto CII.” Glossator: Practice and Theory of the Commentary. Special Issue on Ezra Pound’s Thrones. In press, 2017.
  • “Nietzsche on Film.” Film-Philosophy. 21 (2017): 95-113. 

  • “Visions of the Sun: Modernist Mexico’s Transnational Horizons.” Affirmations: of the modern. Special Issue on Transnational Modernisms. 4.1 (2016): 143-68.
  • “High Road to Hell: Blake, Milton, McCarthy.” The Cormac McCarthy Journal. 14.2 (2016): 149-67.
  • “Modernism’s Rubber Sole.” Cultural Studies Review. 22.1 (2016): 227-33.
  • “Movements in the Hollow Coffin: On ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.’” Poe Studies: History, Theory, Interpretation. 44 (2011): 5-15.
  • “Their Time Has Come: Bad Cinema Nerds as Late-Capitalist Paradigm.” Colloquy: Text, Theory, Critique, Special Issue: B for Bad Cinema 18 (2009): 99-118. 

 Book Chapters

  • “Ezra Pound and Mr Marx, Karl.” A Companion to Ezra Pound’s Economics. Eds. Roxana Preda and Ralf Lüfter. Publisher TBA. Accepted for publication. 
  • “Tracks in the Eurozone: Late Style meets Late Capitalism.” The Cinema of Theo Angelopoulos. Eds Mark Steven and Angelos Koutsourakis. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015: 141-155. 
  • “William Faulkner’s Mediated Time: Capitalism, Cinema, Syntax.” Faulkner in the Media Ecology. Eds. Stefan Solomon and Julian Murphet. Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 2015: 195-215.
  • “Great Southern Wounds: The Trauma of Australian Cinema.” Eco-Trauma Cinema. Ed. Anil Narine. London: Routledge, 2014: 72-87.
  •  “Flann O’Brien’s Aestho-Autogamy.” Flann O’Brien and Modernism. Eds. Rónán McDonald, Sascha Morrell, and Julian Murphet. London: Bloomsbury, 2014: 195-212.
  •  “Fritz Lang.” Directory of World Cinema: Germany, Vol. II. Ed. Michelle Langford. Bristol: Intellect Press, 2013: 12-17. 
  • “The Flame’s Lover: The Modernist Mind of William Carlos Williams.” Mindful Aesthetics: Literature and the Science of Mind. Eds. Helen Groth and Chris Danta. London: Bloomsbury, 2013: 123–138.
  • “The Late World of Cormac McCarthy.” Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Eds. Julian Murphet and Mark Steven. London: Continuum, 2012: 63-87.
  • “Holocaust Scribblebooks: From Paul Celan to Alain Badiou.” Literature and Politics: Pushing the World in Certain Directions. Ed. Peter Marks. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2012: 95-108. 


  • Review of Matthew L. Potts, Cormac McCarthy and the Signs of Sacrament. Modern Fiction Studies. Invited submission.  
  • Review of P. Adams Sitney, The Cinema of Poetry. Make It New. 2.2 (September 2015): 43-7.
  • Review of Hal Foster’s Bad New Days. Affirmations: of the modern 3.1 (2015): 149-55.
  • Review of John Frow, Character and Person & The Value of Culture. Affirmations: of the modern 2.1 (2014): 176-83.


I convene Arts4100/5100: Research Methods and Thesis Writing, ARTS3064: Film Styles and Aesthetics, and ARTS3066: Documentary and Non Fiction Cinema. I also contribute lectures here and there in Literature and Film Studies. 

Affiliations and membership

Modernist Studies Association

Australasian Association for Literature 

Cinematic Thinking Network 

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