I am currently an Associate Professor of English at Portland State University, where I research and teach classes in 20th-century Anglophone modernism, film and media studies, and critical theory. After receiving my Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, I served as an academic adviser, as an ACLS Fellow at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and as an assistant professor at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.

My first book, Sublime Noise: Musical Culture and the Modernist Writer, explores the relationships among modernist literature, music, noise, and aural culture. I have published in Textual PracticeJames Joyce Quarterly, Modern DramaStudies in the NovelVictorian Literature and Culture, and The New Ezra Pound Studies (CUP, ed. Mark Byron). I present regularly at the Modernist Studies Association conference.

I am currently at work on a new project about the documentary filmmaker and amateur anthropologist Humphrey Jennings, focusing on how Jennings’s filmic, literary, and anthropological work addresses the media ecology and material culture of post-WWII Britain, producing newly textured ways of reading and narrating citizenship.

At PSU I teach a range of classes, including undergraduate and graduate modernism courses; general education courses on modern British lit, race and melodrama, film history, and critical film theory; major authors courses on James, Conrad, and Joyce; and advanced topics courses on aesthetic and cultural theories of failure. Further information can be found on my personal webpage, http://joshepstein.net .


M.A., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2004, 2008.

B.A., summa cum laude, University of Puget Sound, 2003.

Other Publications


Articles and Chapters:

Book Reviews, Bloggy Behaviors, Etc.:

  • Review of Michelle Witen’s James Joyce and Absolute Music, for The Review of English Studies.

  • Review of David Deutsch’s British Literature and Classical Music: Cultural Contexts, 1870–1945, for Journal of British Studies.

  • Blog on Daniel Cavicchi’s Listening and Longing: Music Lovers in the Age of Barnum, for Modernism/modernity‘s “Re/discoveries

Blog Posts


    • Humphrey Jennings, including work on Family Portrait and the Festival of Britain; sound studies and Listen to Britain; and the literary anthology Pandaemonium.

    • Melodrama

    • Music as technology; remediations of music in modernist film, tv, and radio

    • Theories of cruelty and failure


    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    • “Music: Modernist Remediation and Technologies of Listening.” Paper for the Modernist Studies Association, April 2022.

    • Invited participant, “Techniques for Teaching Eliot in 2021,” The International T. S. Eliot Society Annual Conference, September 2021.

    • “Nuclear Family Portrait: Humphrey Jennings, the Pattern Group, and the Festival of Britain.” Paper for the Modernist Studies Association conference (Columbus, OH), November 2018.

    • “Observations of Industrial Listening: War Factory and Listen to Britain.” Position paper for “Modernism and Mass-Observation,” seminar at Modernist Studies Association conference (Columbus, OH), November 2018.

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