Douglas Field

Douglas Field


  • Division of English, American Studies & Creative Writing (EAC) | School of Arts, Languages & Cultures (SALC) | N.1.7, Samuel Alexander Building | University of Manchester | Oxford Road | Manchester | M13 9PL |

Personal profile


I received my PhD in English Literature from the University of York. I joined the University of Manchester in 2012 having previously taught at the University of York and Staffordshire University, as well as stints teaching young offenders, refugees, and asylum seekers. I'm chair of Manchester University Press's editorial committee and I am a founding editor of James Baldwin Reviewan annual peer-reviewed journal. I'm a series editor for the trade imprint The British Pop Archivea regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Research interests

I have mostly written about twentieth century US literature and culture, including publications on American cold war culture, JFK, Harold Norse, Jack Kerouac, Zora Neale Hurston, Tom Waits, William Burroughs, D.W. Griffith, film noir, and jazz and Pentecostalism. My work has appeared in journals including English Literary History, African American Review, Literature and Theology, and Callaloo, as well as in a number of edited volumes. 

I have a longstanding interest in 1960s transatlantic counterculture, avant-garde writing, & little poetry magazines, which has led to work on Jeff Nuttall, William Blake's influence on the counterculture of the 1960s, and on the 'Mimeograph Revolution' that took place between the 1950s and 1970s.  My reviews in the Times Literary Supplement reflect my broad interests. I have written about 19th, 20th and 21st century American literature and culture (literary criticism,  literary biographies, poetry, cultural criticism, fiction, and memoirs), British fiction and British poetry,  as well as nine freelance essays on topics ranging from breaking into James Baldwin's house to living on a boat. 

James Baldwin

Over the last fifteen years my research has focussed on the American writer James Baldwin (1924-1987). In 2009 I edited A Historical Guide to James Baldwin (Oxford UP), a volume that explores the writer’s relationship to the civil rights movement, transatlantic culture, music, religion, and Black queer writing, followed by the book James Baldwin (2011) for the series Writers and their Work. I co-edited (with Rich Blint) a special issue on Baldwin for African American Review (2013).

My monograph, All Those Strangers: The Art  and Lives of James Baldwin was published by Oxford UP in 2015. The book analyses the writer’s life and work against the radically transformative politics of his time, as well as exploring under-researched areas in Baldwin’s life and work—his relationship to the Left, his FBI files and the significance of Africa in his writing—while also contributing to wider discussions about post-war US culture. The book was reviewed in the New York Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement &  African American Review.

In 2014 I co-founded James Baldwin Review with Justin Joyce and Dwight McBride (both at Washington University in St. Louis). The journal is open access and can be viewed here.

Between 2024-7 I will be working as the principal investigator on "James Baldwin and Britain" with Rob Waters (Queen Mary, University of London) and Kennetta Perry (Northwestern University). The AHRC-funded project explores Baldwin's complicated relationship to Britain, and to British culture. More details will appear as the project develops.

Recent and Current Research

I am the co-editor (with Jay Jeff Jones) of An Aesthetic of Obscenity, an anthology of Jeff Nuttall's fiction, along with several articles on the polymath (Beat Scene, PN Review, TLS). I am also the co-editor (again with Jay Jeff Jones), of a 50th anniversary edition of Jeff Nuttall's Bomb Culture. I was the co-curator, with Jay Jeff Jones, of the exhibition, Off Beat: Jeff Nuttall and the International Underground, which was on display at the John Rylands Library, Manchester (2016-17). I was also the co-curator of an exhibtion on Nuttall at Flat Time House in London, The Pyschopathic Now: Jeff Nuttall's Bomb Culture and the International Underground (2018-19)

I have started writing a book on a cluster of mid-twentieth century poets and artists, including Alexander Trocchi, William Burroughs, and Gustav Metzger, which explores the theme of failure during the 1950s and 1960s. 

Recent and forthcoming publications

Walking in the Dark: James Baldwin, My Father, and Me (Manchester University Press, 2024) - trade book

Co-ed. (with R. J. Riley), a special issue on The Mimeograph Revolution and Avant-garde Little Magazines for Texual Practice (2024).

Chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Jack Kerouac (2024).

Co-ed (with Justin A. Joyce and Dwight A. McBride), James Baldwin Review, volume 10 (Autumn, 2024).

Co-ed. (with Luke Walker), a special issue on William Blake, Neo-Romanticism and the Counterculture for the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library (2022).

Co-ed (with A. Robert Lee), Harold Norse: Poet Maverick, Gay Laureate (Clemson University Press/ Liverpool University Press, 2022).

Co-ed (with Jenny Barrett and Ian Scott), D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation: Art, Culture and Ethics in Black and White (Manchester University Press, 2022).



James Baldwin Review