I am currently an Assistant Professor of English at Portland State University. I research and teach classes in 20th-century Anglophone modernism, critical theory, sound studies, film, musicology, and adaptation studies. After receiving his 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. In addition to publications forthcoming in Modern DramaStudies in the Novel, and The New Ezra Pound (ed. Mark Byron), I’ve published in Textual PracticeJames Joyce Quarterly, and Victorian Literature and Culture, and 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 and selected syllabuses (yes, “syllabuses”) 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.



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


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

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

  • Theories of cruelty and failure


Upcoming Talks and Conferences

  • “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.


  • Modernist Studies Association

  • American Musicological Society

  • T.S. Eliot Society

Josh Epstein

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