Dr Tamlyn Avery


School of Communication and Arts
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 51438


I am Lecturer in American Studies in the School of Communication and Arts, specializing in literature and modernist studies. I am author of The Regional Development of the American Bildungsroman, 1900–1960 (Edinburgh UP 2023), and co-editor of the modernist studies journal Affirmations: of the Modern (Open Humanities Press), which is the organ journal of the Australasian Modernist Studies Network. My research has appeared in PMLA (Cambridge UP), American Literature (Duke UP), Modernism/Modernity (Johns Hopkins UP), The Mississippi Quarterly (Johns Hopkins UP), and Australian Feminist Studies (Routledge). I've also contributed to various published and forthcoming collections, including The Oxford Handbook of African American Women's Writing (Oxford UP, forthcoming),The Edinburgh Companion to Literature and Sound Studies (Edinburgh UP 2024); Black Lives Matter: Lessons From the Harlem Renaissance (Clemson UP, forthcoming); The Routledge Companion to Literature of the U.S. South (Routledge 2022); and recent collections on American authors including E. L. Doctorow and Carson McCullers. I am also co-editor of Revisiting the Poetics and Politics of Modernism: The Women of 1922 (Palgrave 2025), a collection that revisits perennial debates over modernism's geographies and temporalities by retracing the politics and poetics of women's literature across a range of global contexts in 1922: the annus mirabilis of modernism.

I have taught at the University of Adelaide, the University of New South Wales, Flinders University, and the Australian Catholic University. I received my doctorate in English Literature from UNSW, after completing my undergraduate degree there with First Class Honours; I also have a Masters of Teaching, specialising in teaching English.

I am currently writing two monographs: the first, Writing the Collar-Line, traces the literary history of the racial imaginary, white-collar labor, and the Black typewriter, a literary figure that was brought into representation to unsettle the processes whereby racist and heterosexist criteria regarding who could perform different classes of labor were reified anew not only through the bureaucratization of white-collar office work, c. 1886–1940, but also via cultural depictions of those processes. The second considers how U.S. writers and composers wrote about Black classical musical activism in response to the instrumentalization of classical music as a monolithic racial signifier of whiteness in 19th/20thC U.S. cultural and political discourse.

My other current research projects examine the radical history of typewriters; investigate how technologies of musical reproduction (scores, radio, phonography) guided modernist literary innovation; and trace the poetics of silent resistance that arose in African American women’s protest poetry in the early 1920s. I am generally interested in the history, theory, and politics of modern literature, technology, and sound.

My previous research attended to studies of prose fiction, critical regionalism, and the politics of U.S. literary geography. My monograph, The Regional Development of the American Bildungsroman, is the first scholarly work to probe the relationship between the aesthetics of regional fragmentation and the genre of the novel of development. As the first book to extensively scope the development of the U.S. Bildungsroman, this book challenges and reorients current understandings of where the Bildungsroman fits into nineteenth and twentieth century American literary history and the New Modernist Studies, by engaging in analyses of novels in regional clusters, including the Northeast, the South, the Midwest, and the West, featuring extensive commentary on the novels of African American and Native American writers, such as Wallace Thurman, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and John Joseph Mathews; as well as other American authors, including Theodore Dreiser, Upton Sinclair, James Farrell, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and Willa Cather. It historicizes how the American Bildungsroman developed during the period associated with modernism (c. 1900–1960), in ways that challenge the perception of American modernist innovation as antiregionalist, and regionalism as an antimodernist enterprise.

I welcome Honours and HDR proposals on any topics adjacent to modern literature, especially those that intersect with the fields of American and African American studies; modernist studies; musico-literary and sound studies; or critical race studies, postcolonialism, and cultural studies of the Black Atlantic and Global South.

Research Interests

  • Literary Studies
  • American Studies
  • Modernism
  • American Literature
  • African American Literature
  • Musico-Literary Studies


  • Masters (Coursework) of Teaching (Secondary), University of New South Wales
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of New South Wales
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Arts, University of New South Wales


View all Publications


  • Master Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

View all Supervision


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • Avery, Tamlyn (2024). Notes to literature: scores as musical reproduction in the literary text. The Edinburgh companion to literature and sound studies. (pp. 81-98) edited by Helen Groth and Julian Murphet. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press.

  • Avery, Tamlyn (2022). Classical Music. The Routledge Companion to Literature of the U.S. South. (pp. 157-161) edited by Katharine A. Burnett, Todd Hagstette and Monica Carol Miller. New York, NY United States: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781003009924-41

  • Avery, Tamlyn (2020). Current of music in Carson McCullers. Understanding the short fiction of Carson McCullers. (pp. 191-211) edited by Alison Bertolini and Casey Kayser. Macon, GA, United States: Mercer University Press.

  • Avery, Tamlyn (2020). Doctorow and the Halbbildungsroman. E. L. Doctorow: a reconsideration. (pp. 33-52) edited by Michael Wutz and Julian Murphet. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors: