David Ayers publishes mainly in the fields of modernism and critical theory. His first book, Wyndham Lewis and Western Man (1992) dealt with anti-semitism in the work of Wyndham Lewis, while his second, English Literature of the 1920s (1999) was an attempt to challenge the historiographical dominance of the paradigm of a hybrid anglo-american high modernism by tracking period themes across a range of highbrow and popular texts in Britain. Modernism: A Short Introduction (2004) introduces readers to basic elements of the process of reading classic modernist texts, and Literary Theory: A Reintroduction (2008) offers an outline of the recent history of critical theory with reference to its institutional and regional context.
His most recent monograph, Modernism, Internationalism and the Russian Revolution (2018) attempts to rectify the comparative neglect in modernist studies of the impact of the Russian Revolution and the formation of the League of Nations. This research, which was funded by a Leverhulme Fellowship, links accounts of high modernist authors to writings by journalists, politicians and soldiers in a reconstruction of the discursive frame of reference of the period. Such well-known cultural figures as Eliot, Wells and Leonard Woolf are examined alongside journalists such as Brailsford and Farbman, other modernist writers such as Gerhardie and Cournos, politicians such as Masaryk and Trotsky, and the sculptor, journalist and novelist, Clare Sheridan, the cousin of Winston Churchill who scandalously visited the Kremlin to make busts of the Bolshevik leaders.