Professor Timothy Mathews


Professor of French and Comparative Criticism
Academy of Europe
Officier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques

Office Hours Term 2: Wednesdays 11am - 1pm or by appointment

Office: rm 207, 1-4 Malet Place

Tel: 020 7679 3080
Internal extension: 33080

Research areas:
My teaching and research are nourished by the following concerns: the relation of imagination to responsibility; the relation of identity to representation, and to performance; constructions of knowledge, especially with regard to psychoanalysis and to trauma; translation; representations of forgetting, and of touch; the importance of revolt in art; the relation of ideas of revolt to ideas of tragedy. Writers, artists, thinkers and groups I currently engage with (not all of them French) include: Apollinaire, Bacon, Barthes, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Blanchot, Cubism, Deleuze, Ernst, Felman, Freud, Giacometti, Houellebecq, Kitaj, Kundera, Macé, Nancy, Nooteboom, Pamuk, Surrealism. I have ongoing interests in poetry and in the relation of literary to visual art.

Currently working on two monographs:
Where is Alberto Giacometti?

Guillaume Apollinaire – a critical life


• Literature, Art and the Pursuit of Decay in Twentieth-Century France , Cambridge University, 2006, paperback

• Reading Apollinaire. Theories of Poetic Language , Manchester University Press, 1990, paperback


Some recent and forthcoming chapters in books:

Les Fenêtres in Translations, edited by Manuela Perteghella and Eugenia Loffredo, with an introductory essay by Timothy Mathews, Peter Lang, 2008.

• ' Bois dormant: traduction, critique, voix', in Gérard Macé, la “pensée littéraire”, edited by Dominique Viart, Écritures contemporaines 9, Presses Universitaires de Lille, 2008.

• 'Walking with Angels in Giacometti and Beckett', in Contact!, special issue of Ésprit Créateur, edited by Martin Crowley, Fall 2007.

• 'Alberto Giacometti, La Main, Le Nez: Touch, Translation, Witness', in French Studies, October 2007.

• 'Reading W.G. Sebald with Alberto Giacometti', in Stories and Portraits of the Self, edited by Helena Buescu et al, Rodopi, Autumn 2007.

• 'Space, place, and virtuality: Gilles Deleuze with Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti', in Porous Boundaries, edited by Jérôme Game, Peter Lang, 2007.

• 'O significado da arte política', commissioned review article of Orhan Pamuk, Snow for Jornal do Brasil, 16 December 2006.

• 'Max Ernst, collage, bricolage: lectures d’images', in Regards/Mises en scène dans le surréalisme et les avant-gardes, edited by Claude Bommertz and Jacqueline Chénieux Gendron, Peeters, 2002.


• Luce Irigaray, Prières quotidiennes/Everyday Prayers, with an introduction by Luce Irigaray, translated by Luce Irigaray and Timothy Mathews, Maisonneuve & Larose/University of Nottingham Press, 2004.

• Gérard Macé, Bois dormant/Wood Asleep, translated by David Kelley and Timothy Mathews, Bloodaxe Books, 2003.

I am working on a translation of Gerard Macé, Illusions sur mesure, Paris, Gallimard 2004; and with Delphine Grass on a translation of Michel Houellebecq, Le sens du combat, Paris, Flammarion, 1996.


Yves Bonnefoy, Du Mouvement et de l’immobilité de Douve, translated by Galway Kinnell, edited with an introduction by Timothy Mathews, Bloodaxe Books (Bloodaxe Contemporary French Poets), 1992.

Edited volume:

Violence, Théorie, Surréalisme, edited by Jacqueline Chénieux Gendron and Timothy Mathews, Paris, Lachenal et Ritter, 1994.

Edited volume in preparation:

Translation, Trauma, Tradition, edited with an introduction by Timothy Mathews and Jan Parker, Classical Presences, OUP.

Some PhD topics I am currently supervising or have recently supervised, either as primary or as joint supervisor:

Co-creativity, spatial hermeneutics and mythic geography in the works of Maltwood and Wenger : Translating Surrealist texts
Notions of Authorship in the later Barthes and Pasolini
Toward a Poetics of the Grotesque: The Case of Donne, Baudelaire and Magritte
The reception of Surrealism in America

Hans Bellmer and the Experience of Violence
Voice and Rhythm in the drama of Jean Genet
The Novels of Michel Houellebecq
Authorship and Authenticity in 20 th-century fiction and theory
Notions of Authorship in t he Novels in French Milan Kundera  
A Rapprochement of Jean Genet and Ennamuel Levinas
Paris, myth and demystification: poetic and political hermaneutics in Post-Revolutionary France
The Surrealist intervention in Greece: the case of Andreas Embiricos