UCL English


Prof Matthew Beaumont

Email: m.beaumont@ucl.ac.uk
External phone: 020 7679 2567
Internal phone: 32567
Office: Foster Court 129B


Matthew Beaumont

Education and Experience 

Matthew Beaumont studied English at LMH, Oxford, before doing an MSt and DPhil at Linacre College, Oxford. He was a Research Fellow at Keble College, Oxford, and a Teaching Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford, before becoming moving to UCL as a Lecturer in 2005. He became a Senior Lecturer in 2008 and a Professor of English Literature in 2016. He is also a Co-Director of UCL's Urban Lab, where he is responsible for the Cities Imaginaries strand.

His teaching interests include nineteenth-century literature; the fin de siècle; early modernism; C20 avant-gardes; film; crime fiction; utopian and dystopian literature; and Marxist and other literary and cultural theories.

Research Interests

Matthew's research interests centre on various aspects of the metropolitan city, especially London. He is currently writing a history of literature about London for Cambridge University Press. He is also working on a book-length project about the role of insomnia in nineteenth and twentieth-century literature, painting and philosophy. 

His most recent books are The Walker: On Losing and Finding Oneself in the Modern City (Verso, 2020), a series of chapters on writers including Chesterton, Dickens, Ford, Wells and Woolf, all of whom have placed the experience of walking in the metropolis at the centre of their attempts to understand and represent modernity; and Lev Shestov: Philosopher of the Sleepless Night (Bloomsbury, 2020), a book that revives the reputation of a neglected early twentieth-century Russian thinker by placing him in dialogue with Adorno, Benjamin, Deleuze and other continental philosophers.


Matthew Beaumont, How We Walk: Frantz Fanon and the Politics of the Body (London: Verso, 2024), xii + 212pp.
The Walker: On Losing and Finding Oneself in the Modern City (Verso, 2020)
Lev Shestov: Philosopher of the Sleepless Night (Bloomsbury, 2020)
Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London, Chaucer to Dickens (Verso, 2015)
The Spectre of Utopia: Utopian and Science Fictions at the Fin de Siècle (Peter Lang, 2012)
Utopia Ltd.: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England, 1870-1900, 2nd edition (Haymarket, 2009)
with Terry Eagleton, The Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue (Verso, 2009)

Book Cover for How We Walk

The Walker Book Cover

Lev Shestov Book Cover
Spectre of Utopia Book Cover

co-ed. with Matthew Ingleby, G.K. Chesterton, London and Modernity (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013)
co-ed. with Gregory Dart, Restless Cities (Verso, 2010)
ed., A Concise Companion to Realism, second edition (Blackwell,
co-ed. with Andrew Hemingway, Esther Leslie and John Roberts, As Radical as Reality Itself: Essays on Marxism and Art for the 21st Century (Peter Lang, 2007)
co-ed., with Michael Freeman, The Railway and Modernity: Time, Space, and the Machine Ensemble (Peter Lang, 2007)


GK Chesterton

Restless Cities Book Cover





ed. with Introduction, H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man (Oxford World’s Classics, 2017)
ed. with Introduction, G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday (Penguin Classics, 2011)
ed. with Introduction, Walter Pater, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (Oxford World’s Classics, 2010)
ed. with Introduction, Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (Oxford World’s Classics, 2007)

H.G. Wells The Invisible Man Book Cover

G.K. Chesterton The Man Who Was Thursday Book Cover

Studies in the history of the renaissance book cover
Looking Backward 2000-1887 book cover

Recent Articles and Chapters

‘Utopian Fiction: News from Nowhere,’ in The Cambridge Companion to William Morris, ed. Marcus Waithe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2024), pp. 135-46

‘Polyform Film: Peter Watkins and the Paris Commune,’ Quarterly Review of Film and Video (2022), pp. 1-26 https://doi.org/10.1080/10509208.2022.2085501

‘Standing Upright, Unsleeping: Sleeplessness, Wakefulness and Watchfulness in Prometheus Bound,’ Textual Practice 36 (2022), pp. 116-42 

‘The Late Nineteenth Century (1848-1899),’ in The Palgrave Handbook of Utopian and Dystopian Literatures, ed. Peter Marks, Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor and Fátima Vieira (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), pp. 125-134

‘A Psychonanalysis of Milk: The Case of Alfred Hitchcock,’ Critical Quarterly 63 (2021), pp. 50-79

‘Reason Dazzled: The All-Seeing and the Unseeing in Turner’s Regulus,’ British Art Studies 15 (2020), 30pp. 

‘Insomnia and the Late Nineteenth-Century Insomniac: The Case of Albert Kimball,’ Interface Focus (The Royal Society) 10 (2020), 8pp. (double-columned) 

‘Looking through Lidless Eyes: Friedrich, Kleist and the Logic of Sensation,’ Angelaki: A Theoretical Journal of the Humanities 23 (2018), pp. 3-19 

‘R. S. Thomas’s Poetics of Insomnia,’ Essays in Criticism 68 (2018), pp. 74–107

‘The Politics of the Visor: Looking at Buildings Looking at Us, CITY: Analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 22 (2018), pp. 1-15

‘Modernism and the Urban Imaginary: Spectacle and Introspection,’ in The Cambridge History of Modernism, ed. Vincent Sherry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 220-34

‘Stumbling in the Dark: Ray Bradbury’s Pedestrian and the Politics of the Night,’ Critical Quarterly 57 (2015), pp. 71-88

‘Urban Convalescence in Lamb, Poe and Baudelaire,’ in Transatlantic Romanticism: British and American Art and Literature, 1790-1860, ed. Andrew Hemingway and Allan Wallach (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2015), pp. 67-80

‘The Bourne Identity: On Utopian Psychopathology,’ in The Good Place: Comparative Perspectives on Utopia, ed. Florian Mussgnug and Matthew Reza (Bern: Peter Lang, 2014), pp. 53-68

‘The Spectre of Utopia: On Marxism and the Future,’ in Marxism and the Future, ed. Wang Jie (Shanghai: CCTP, 2014), pp. 124-35

‘Imagining the End Times: Ideology, the Contemporary Disaster Movie, Contagion,’ in Zizek and Media Studies: A Reader, ed. Matthew Flisfeder and Louis-Paul Willis (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 79-89

‘In the Beginning was the Big Toe: Bataille, Base Materialism, Bipedalism,’ Textual Practice 29 (2014), pp. 869-83

‘A Communion of Just Men Made Perfect: Pater, Romantic Anti-Capitalism and the Paris Commune,’ in Renew Marxist Art History, ed. Warren Carter, Barnaby Haran and Frederic J. Schwarz (London: Art Books, 2013), pp. 94-106

‘The Knight Errant in the Street: Chesterton, Childe Roland and the City,’ in G.K. Chesterton, London and Modernity, ed. Matthew Beaumont and Matthew Ingleby (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 93-112

‘The Mystery of Master Humphrey: Dickens, Nightwalking and The Old Curiosity Shop,’ Review of English Studies 65 (2013), pp. 118-36

'Beginnings, Endings, Births, Deaths: Sterne, Dickens and Bleak House', Textual Practice 26 (2012), pp. 1-21

‘Looking Backward,’ in Utopian Moments: Reading Utopian Texts, ed. J.C. Davis and Miguel A. Ramiro Aviles (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012), pp. 120-26