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.


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)

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



Selected Articles and Chapters in Books and Journals

‘Reason Dazzled: The All-Seeing and the Unseeing in Turner’s Regulus,’ British Art Studies 15 (2020), 30pp. https://dx.doi.org/10.17658/issn.2058-5462/issue-15/mbeaumont

‘Insomnia and the Late Nineteenth-Century Insomniac: The Case of Albert Kimball,’ Interface Focus (The Royal Society) 10: 3 (2020), 8pp. (double-columned) 

‘Looking through Lidless Eyes: Friedrich, Kleist and the Logic of Sensation,’ Angelaki: A Theoretical Journal of the Humanities 23: 6 (2018), pp. 3-19 

‘R. S. Thomas’s Poetics of Insomnia,’ Essays in Criticism, 68: 1 (2018), pp. 74–107

‘The Politics of the Visor: Looking at Buildings Looking at Us, CITY: Analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 22:1 (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: 4 (December, 2015), pp. 71-88.

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

‘The Mystery of Master Humphrey: Dickens, Nightwalking and The Old Curiosity Shop,’ Review of English Studies (forthcoming, 2013)

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

'Pater as Psychagogue: Psychology, Aesthetics, Rhetoric,' 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 12 (2011), pp. 15

'Aleatory Realism: Reflections on the Parable of the Pier-Glass,' Synthesis 3 (Winter 2011), pp. 11-12  http://www.uoa.gr/synthesis/issue3_Beaumont.htm

'Ford Madox Ford: Autobiography, Urban Space, Agoraphobia', Journal of Literature and Science 2:1 (2010)

‘The Anamorphic Estrangements of Science Fiction,’ in Red Planets, ed. Mark Bould and China Miéville (London: Pluto Press / Wesleyan University Press, 2009), pp. 29-46.

‘Cutting Up the Corpse: Agatha Christie, Max Ernst, and Neo-Victorianism in the 1930s’, Literature Interpretation Theory 20 (2009), pp. 12-26.

‘The Railway and Literature: Realism and Phantasmagoria,’ in The Railway:
Art in the Age of Steam, exhibition catalogue, ed. Ian Kennedy and Julian Treuherz (Yale: Yale University Press, 2008), pp. 35-43.

‘Shopping in Utopia: Looking Backward, the Department Store, and the Dreamscape of Consumption’, Nineteenth-Century Contexts 28 (2006), pp.

‘Influential Force: Shafts and the Diffusion of Knowledge at the Fin de Siècle’, 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 3
(2006) www.19.bbk.ac.uk

‘Cacotopianism, the Paris Commune and England’s Anti-Communist Imaginary, 1870-1900’, English Literary History 73 (2006), pp. 465-87.

‘Red Sphinx: Mechanics of the Uncanny in The Time Machine’, Science-Fiction Studies 33 (2006), pp. 230-50.

'News from Nowhere and the Here and Now:  Reification and the Representation of the Present in Utopian Fiction', Victorian Studies 47 (2004), pp. 33-54

‘Heathcliff’s Great Hunger: The Cannibal Other in Wuthering Heights’, Journal of Victorian Culture 9 (2004), pp. 137-63.

‘Reinterpreting Oscar Wilde’s Concept of Utopia: “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”’, Utopian Studies 15 (2004), pp. 13-29.

‘William Reeves and Radical Publishing in the 1890s: Unpacking the Bellamy Library,’ History Workshop Journal 55 (2003), pp. 91-110.