UCL English


Dr Matthew Sperling

Matthew Sperling

Lecturer in Literature in English from 1900 to the Present Day

Email: m.sperling@ucl.ac.uk

External phone: 020 7679 3148

Internal phone: 33148

Office: Foster Court 232

Astroturf book publicity

Education and Experience 

Matthew Sperling joined UCL in 2016 as Lecturer in Literature in English from 1900 to the Present Day. Before that, he was Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the University of Reading (2012–2015) and Fellow by Special Election in English Literature at Keble College, Oxford (2009–2012). He studied at Gravesend Grammar School, earned a BA, MSt and DPhil from the University of Oxford, and was a visiting student at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa in 2008.

Matthew is Programme Convenor for MA English: Issues in Modern Culture.

Research Interests

Matthew's first novel, Astroturf, will be published by riverrun in August 2018. His fictions and poems have also been published in 3:AM, Best British Short Stories 2015, The Junket, The Literateur, the New Statesman, and elsewhere.

Matthew’s scholarly research focuses on modern and contemporary literature and the history of publishing and the book. His monograph, Visionary Philology: Geoffrey Hill and the Study of Words, was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. He has contributed chapters, articles and reviews to many publications, and he regularly writes about modern art for Apollo: The International Art Magazine.

Selected Publications

Astroturf (London: riverrun, 2018)

Astroturf book cover

‘I loved Matthew Sperling's sly, subversive novel, a wickedly funny tale of how to come out on top in a fake news world’—Olivia Laing

‘Outrageous, sexy and funny. Sperling writes with the caustic economy of Waugh or Spark, but his characters have more heart, including the sockpuppets’—Luke Kennard

‘A tale about steroids which seems to be on steroids itself: sleek, muscular and just slightly too real’—Kate Clanchy

‘A brilliant anatomy of a certain proliferating type of contemporary masculinity: Instagram-approved, swole with self-regard, yoked with desperation, and, like this novel itself, equipped with an alarmingly strong grip’—Adam Foulds

Cloak’ in The Junket, issue 14 (June 2015)

Greatest Living Poet’ in 3:AM (March 2015)

Tradeskin’ in The Junket, issue 13 (January 2015)

‘Removals’ in The Short Anthology: Fiction from Photography, issue 1 (2014), 23–32

Voice Over’ in The Literateur (April 2014); anthologized in Nicholas Royle (ed.), Best British Short Stories 2015 (Cromer: Salt Publishing, 2015), 113–127


‘Cape Goliard’, in Lise Jaillant (ed.), Modernism and Book History (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming)

‘Hymnody: From Lowell to Riley in Common Measure’, in E.J.F. Allen, Forms of Late Modernist Lyric (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, forthcoming)

‘Lexicography and Modern Poetry’ in Andrew Blades and Piers Pennington (eds), Poetry and the Dictionary (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, forthcoming)

‘Geoffrey Hill and Publishing: “The Recalcitrance of the World”’, in Andrew Michael Roberts (ed.), Strangeness and Power: Essays on the Poetry of Geoffrey Hill (Bristol: Shearsman, forthcoming)

‘Not Feeling at Home: Poetry and the Hidden Injuries of Class’, in Tom Phillips (ed.), The Other Lives of Peter Robinson: Essays on his Writing (Bristol: Shearsman, forthcoming)

The Tribune's Visitation and Fulcrum Press: The Publishing Contexts of Late-Modernist Poetry’, in Jamie Callison, Paul S. Fiddes, Anna Johnson and Erik Tonning (eds), David Jones: A Christian Modernist? New Approaches to His Art, Poetry and Cultural Theory (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 249–262

Sections on 'British Poetry Post-1950' in The Year's Work in English Studies, volumes 93, 94, 95 and 96 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014–17)

Visionary Philology: Geoffrey Hill and the Study of Words (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)

‘The Publishing of Poetry: An Interview between Don Paterson and Matthew Sperling’, in Natalie Pollard (ed.), Don Paterson: Contemporary Critical Essays (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014), 145–152

‘Books and the Market: Trade Publishers, State Subsidies and Small Presses', in Peter Robinson (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 191–212

Geoffrey Hill and his Contexts, co-edited with Piers Pennington (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011)

‘The Trouble of an Index’, Essays in Criticism, LXI:4 (2011), 325–337

‘“The Glacial Question, Unsolved”: A Specimen Commentary on Lines 1–31’ (co-authored with Thomas Roebuck), Glossator: Practice and Theory of the Commentary, 2 (2010), 39–78

‘Water’, in Peter Robinson (ed.), An Unofficial Roy Fisher (Exeter: Shearsman, 2010), 161–168

‘“The Making of the Book”: Roy Fisher, the Circle Press and the Poetics of Book Art’, Literature Compass, 4:5 (2007), 1444–1459