Dr Matthew Geary BA, PhD

Photograph of Dr Matthew Geary

Department of English Literature
Teaching Fellow in Twentieth-Century Literature

Contact details

Arts Building, Room 113
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I teach across periods and genres of literature with specialism in Twentieth-Century literature (esp. Modernism, T. S. Eliot). My research interests focus on modernist literature and culture, psychoanalysis (across all schools), feminist philosophy, maternal studies, masculinities, and critical theory.


  • PhD In English Literature and Psychoanalysis, University of Birmingham, 2016
  • BA in English Literature and Language, University of Birmingham, 2010


I grew up in Birmingham and completed both my BA and PhD at the University of Birmingham. My doctoral studies on T. S. Eliot were supported by AHRC and College Scholarships. I now teach and lecture at Birmingham. I also tutor on the Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme. Previously, I acted as Visiting Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton.


  • Prose
  • Plays and Performance
  • English Literature 1790 to the Present WHM (convener)

I am currently supervising third-year BA dissertations on a range of writers and topics: for instance, Albert Camus and existentialism; T. S. Eliot and mental health; Angel Carter, feminism and ideology; Mario Puzo and masculinities; Sarah Kane and reception; anti-psychiatry in the works of Ken Kesey and Sylvia Plath. I also co-supervise an MA dissertation on T. S. Eliot and Shakespeare.


My research has a maternal bias and focuses on the role of the mother as central to the development of not only the child but also art, text, and culture. Noting that for the last thirty-five years the critical search for the mother has been almost entirely 'daughter-centric', I am especially concerned with the mother-son relationship as a continuing 'taboo topic'. My work reconsiders literary representations of mother-son relationships, mother-son ambivalence, the maternal and the maternal body, mothering and motherhood, and the elaboration of a maternal poetics in the works of male modernist and postmodernist writers in light of recent advancements in maternal theory, gender theory, psychoanalytic theory and feminist theory. Further, it proposes a new theory of allegory brought closer to the maternal body than previously stated. I am interested in new perceptions of modernist masculinities, particularly in the works of T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, and W. H. Auden.

Currently, I am completing a monograph Eliot and the Mother and have several articles on T. S. Eliot in preparation. I am researching ideas of transcendence and immanence in relation to the body in the work of T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, Robert Lowell, and John Ashbery. I am also working on a collaborative book Eliot Agonistes with Milton with Dr Islam Issa of Birmingham City University (AHRC New Generation Thinker for 2017).

As a result of my archival research and findings on T. S. Eliot, I received acknowledgement in the critically acclaimed The Poems of T. S. Eliot, Volumes 1 and 2 edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue (Faber 2015).

Other activities


  • BAMS (British Association of Modernist Studies)
  • MAMSIE (Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics)
  • T. S. Eliot Society (UK)
  • Centre for Modernist Cultures (University of Birmingham)

Groups and seminars

  • Founder and Chair of PSYLIT based at the University of Birmingham
  • Co-organiser of ‘Psychoanalysis, Culture and Practice’ based at King’s College, London. Organised in association with the University of Warwick and King’s College, London.

Conferences organised

  • Other Eliots: Contemporary Trends in T. S. Eliot Studies, held at the University of Birmingham, April 2014.

Collaboration and Enterprise 

  • I am currently working with The New Art Gallery, Walsall, on a piece about Jacob Epstein and T. S. Eliot, which will complement the The Garman Ryan Epstein Collection. The piece is to be published in collaborative online journal Midlands Arts Papers (MAP). 

I am also on the editorial board for The Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society and reader for international journal Studies in the Maternal.



  • Eliot and the Mother (in preparation for Routledge)
  • Eliot's Agonistes with Milton (with Dr Islam Issa - in preparation for Palgrave Pivot)

Book chapters

  • ‘Maternal Allegory: Death and the Mother, Faith and Revelation in “Ash-Wednesday”’, in Religion and Myth in T. S. Eliot's Poetry. Eds. Scott Freer and Michael Bell (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2016).

Journal articles

  • ‘“Oh how often you toy with me, crafting illusions!”: Mother-Son Love in T. S. Eliot’s “La Figlia Che Piange”’ Studies in the Maternal 7.1 (2015): 1-22. (peer reviewed journal)
  • ‘T. S. Eliot’s “If time and space as sages say” in Charlotte Eliot’s Hand’ Notes and Queries 64.1 (March 2017). (peer reviewed journal)
  • ‘Eliot’s Coriolanus: “Mandarins” to “The Blameless Sister of Publicola”’  The Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society (June 2017). (peer reviewed journal)
  • ‘Eliot’s Agonistes with Milton I: Religion’ (in preparation for Milton Quarterly with Dr Islam Issa) (peer reviewed journal)
  • ‘Eliot’s Agonistes with Milton II: Sweeney and Samson’ (in preparation for Milton Quarterly with Dr Islam Issa) (peer reviewed journal)
  • ‘Theodora Sterling Eliot: The Waste Land’s “infant hydrocephalus”’ (in preparation for Notes and Queries) (peer reviewed journal)

Book reviews

  • Book Review: The Letters of T. S. Eliot, Volume 6: 1932-33’ The Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society (May 2018).
  • Book Review: Freudian Passions: Psychoanalysis, Form and Literature by Jan Campbell’ Studies in the Maternal, 5.2 (2013): 1-7.