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 is interdisciplinary and focuses on modernist literature and culture, psychoanalysis (across schools), feminist philosophy, maternal studies, masculinities, and critical theory. I welcome conversations and collaborations in these areas.


  • 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.


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

I also currently supervise third-year BA and MA dissertations.


My research has a maternal bias and focuses on the role of the mother as not only central to the development of the child but also to the production of art, text and culture. This work is at the interface of several fields of study including English and American literature, psychoanalysis, philosophy, theology, maternal studies, feminism, gender and sexuality studies, and psychosocial studies. Noting that for the last thirty-five years the critical search for the mother has been almost entirely 'daughter-centric', in that she is positioned almost entirely in terms of her relations with, and as perceived, by the daughter, I am interested in the ‘mother-son relationship’ as a continuing taboo topic. I am especially interested in more complex and nuanced perceptions of modernist and postmodernist masculinities considering new materials, new scholarship and theoretical advancements.

My first monograph T. S. Eliot and the Mother is forthcoming with Routledge (2019) for the Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature Series. I 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, and Robert Lowell. 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).

Because 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)
  • T. S. Eliot Society (US)
  • Centre for Modernist Cultures (University of Birmingham)
  • Centre for Contemporary Literature and Culture (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.

Public lectures

  • ‘An Investigation into T. S. Eliot and Motherhood’ – T. S. Eliot Festival 2016 at Little Gidding, Cambridgeshire, 9 July 2016.
  • ‘Maternal Modernism (1890-1940): Art, Literature and Culture’ at Barber Institute, University of Birmingham, 5 December 2018.

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 will be published in collaborative online journal Midlands Arts Papers (MAPS). 

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.



  • T. S. Eliot and the Mother (forthcoming Routledge 2019)
  • T. S. 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).
  • ‘“Bossy sculptures graven”: Jacob Epstein’s Lucifer and Birmingham', in Milton and the Visual Arts, ed. Angelica Duran and Mario Murgia (with Dr Islam Issa - in preparation for Oxford University Press) (August 2019)

Journal articles

  • ‘The “Agèd Eagle”: Jacob Epstein, T. S. Eliot (1952)’ Midlands Arts Papers 2 (October 2018)
  • ‘T. S. Eliot’s Coriolanus’ The Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society (May 2017) 
  • ‘T. S. Eliot’s “If time and space as sages say” in Charlotte Eliot’s Hand’ Notes and Queries 64.1 (Feb 2017): 151-154. 
  • ‘“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. 
  • The Waste Land’s “Infant Hydrocephalous”’ (in preparation for Notes and Queries

Book reviews

  • 'Book Review: The Letters of T. S. Eliot, Volume 7: 1934-35' The Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society (May 2019)
  • ‘Book Review: The Letters of T. S. Eliot, Volume 6: 1932-33The Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society (May 2018)
  • Book Review: Freudian Passions: Psychoanalysis, Form and Literature by Jan CampbellStudies in the Maternal 5.2 (2013): 1-7.