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Professor Stephen Matterson B.A. (Sunderland Poly), D.Phil. (Sunderland Poly), F.T.C.DProfessor

Research and Teaching Interests

My teaching and research is primarily in American Literature, both as a generalist and with a variety of specialised interests within the field, notable middle-generation poetry and 19th century writing.  I'm also interested in poetry and poetics.

At undergraduate level, I teach a second-year option in 20th Century American Literature, and am involved also in our first-year courses American Genres and Introduction to Poetry. Sophister options I've taught include: American Autobiography; Poetry of the United States; Reading Race, Hawthorne and Melville and Literature of the American South. Most of my postgraduate teaching is for our M. Phil in Literature of the Americas, for which I teach an option on William Faulkner, with special reference to the theorist Édouard Glissant. Until recently I also taught an option on The Western (shared with the M Phil in Popular Literature).

My supervision for M Litt and PhD encompasses a wide range of topics, usually with a focus on American poetry and fiction. Completed research theses have been on William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, Randall Jarrell, Ezra Pound, John Berryman, Walker Percy, Philip Roth, Flannery O'Connor, Herman Melville, Shirley Jackson, Wallace Stevens, Don DeLillo, John Updike, Sylvia Plath, Ken Kesey, and a study of autobiographies by transgendered individuals.  I'm currently supervising research on: Joyce Carol Oates; W. S. Merwin; Paul Auster, and Richard Yates.  I've also acted as mentor for IRC-funded postdoctoral work on the American suburban gothic, on American Irish ethnicity in the 19th century and on the US women's ghost story.

I welcome research proposals in American literature, especially on poetry. and am happy to comment on suggestions for research.

Bloomsbury recently published my monograph on Herman Melville, which focuses on clothing, identity and modernity. I also published 'American Modernism from the 30s to the 50s,' in The Cambridge History of Modernist Poetry eds. Lee Jenkins and Alex Davis (Cambridge University Press), and 'John Berryman's Dream Songs' in New Casebook on American Poetry since 1945 (Palgrave Macmillan) ed. Eleanor Spencer-Regan.

I'm currently researching for two possible monographs, one on the representation of the crowd in US literature, and the other on Henry James, decision-making and game theory.  I'm also completing an article on trauma and recovery in the poetry of Anthony Hecht, and writing a book chapter on Tennessee Williams for the Handbook of Southern Gothic edited by Susan Castillo Street and Charles Crow.

Recent publications include three co-edited collections of essays, Forever Young: The Changing Images of the United States, with Philip Coleman; Aberration in Modern and Contemporary Poetry, with Lucy Collins, and Rebound: The American Poetry Book, with Michael Hinds.  I've also published book chapters on Henry James and the supernatural, and on the representation of the 1950s in the Back to the Future trilogy.

My book publications include: a revised second edition of Studying Poetry (with Darryl Jones); an annotated edition of The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman, and American Literature: The Essential Glossary, both with Edward Arnold and Oxford University Press)Other published book chapters include: 'Dreaming about the Dead: The Master' in Colm Tóibín: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Paul Delaney (Liffey Press, 2008); 'Edgar Allan Poe and the Orang-Utan' in On Literature and Science, ed. Philip Coleman (Four Courts Press, 2007); ''He Lived Like A Rat:' The Trickster In The Dream Songs'' in After Thirty Falls: Essays on John Berryman, eds Philip McGowan and Philip Coleman (Rodopi, 2007); 'New Configurations: The Framing of Pocahontas' in The Irish Reader: Essays for John Devitt, eds Michael Hinds, Peter Denman and Margaret Kelleher (Otior Press, 2006); 'Washington Irving's American Scene: A Tour on the Prairies' in Exploring the American Literary West, eds David Rio, Amaia Ibarraran, Jose Miguel Santamaria and M. Felisa Lopez (University of the Basque Country Press); 'An American Who Wasn't an American: W. H. Auden,' in America in the Course of Human Events, eds Josef Jarab, Marcel Arbeit, and Jenel Virden (VU University Press 2006) and 'The New Criticism' in Literary Theory and Criticism: An Oxford Guide, ed. Patricia Waugh (Oxford University Press, 2006).

Professional activities include acting as external course examiner for numerous universities in Ireland and the UK at undergraduate and postgraduate level, being an external reader for various publishers and journals, and serving as one of representatives of Irish Universities on the English Course Committee Senior Cycle for the National Council for Curriculum Development. I am also very involved with the Irish Association for American Studies and was the co-founder of the Association's Journal. I am the former Treasurer of the European Association of American Studies and was part of the team organizing the major EAAS conference held in Dublin in March 2010.


Professor Stephen Matterson
Room 4008
Arts Building
Trinity College
Dublin 2

Telephone: + 353 1 896 1879

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