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Matthew Rumbold

I am a PhD student in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies. My research is in the area of Modernism, Imperialism and Religion, with a particular focus on modern epic, empire and the poetics of place and history in work of Hart Crane (1899–1932), the Anglo-Welsh poet, painter and artist David Jones (1895 - 1974), and West Indian poet Derek Walcott (1930-2017).

David Jones The Artist

David Jones, 'The Artist', 1927.

The BridgeHart Crane

Hart Crane and The Brooklyn Bridge

Derek Walcott Omeros

Derek Walcott, Omeros 1990

I am interested in the intersections between modernity, modernism and imperialism with a view to elucidating the quest for the sacred in modern epic works. As such, I read as much as I can in the areas of modern aesthetics, Caribbean studies, poetics and religion. I also open to the ideas of the modern world system and World Literature as a fascinating framework for the study and comparison of the central texts in my doctoral research.

My research project is supervised by Dr. Emma Mason and is funded through a Chancellor's International Scholarship from the University of Warwick.

Academic Background

Originally from Zimbabwe, I studied for a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in South Africa, where I graduated in 2004 with Honours in English and History. I returned to complete a Masters of Arts with a thesis entitled, "Freelance Mystic": Individuation, Mythopoeia and Metafiction in the Early Novels of Russell Hoban.

 KlienzeitMedusa FrequencyRiddley Wlaker 

In 2011/2012 I studied for the taught Masters programme at the University of Warwick. I took the following modules: Aesthetics and Modernity I & II, Freud's Metapsychology; Modernism and Psychoanalaysis; Romantic Elegy.

Research Interests

Modernism; Imperialism; world literary studies; poetry and poetics, including Hart Crane, David Jones, T. S. Eliot, W. S. Graham and Derek Walcott; myth and mythopoetic revisions; literature of the Great War; critical theory and aesthetics; contemporary theology; Heidegger, poetry and language; and questions of modernity.

I contribute to the international open-source and collaborative project figureground which conducts scholarly interviews with academics and artists.


I am a qualified English and History tecaher (PGCE) from Rhodes University in South Africa. I have several years experience teaching at secondary school, and as a Teaching Assistant and Tutor at Rhodes University.

I teach on the Modern World Literatures module.

Publications and Writing

Book Reviews

Review of McInerney, Stephen, The Enclosure of an Open Mystery: Scarament and Incarnation in the Writings of Gerald Manley Hopkins, David Jones, and Les Murray. Oxford; New York: Peter Lang, 2012. In The Hopkins Quarterly. Vol XL, Nos. 1-2 (Winter-Spring, 2013): 56-62. Print.


"Elegy at Sea: Elegy in the Early Poetry of W. S. Graham." Observing Grief. University of Lancaster, 2-3 May, 2017.

"Epic and Epochal Transatlantic Imperialism and Late Modernist Aesthetics in David Jones and Derek Walcott." 10th Biennial Symbiosis Conference: Transatlantic Literray and Cultural Relations, University of Essex, July 2015.

"'Priest and Artist in the Catacomb': David Jones's sacramental poetics and the revivification of ritual in search of community." David Jones, Christian Modernist? Oxford University, Oxford. 10-13 September 2014.

"Epic and Epochal Transitions: Imperialism and Late Modernist Aesthetics in David Jones and Derek Walcott." Transitions: Question of Form, 1945 - Present. University of Bristol. 5 September 2014.

"'What's under works up.": David Jones’s Mythopoeic Metropolis and London’s Collective Myth. "Ages of London" International Literary London Conference. Institute of English Studies, Senate House, London, 23–25 July 2014.

"'Priest and Artist in the Catacomb': place, religion and late modernist aesthetics in the work of David Jones." Modernism Now! International Conference. The British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS). Institute of English Studies, Senate House, London. 26–28 June 2014.

"Apocalypse Celebrated: Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker." at the Conference of the Association of University English Teachers of South Africa (AUETSA) Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 13-15 July 2011.

Journalism and Interviews

Interview with Professor Richard Capobianco, Professor of Philosophy, Stonehill College.

Interview with Professor C. Stephen Evans, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Baylor University.

'Signs of the Times: The Spectacle of Mourning Mandela' on the Mail & Guardian Reader's Blog, January 2014.


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Matthew Rumbold

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Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies
University of Warwick

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