Matthew Campbell



Matthew Campbell has been Professor of Modern Literature at York since 2011. Current projects include a History of Irish Poetry from Charlotte Brooke to Seamus Heaney, and research developed out of published and forthcoming essays on rhyme in contemporary poetry, traditional music and verse, and the poetry of Mangan, Joyce and Yeats. He has also written recently about what Tim Robinson calls ‘geophany’, as well as letter-writing and metaphor. His first book, Rhythm and Will in Victorian Poetry (CUP 1999) was about action and intent as heard in the rhythms of Victorian and early twentieth-century poetry, and he continues to work on English Victorian poetry, particularly with relation to the synthetic forms of a ‘British’ literature written within the four nations of the Atlantic Archipelago. Irish Poetry under the Union was published by CUP in 2013 and an edited book, Irish Literature in Transition, 1830-1880 is currently under contract. Matthew is a regular reviewer of contemporary poetry, and has also published on Romantic poetry, Celticism, elegy, and war writing. Authors to which his criticism returns include Wordsworth, Moore, Tennyson, Browning, Mangan, Hopkins, Yeats, Joyce, Heaney and Muldoon. He studied at Trinity College Dublin and Cambridge University and taught at the University of Sheffield before coming to York.



Matthew Campbell’s Irish Poetry Under the Union, 1801-1924 was published in 2013 and is a book about Irish poetry written during the period between the Act of Union and Irish independence. It offers readings of the ‘synthetic forms’ of poetry by Thomas Moore, Samuel Ferguson, Thomas Davis, Francis Sylvester Mahony, James Clarence Mangan and Yeats, while also featuring the work of English poets writing about and in Ireland, including Tennyson, Arnold and, most notably, Gerard Manley Hopkins. In 2006 he contributed the chapter on poetry from 1830-1890 in the Cambridge History of Irish Literature, and a chapter on ‘Davis, Mangan, Ferguson’ is in the first volume of the Blackwell Companion to Irish Literature.

An interest in Irish music is reflected in an essay on Moore in the co-edited volume The Voice of the People: the European Folk Revival, 1765-1914, a book with an international cast of contributors. As part of his ongoing work on a ‘four-nations’ British poetry inflected with Celticism, Matthew gave the 2008 Warton Lecture on English Poetry to the British Academy, on ‘Wordsworth and the Druids’. ‘Recovering Ancient Ireland’ has appeared in the Oxford Handbook of Irish Poetry.

Rhythm and Will in Victorian Poetry, a study of prosody and agency in Tennyson, Browning, Hopkins and Hardy, was published in 1999, and Matthew was the editor of the Tennyson Research Bulletin from 1999 to 2004. A chapter on the Victorian sonnet was published in 2011 in The Cambridge Companion to the Sonnet, and the chapter on ‘Rhyme’ is in the recently-published Oxford Handbook to Victorian Poetry.

Matthew also writes on modern and contemporary poetry, and an edited collection, The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary Irish Poetry was published in 2003. He has written articles and reviews on contemporary Irish poetry, most notably on Paul Muldoon and Seamus Heaney, but also on war poetry and metaphor in the modern Irish poem. His next major project has been commissioned by Cambridge University Press and is a History of Irish Poetry from 1789 to the present day. An edited volume Irish Literature in Transition, 1830-1880 is currently under contract for 2017.


Matthew Campbell is currently supervising PhD projects on Victorian poetry, contemporary Irish and Indian women’s poetry, Yeats and Eliot, Yeats and Tagore, War writing, David Jones and Nick Cave.  He would welcome applications in the fields of Victorian poetry and Irish poetry since 1800.



Matthew Campbell teaches across the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, from Romantic through Victorian to Modern literature. He contributes to options on Victorian and modern literature, and a second year Special Module on ‘Romantic Ireland’.



He has recently convened the 19th Century MA and offers an MA module on ‘Four Nations of British Poetry: 1848 to 1939’ to the 19th Century and Modern and Contemporary MAs.

His doctoral students have written theses on contemporary British and Irish poetry, the contemporary Elegy, Irish women’s poetry, Derek Mahon and Paul Muldoon. Current students are working on Victorian poetry, Yeats and Eliot, and contemporary Irish poetry.


Contact details

Prof. Matthew Campbell
Department of English and Related Literature
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 44 1904 323360