Beaumont, Matthew 1972–
Beaumont, Matthew 1972–
Born April 10, 1972. Education: B.A.; M.St.; D.Phil.
Office—University College London, Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Scholar, educator, writer, and editor. University College of London, London, England, senior lecturer in English.
Utopia Ltd.: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England, 1870-1900, Brill (Boston, MA), 2005.
(Editor) Adventures in Realism, Blackwell Pub. (Malden, MA), 2007.
(Editor and contributor, with Andrew Hemingway, Esther Leslie, and John Roberts) As Radical as Reality Itself: Essays on Marxism and Art for the 21st Century, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 2007.
(Editor and author of preface and introduction, with Michael Freeman; also contributor of an essay) The Railway and Modernity: Time, Space and the Machine Ensemble, Peter Lang (Oxford, England), 2007.
Contributor to books, including The Railway: Art in the Age of Steam, by Ian Kennedy and Julian Treuherz, Yale University Press, 2008. Contributor to periodicals, including English Literary History, History Workshop Journal, Journal of Victorian Culture, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Science-Fiction Studies, Utopian Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, and Victorian Studies. Also contributor to essay collections.
Matthew Beaumont is a senior lecturer in English whose academic interests include the nineteenth-century novel, the fin de siècle, and utopian and dystopian literature. His work also focuses on early modernism, twentieth-century avant gardes, and the literary and cultural theory of Marxists and others. In his first book, Utopia Ltd.: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England, 1870-1900, Beaumont examines the historical preconditions that led to the extraordinary resurgence of utopian literature during the fin de siècle, a cultural movement between 1890 and the beginning of World War I that was typified by an artistic climate of sophistication and fashionable despair. In his contribution to the literary and cultural history of the late-Victorian period, the author expands the outlook of utopian studies and examines the progression of Marxist critiques of utopianism. The author focuses primarily on three kinds of political utopia or anti-utopia: state socialism, feminism, and anticommunism. Beaumont ends his book with a reinterpretation of William Morris's influential Marxist utopian story titled "News from Nowhere."
"It is an ambitious book which covers a lot of ground, at a considerable pace, and with a certain gusto," wrote David Leopold in a review for Utopian Studies. Leopold noted that "even those readers not persuaded by elements of Beaumont's work will find much to engage them in the present volume" and that "both its subject matter and approach have significant merit."
As editor of Adventures in Realism, Beaumont presents sixteen essays that provide an introduction to realism with a focus on how it has evolved since the nineteenth century. "Although specialist scholars have continued to explore its historic importance, realism has come to seem obvious and simple-minded to most intellectuals in the humanities," the author writes in his introduction. "It is as if Roland Bathes' brilliant critique, in the late 1960s, of what he called the ‘referential illusion,’ and his concomitant attempts to decode the ‘reality effects’ that literary texts evoke in order to certify their claims to verisimilitude, became a pretext not for rethinking realism in relation to post-structuralist insights about narrative convention so much as for not rethinking realism at all." The book's essays focus on literature and literature theory but also discuss the significance of technology and visual arts, including paintings and film. Contributors provide the context needed to trace the developments in realism and how it has helped form the way reality is perceived. Contributors include Fredric Jameson, George Levine, and Slavoj Zizek.
In The Railway and Modernity: Time, Space and the Machine Ensemble, Beaumont and coeditor Michael Freeman present essays from several scholars who examine the railway's central importance in the representation and understanding of capitalist modernity and how the railway became entrenched in complex social relations. In addition to writing the book's preface and introduction with Freeman, Beaumont contributes an essay titled "Railway Mania: The Compartment as the Scene of a Crime."
Beaumont is also a contributor to The Railway: Art in the Age of Steam, by Ian Kennedy and Julian Treuherz. The book explores how artists responded to steam locomotion within its social setting after it appeared in nineteenth-century Europe and America. As explained by the authors, peoples' common ideas of time and space were forever changed by this powerful and, for the times, fast mode of transportation, which elicited both fear and excitement in both the general public and artists. The book features paintings, prints, posters, and photography, including many masterpieces by artists such as Claude Monet, J.M.W. Turner, and Edward Hopper.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Beaumont, Matthew, editor, Adventures in Realism, Blackwell Pub. (Malden, MA), 2007.
Choice, February, 2008, S. Vander Closter, review of Adventures in Realism, p. 978.
Reference & Research Book News, May, 2005, review of Utopia Ltd.: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England, 1870-1900, p. 276; November, 2007, review of Adventures in Realism.
Utopian Studies, winter, 2006, David Leopold, review of Utopia Ltd., p. 234.
Buchjournal,http://www.buchhandel.de/ (July 11, 2008), overview of The Railway and Modernity: Time, Space and the Machine Ensemble.
Strand Books Web site,http://www.strandbooks.com/ (July 11, 2008), overview of Adventures in Realism.
University College of London Web site,http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ (July 11, 2008), faculty profile of author.