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Dr Sebastian Matzner read Greek and Latin Languages and Literature, Religious Studies and Comparative Literature at the Philipps-Universität Marburg and the Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (2002-5), followed by an MA in Comparative Literature (2007) at King’s College London where he also earned his PhD in Classics and Comparative Literature (2012). His doctoral thesis, The Forgotten Trope: Metonymy in Poetic Action, won the University of Heidelberg’s Prize for Classical Philology and Literary Theory. He was subsequently awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to pursue his postdoctoral research project ‘Beautiful Tyrants: Postcolonial Reflections on Philhellenism in Rome and Germany’ at the Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford (2012-14). He was P.S. Allen Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College (2012-14) and Lecturer in Classics at St John’s College (2013-14) before taking up a lectureship in Latin Language and Literature at the University of Exeter (2014-15). Sebastian returned to King’s as Lecturer in Comparative Literature in September 2015.

Research interests

  • Literary Theory
  • Rhetoric and poetics
  • Poetics of acculturation and dynamics of cultural interaction across time
  • Classical reception studies and the classical tradition
  • History of sexualities and LGBTIQ studies

Trained in both Classics and Comparative Literature, Dr Matzner’s research focuses on interactions between classical literature (both Greek and Latin) and modern literature (especially German), with a particular focus on literary and cultural theory as pertinent to such interactions. His doctoral work drew on both classical Greek and modern German and English literature as well as on ancient and modern rhetorical and linguistic theory to tackle problems (of stylistic analysis, structuralist interpretation, and translation criticism) that confront literary scholars tout court. In his current research project, a comparative study of philhellenism in ancient Rome and modern Germany— framed as a self-imposed subjugation to a foreign culture and studied from the perspective of postcolonial theory—he continues this approach to explore questions of the politics and poetics of cultural influence that not only affect our understanding of this historical phenomenon, but are also highly relevant to our own globalised world.

Sebastian is happy to discuss research proposals on any topic that falls within his research expertise and would be particularly interested in working with candidates on projects that relate to his current research activities in fields such as: poetic language in theory and practice, global cultures of classicism, classical literature and LGBTIQ writing/identities.

For more details, please Sebastian's full research profile.