Geoffrey Gilbert

Professor, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center

  • Department: Comparative Literature and English
  • Office: 
  • Office Hours: 
    Friday 12:00–14:00 or by appointment.

See Courses >>

Professor Gilbert has taught at The American University of Paris since 1999. Before that, he taught at Cambridge University in England. He teaches courses on modern literature (with special focus on modernism, questions around translation and cultural studies, the study of prosody, and the consideration of literature in relation to economics, politics, and sexuality). His first book, Before Modernism Was: Modern History and the Constituency of Writing, was published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2004.

All of his writing and teaching is informed by an interest in the relations between literature and culture: rather than imagining literature as a kind of representation or a particularly fabulous and problematic kind of object, he is interested in thinking writing as an impacted instance of human behaviour, neither transcending culture and history nor fully determined by it. Currently, he is interested in the practice of translation, which engages the location of that behaviour within global forces, and he is focusing that interest in a study of contemporary realist writing and contemporary economic processes.


  • PhD in English Literature. Peterhouse, The University of Cambridge, 1995.  
  • MA (Hons) in English Literature, Aberdeen University, 1989. 


  • Gilbert, Geoff. ‘Marginal Pleasures and the Curve of Indifference: The Value of Pleasure in Late Henry James’. Revue Française d’études américaines 167 (2021): 83-96.


  • Before Modernism Was: Modern History and the Constituencies of Writing. London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2004. Language, Discourse, and Society Series.
  • Hold! West. Co-written with Alex Houen. London: Eyewear Press, 2016. (poems)
  • ‘The Durability of Affect and the Ageing of Gay Male Queer Theory. Affect and Literature. Ed Alex Houen. Cambridge Critical Concepts series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020. 133-158.
  • ‘Rimbaud, the Occasion of Poetry, and the Walls of our Schools'. Against Value in the Arts and Education. Ed. Robert McKay, Sam Ladkin, and Emile Bojeson. London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.
  • ‘Tradition and Modernism in the House of Fiction’. Writing under the Influence: Essays on Alan Hollinghurst. Ed. Michele Mendelssohn and Denis Flannery. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015-16.
  • ‘The Location of Experiment: “Modernist Paris”’. The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of Paris. Ed. Anna-Louise Milne. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 189-211.
  • 'The Location of Experiment: Modernism and Expatriate Paris'. The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of Paris. Ed. Anna-Louise Milne. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2013.
  • ‘Amortissement: François Bon’s Daewoo’. Textual Practice 25.2 (Winter 2011): 315-28.
  • ‘The Sad State of Post-Structuralism’. L’Esprit Créateur. 50.3 (Fall 2010): 129-43.
  • ‘Adolescent Prosody’, in The Salt Companion to Mina Loy, ed. Rachel Potter. London: Salt Publishing, 2010.
  • ‘Words, Flies, Jews, Joyce, Joint: Wyndham Lewis and the Unpublishing of Obscenity’. Critical Quarterly 34.3 (Autumn 2004).
  • ‘The Origins of Modernism in the Haunted Properties of Literature’. In The Victorian Supernatural. Ed. Nicola Bown, Carolyn Burdett, Pam Thurschwell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • ‘The Manufacture of Inefficiency: Blast and Other Youth Groups’. In Modernist Sexualities. Ed. Caroline Howlett and Hugh Stevens. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001.
  • ‘Can Fiction Swear? James Kelman and the Booker Prize’. In An Introduction to Contemporary Fiction. Ed. Rod Mengham. Cambridge: Polity, 1999.
  • ‘Shellshock, Anti-Semitism, and the Agency of the Avant-Garde’. In Wyndham Lewis and the Art of Modern War. Ed. David Peters Corbett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • ‘Wyndham Lewis and the Critical Poetics of the Modernist Career’. Critical Quarterly 36.3 (Autumn 1994).
Non-refereed publications
  • 'Blue Light over the Bois de Boulogne, it continues', with AUP student Lily Yankova. Core: International Journal of the Humanities (Fall 2009).
  • ‘“Ma maison, vous ne l’ignorez pas, est la maison des artistes”: Naturalism, modernism, and the domestic place of art.’ Core: International Journal of the Humanities (Spring 2007).
  • ‘”Poetry Makes Nothing Happen”: Literature and Standards in English at AUP’. Scissors and Tooth. 1 (Fall 2005).
  • ‘Henry James’, and ‘Tobacco’, in France and the Americas: Culture: Politics, History. Santa Barbara CA: ABC-CLIO, 2005.
  • ‘Les Queer Critics’. Magazine litteraire (December 2003).
  • ‘Patrick Hamilton and the Sound of Politics’. Core: International Journal of the Humanities 1.2 (Fall 2001). 

Conferences & Lectures

  • ‘The International of Shame’, contribution to a panel on ‘Affect and the Novel’. Society for Novel Studies annual conference. Oxford, April 2020. Conference canceled.
  • ‘“... as if ... the short sentence ... led straight to hell”: Suspension and Imperial Transfer in Krasznahorkai's War and War’. Society for Novel Studies annual conference. Oxford, April 2020. Conference canceled.
  • Occasion: Crisis, Collective Violence, and Price-setting in Zola, 1871’. Risk, Violence, and Collective Agency. Conference at the Institut des études avancées, Paris. 22 May 2019.
  • ‘Language, Work, and Shared Lives: Juliana Spahr’s poetics of the commons’. Cultural Literacy and Cosmopolitan Conviviality. Annual Conference of the Cultural Literacy in Europe society. Universidade Católica Portuguesa10-11 May 2019.
  • ‘Minor Feelings, Queer Identities, and the Activism of Translation’. Association Française des études americaines, annual conference, Nice. 23-25 May 2018
  • ‘Close Reading in the World System: László Krasznahorkai's War and War without Hungarian’. Invited Talk, CRASSH, University of Cambridge. 16 November 2017.
  •  ‘Art, waiting for fascism, in Paris now and in 1937, with Alexander Calder and Walter Benjamin’. Boundaries. University of Kent in Paris. 30 May 2017. Keynote.
  • ‘Juliana Spahr’s Superfluous Lyric Realism’. Poetics: Contemporary Texts and Countertexts. Durham University. 20 November 2016.
  • ‘Spacings, Rivets, Curves, and Value: Marginal Economics in The Ivory Tower’. Reading Henry James in the Twenty-First Century: Heritage and Transmission. Conference of the European Society of Jamesians AUP. 20 October 2016
  • ‘The Refusal of Calculus and the End of Life: Value in The Ivory Tower’. Late and Later James, organised by the University of Sussex, held at Lamb House, Rye, Sussex. 17 October 2016.
  •  ‘Shame, Fiction, and the Test of Translation’. James Baldwin: A Language to Dwell In. AUP, 28 May 2016.
  • ‘Calculus and Realism’. C19 Annual Conference. Penn State University. 18 March 2016.
  •  ‘No Realism without shame’. Politics of Translation seminar, at the University of London Institute in Paris. 28 January 2016
  • ‘Close Reading at a Distance: Cultural Translation and World Systems’. Cultural Translation Symposium. University of Cardiff. 15 May 2015. Keynote.
  • ‘Poetry and the Destruction of Our Schools’. Department of English, University of Sheffield, Invited lecture. May 2015
  • ‘Shame, Fiction, and the Test of Translation’. Shame and the Act of Writing. University of Warwick. Keynote. September 2014. 
  • With Anna-Louise Milne. ‘Teaching Cultural Translation’. Interdisciplinary Teaching in Arts and Humanities. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. June 2014
  • 'Walter Benjamin at the 1937 Exposition Internationale: Spaces of Exile and the Limits of the Dialectic'. Le Regard de l'exile. Sorbonne and AUP. June 2013.
  • ‘Do you know how you feel: Shame and the persistence of modernism'. Modernist Intimacies. University of Sussex. May 2013.
  • 'Digital Tools for Collaborative Teaching, Learning, and Research: A Small-School's Perspective', with Mark Hayward and Claudia Roda. Mobility Shifts: Summit on the Future of International Learning. The New School. October 2011.
  • ‘Mimeses, Crisis, Shame’. Rene Girard colloquium for the fiftieth anniversary of Desire, Deceit, and the Novel. University of Cambridge. May 2011.
  • ‘”Les vendeurs ne sont pas au bout de solde”: Translating Rimbaud or Crisis’. Capital Poetics conference. Cornell Society for the Humanities. 4 March 2011.
  • ‘Contemporary Global Realism in fiction and economics: the case of François Bon’s Daewoo’. Literature, Geography, Translation: The New Comparative Literature. University of Uppsala. June 2009
  • ‘Blue Light Over the Bois de Boulogne, it Continues’. Frank O’Hara Symposium. Sussex University, April 2008.
  • ‘The Meaning of Contemporary Realism: The Amortissement of Idiom in Daewoo’. Goldsmiths, London, March 2007; given in a different form at the university of Glasgow, September 2007.
  • ‘In a Lover’s Idiom (“I do not know what women know”)’. Berkeley, March 2006.
  • ‘Language Sex Change’. The Dean’s Faculty Research Seminar. AUP. October 2005.
  • ‘Modernism : Very Little Magazines, Very Big Sociological Fantasies’. Les revues modernistes anglo-américaines : lieux d’échanges, lieux d’exil. Paris III. June 2005
  • ‘“Ma maison, vous ne l’ignorez pas, est la maison des artistes”: Naturalism, modernism, and the domestic place of art.’ Literature and The Domestic Interior. Victoria and Albert Museum. December 2004. Invited speaker.
  • ‘What Men Did Together: Literature, Sexuality, Politics’. Cambridge, July 2004.
  • ‘Modernism and Cultural Studies’, Plenary Panel, Modernist Studies Association Annual Conference, Birmingham, September 2003. Invited speaker.
  • ‘Exposition internationale:  Jean Rhys, Paris, 1937’, Parisian Cultural Topographies Conference, University of Glasgow, September 2003.
  • ‘Sudden Brother:  Dostoevsky and the Modernist Constitution’. La Nouvelle revue française and British Modernism. Maison Française, Columbia University, April 2003. Invited speaker.
  • ‘Before Modernism Was’.  University of Sheffield, December 2002.
  • ‘The Great [buk]’. Fourth International HASE (Hellenic Association for the Study of English) conference. Athens. May 2002.
  • ‘When I had sex with myself, aged 16, in 1914, and started a revolution: On the historiography of modernist affect’. University of York, 8 November 2001. 
  • ‘Narcissism and the historiography of modernism’. London Modernism research Seminar, November 2001. 
  • ‘“When the right hand’s powerless, there’s a taste in a sailor’s mouth”: James Hanley and the Scene of Queer Theory’. James Hanley Centennial Symposium, Jesus College, Cambridge, 29 September 2001.
  • ‘Patrick Hamilton and the Sound of Politics’. Gender and Literature Seminar, University of Cambridge, November 2000. 

Research Areas

Modernism, contemporary literature, Marxism, queer theory, translation studies, cultural studies, cultural translation