Matthew Oxley

School of Languages and Cultures

Postgraduate research student

SLC PHD student Matthew Oxley
Profile picture of SLC PHD student Matthew Oxley

Full contact details

Matthew Oxley
School of Languages and Cultures
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

Thesis title: Urbanised Subjectivities in Catalan Narrative

My research focuses on the theoretical writings of Catalan engineer Ildefons Cerdà, in particular his Teoría General de la Urbanización (1867), and their application to Catalan narrative texts from the 19th and 20th centuries. In the Teoría, Cerdà develops complex spatial theories and constructs an ur-narrative for humanity based around urbanisation as the key to reaching divine perfection. His discourse strays into ‘unscientific’ areas such as language, religion and morality, and he envisages a grid network of streets that will cover the surface of the Earth and create universal peace. The thesis will analyse Cerdà’s formulation of urbanización and use it as a means to investigate the construction of subjectivity in a selection of literary texts. In this way, the thesis will move from discussion of ‘the urban’ to the urban subject, through the close textual analysis of works of narrative fiction in Catalan and Spanish.

My research is funded by the AHRC via the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH).


MA Catalan Studies, University of Sheffield

BA Modern Languages (Italian and Spanish), University of Oxford

Research interests
  • Spanish and Catalan literature, C19th-C20th
  • Barcelona in literature
  • Literature and space
  • Literature and the city
  • Nomadic theory (Braidotti, Deleuze & Guattari)
Publications & conference papers


Oxley, M. 2020. ‘‘A Gesture of Empathy between Generations’: Re-Photographing Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War’, in Invisible Wounds: Negotiating Post-Traumatic Landscapes ed. by Amanda Crawley Jackson and Emily-Rose Baker (Sheffield: The University of Sheffield)

Oxley, M. 2019. ‘Transgressive Sexualities and Urban Form in Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Vida privada [Private Life] (1932)’, WRoCAH Journal, 5

Conference papers

‘The relevance of Ildefons Cerdà’s Teoría general de la urbanización for literary studies,’ LXVI Conference of the Anglo-Catalan Society, University of St Andrew’s, 5-7 November 2021 (online)

‘Anarchy and control: The role of the home in modernist city planning in Spain,’ Housing and Power in the Modern World, White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities, 11 November 2020 (online)

‘Is there such thing as ‘railway consciousness’?’, New Tracks in the History of Railways Twitter Conference, 16-17 September 2020 (online)

‘Cerdà’s intervías as literary praxis in late 19th- and early 20th-century novels,’ LXV Conference of the Anglo-Catalan Society, Bangor University, 1-3 November 2019