Shaj Mathew

Shaj Mathew's picture


Shaj Mathew studies contemporary literature and film from the Middle East, Latin America, and the Anglophone world. His dissertation, Wandering Comparisons, reads the global revival of flânerie in the present though a series of largely non-Western precursors to offer a new account of modernity. He will receive his Ph.D. from Yale in December 2019.

His scholarly articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Modernism/Modernity, Adaptation, and Critique; his scholarly reviews have appeared in Critical Inquiry. He also contributes literary criticism to The New YorkerThe New York Times Book Review, and The New Republic.

In 2014, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow of the Penn Humanities Forum.

Research Interests

Aby Warburg; contemporary Persian, Turkish, U.S., and Latin American literature; Iranian cinema; Nuri Bilge Ceylan; the occult; world literature; modernity; wunderkammern


Ph.D. Yale (expected Dec. 2019)

B.A. Penn (2014)

Working Languages

Persian, Turkish, Spanish

Selected Publications

“The Return of the Author: Autofictional Flânerie.” Forthcoming in Modernism/Modernity.

“Traveling Realisms, Shared Modernities, Eternal Moods: The Uses of Chekhov in

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep.” Adaptation 12.1 (2019): 12-26. [Oxford UP]

“Ciudad Juárez in Roberto Bolaño’s 2666: Mexico’s Violent Cradle of Modernity.”

Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 57.4 (2016): 402-416. [TF Online]

Review of Hamid Dabashi’s Persophilia. Critical Inquiry 49.1 (2019): 249-251. [UChicago]

“A Searching Memoir about India’s Identity Crisis.The New Yorker. March 30, 2019. [TNY]

“Fathers, Sons, and the West in Pamuk’s Turkey.” The New Yorker. Oct. 30, 2017. [TNY]

Translated into Persian in Tarjomaan, December 2017;

translated into Azerbaijani in Azadliq, November 2017

“The Readymade Novel.” The New Republic. July/August 2015. pp. 82-83. [TNR]

Translated into Spanish in Revista Nexos, March 2016;

translated into Italian in Grafias, July 2015;

translated into Tamil in Padhaakai, May 2015 

“Orhan Pamuk’s Working-Class Flâneurs.” The New Republic. October 13, 2015. [TNR]

“A Bridge Between Worlds.” New York Times Book Review. May 12, 2019. pp. BR10. [NYT]

“The Power of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.” The New Republic. December 5, 2017. [TNR]

“Picking Up the Pieces.” New York Times Book Review. August 26, 2018. pp. BR16. [NYT]

“Unwelcome Guests.” New York Times Book Review. March 26, 2017. pp. BR18. [NYT]

“Forugh Farrokhzad: Poetry as Life, Life as Poetry.” Guernica. February 26, 2014. [Guernica]

“Poring Through Bolaño’s Archives.” Guernica. September 5, 2013. [Guernica]

“After Literature.” Translation from the Spanish (“Literaturas posautónomas”) by Josefina Ludmer. Mítos Magazín. October 2018. [Mítos]