Matthew Gertken

Keough NEH Fellow Matthew Gertken

Matthew Gertken earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas, Austin in 2013.  His dissertation, “Jonathan Swift, Sir William Temple and the International Balance of Power,” examines Jonathan Swift’s foreign policy writings in an effort to understand the “intersection of culture and international relations in Britain and Ireland in the Restoration and eighteenth century.” 

In addition to his NEH Keough Fellowship at Notre Dame in the 2014-2015 academic year, Dr. Gertken is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Excellence Dissertation Award and an honorary junior fellowship in UT-Austin's British Studies Program.

Currently a senior analyst at covering political, economic and military interests in the Asian region, Dr. Gertken has given several presentations and invited talks on Jonathan Swift and the balance of power and taught undergraduate English classes at the University of Texas, Austin.  He will soon publish an article “Two Concepts of Balance of Power in Swift’s The Conduct of the Allies” and continues to view the humanities as an essential source of skills for today's innovation- and information-driven economy, where creativity and versatility are in high demand.

Some of the publications that emerged from Dr. Gertken's fellowship year:

"Swift, Mottraye and Charles XII of Sweden," forthcoming in Swift Studies 32 (2017). 

"Swift, Utrecht and Ireland," Eighteenth-Century Ireland 30 (2015), pp. 34-59. 

"The International Balance of Power in Swift's Discourse of the Contests and Dissensions," The Explicator 73 (2015), pp. 243-7. 

Book review, "'Chiefly Disgusted with Modern History': Swift and the Past," Cambridge Quarterly (2016) 45(1), pp. 85-91.

Co-written with John P. Rumrich, "Sleeping By A Fable: Milton's Vexing Images Revisited," forthcoming in ELR


When asked to comment on the importance of the NEH Keough Fellowship to him Dr. Gertken wrote:

"The NEH fellowship was an indispensable stepping stone in my life and career. It gave me the rare chance to execute my research program at a top-notch institution, where I engaged every day with Dr. Chris Fox and a community of leading scholars and experts. They gladly shared their knowledge and advice while always challenging me to dig deeper and think harder. This network of friends and colleagues is by far the greatest benefit of my year at Notre Dame. 

"Yet the tangible rewards are inestimable. I received months to work virtually uninterrupted and travel funds to conduct primary historical research at three of the world's finest libraries. I presented my findings at the Institute's prestigious lecture series along with leading scholars in my field, who were invited to respond to my work. These scholars, and the Institute's own, read my work carefully and offered invaluable comments and revisions. With the time and resources provided, I produced a book-length manuscript (yet to be published), and finished several academic articles, all of which have been accepted for publication. Finally, I had the special honor of contributing to discussions over integrating the Keough-Naughton Institute into Notre Dame's new Keough School of Global Affairs. 

"The NEH fellowship was as personally and professionally enriching as any experience I have had. I would strongly encourage anyone interested not to doubt themselves but to apply."