Prof.dr. P.Th.M.G. (Peter) Liebregts

  • Professor
  • English language and culture
  • Modern(ist) and Contemporary Literatures in English
  • Nachleben: The reception, transformation and appropriation of classical culture in English-language literatures/cultures.

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2160
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Centre for the Arts in Society, Moderne Engelstalige letterkunde
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
P.N. van Eyckhof 4
2311 BV Leiden
Room number 1.04a
Personal Homepage:​lucas/​members-modern-contemporary/​liebregtsptmg.html

Fields of interest

- The Nachleben of classical culture in modern English-language literatures/cultures
- Modernism (especially Ezra Pound)
- Modern/Contemporary English, Anglo-Irish, South African, American, and Anglo-Indian literature
- Religion and ethics in literature


My research focuses on three main areas, often in combination: 
the Nachleben of classical culture in English-language literature, Modernism in an international (translatlantic and European) perspective, and contemporary literature. In my research on the Nachleben of classical culture in English-language literature/culture, I emphasize the intertextual and appropriating aspect of the relationship between the source and its user, placing it in a wider historical-cultural context. In my dissertation Centaurs in the Twilight: W.B. Yeats and the Classical Tradition, for example, I did not restrict myself to an intertextual classification of the traces of the classical tradition in Yeats’s work, but also described his use of this tradition as part of his own involvement in the attempts in Ireland at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century to achieve political and cultural independence from Great Britain. Moreover, I also analysed Yeats’s use of the classics as part of his interest in the occult, an interest which may be considered characteristic of the Zeitgeist of the late 19th century. This study of the classical reception within the broader framework of the formation of cultural identity and of cultural shifts, as well as the presence of what I will term the ‘religious impulse’, are two main themes in my research which regularly intersect. This can be seen in my monograph on Ezra Pound and Neoplatonism, which not only offers an analysis of Pound’s appropriation of Platonic and Neoplatonic traditions, but also shows how crucial these traditions were in establishing Pound’s contribution to Modernism, and how The Cantos may even be read as a contribution to the perpetuation of these traditions.
Since 2005 I am involved in the international research project “After Augustine: A Survey of His Reception from 430 to 2000”, which will result in the publication of the three-volume Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2012-13, and in a website. Within this project, I am responsible for the writing and editing of the sections dealing with the 19th to 21st centuries, in which my own work will focus on English-language literatures and cultures (with lemmata on, for example, “J.M. Coetzee”, “Graham Greene”, “Samuel Beckett”, “Post-Colonialism”, and “Autobiography in the 20th Century”).

I am currently involved in researching and writing two contributions for the project The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature (“W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot”; “Ezra Pound”); an article on J.M. Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg; an article on Anne Carson’s NOX; and a monograph on Ezra Pound and Greek poetry.

Curriculum Vitae

Peter Liebregts (1959) graduated in Classical Languages and Literatures at Utrecht University in 1986. He worked as a teacher of Latin and Greek at two secondary schools in Arnhem (1986-88), and as a lecturer in the Department of Literary Studies at Utrecht University (1987-89). He was appointed as a NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) research assistant in 1988, and obtained his PhD cum laude on the dissertation Centaurs in the Twilight: W.B. Yeats’s Use of the Classical Tradition at Leiden University in 1993.
From 1993 to 1998, he worked as an NWO post-doc researcher on the monograph Ezra Pound and Neoplatonism, which in 2004 was awarded the Ezra Pound Society Prize. In 1999, he received the Premio Letterario Internazionale ‘I Siracusani’ for his article “Nell’azzuro del mito (Luis Couperus in Sicilia)”.  In 1999 he was appointed as a junior lecturer at the English Department of Leiden University, and in 2004 as a senior lecturer. In November 2006, he was appointed as a Full Professor of Modern Literatures in English. During the academic year 2008-09 he was co-leader of the international research Theme Group “The (Post)Modern Augustine” at NIAS (Wassenaar).

Teaching activities

I teach three courses of the Bachelor programme of the Department of English Language and Culture: “The Classical and Christian Legacies in Literatures in English” (a first-year course offering an introduction to classical mythology and philosophy, as well as the Bible and Christianity, along with a selection of English-language texts from the Early Modern period until the present, illustrating the Nachleben of these traditions);  “Anglo-American Modernism” (third-year course); and “Contemporary Literatures in English” (third-year course).
In the MA-programme I have given courses on, inter alia, the work of J.M. Coetzee, on South African literature, on Anglo-Indian literature, on “The Long Modern(ist) Poem”, and on Milton’s Paradise Lost and its influence on Romantic poetry. During the academic year 2012-13 I will offer three courses: on “Anglo-American Literature and Art in the Modernist Period” (together with dr. Nana Leigh of Art History); on James Joyce’s Ulysses; and on the Iliad and the Odyssey in modern literatures and film in English (e.g. Christopher Logue, Margaret Atwood, David Malouf, the Coen Brothers).

Key publications

Centaurs in the Twilight: W.B. Yeats's Use of the Classical Tradition, Amsterdam/Atlanta GA (Rodopi), 1993

“’Between that Staring Fury and the Blind Lush Leaf’: William Butler Yeats and the Occult”, in: Leon Surette and Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos (eds), Literary Modernism and the Occult, Orono, Maine: National Poetry Foundation, 1996, pp. 51-72

“Tussen twee werelden: Derek Walcott’s Omeros en post-koloniale identiteit”, in: Theo D’haen en Peter Liebregts, red., Tussen twee werelden, Leiden: OTCZO (Semaian), 2001, pp. 173-95

“Images of an Imaginist: Two Film Versions of Jane Austen’s Emma”, in Configuring Romanticism, red. Theo D’haen, Peter Liebregts en Wim Tigges, Amsterdam/New York (Rodopi), 2003, pp. 277-299

Ezra Pound and Neoplatonism, Madison, NJ (Fairleigh Dickenson University Press)/ Londen (Associated University Presses), 2004

Modernisme(n) in de Europese Letterkunde, 4 volumes, red. Jan Baetens, Sjef Houppermans, Arthur Langeveld, en Peter Liebregts, Leuven (Peeters) 2003-05; Amsterdam (Rozenberg) 2008-10

“’Ubi amor, ibi oculus est’: Ethiek en literaire vorm in J.M. Coetzee” (oratie), Leiden, 2008

“The Classics”, in Ezra Pound in Context, ed. Ira B. Nadel, Cambridge (Cambridge UP), 2010, pp. 171-80

“’Love God and Do as You Please’: Ezra Pound and Augustine”, in Paideuma: Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Orono (NPF), Vol. 38, 2011, pp. 55-89

-“’Bricks thought into being ex nihil’: Ezra Pound and Creation”, in Ezra Pound: Ends and Beginnings, eds John Gery and William Pratt, New York (AMS Press), 2011, pp. 81-96

-“A Diasporic Straitjacket or Overcoat of Many Colours?: A Reading of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake”, in Writing India Anew: Indian English Fiction 2000-2010, eds. Krishna Sen and Rituparna Roy, Amsterdam (Amsterdam UP), 2012

Last Modified: 10-12-2015