Associate Professor (Docent)

Room: E896

giles.whiteley@english.su.se

My research focuses on rereading nineteenth century British literature, with an emphasis on reconsidering the philosophical importance and implications of these literary traditions.

I received my PhD in 2009 from the University of Manchester with a reconsideration of the place of Walter Pater within Victorian philosophical debates. This resulted in my first monograph Aestheticism and the Philosophy of Death: Walter Pater and Post-Hegelianism (2010), nominated for the ICLA Balakian Prize for an outstanding first book in Comparative Literary Studies. This project, responsive in particular to the ways in which late nineteenth century British authors positioned themselves against elements of German idealism and the history of philosophy, and the ways in which these ideas prefigure important aspects of psychoanalytic and poststructuralist thought, was continued in my second monograph, Oscar Wilde and the Simulacrum: The Truth of Masks (2015). The book follows Wilde through a series of comparative analyses including his reading of Greek and German philosophy, his engagement with Renaissance, Romantic, Victorian and Decadent literature, and places his work into dialogue with critical theory. It offers a radically new vision of Wilde’s aestheticism, and a theory of the relationship between literature and philosophy developed in his writing and life.

My current research focuses on two large-scale projects. The first, on Schelling’s Reception in Nineteenth Century British Literature, focuses on the literary reception of Schelling during the long-nineteenth century. Beginning with Coleridge, Crabb Robinson and the Romantics, this will discuss a relatively repressed narrative of literary history which spans the entire century. The research for this project has already led to important discoveries, including the first proof of Kipling’s plagiarism, and a monograph based on my research is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan in 2018.

My other ongoing project, provisionally entitled The Aesthetics of Space, follows the way in which ‘aesthetic’ writers of the nineteenth century engage with space, particularly – although not exclusively – metropolitan space, differentiating between the tropes of theoria and aisthesis in the work of Ruskin, and following this tradition through Dickens, Pater, Wilde and James.

As will be clear, while I specialise in late nineteenth century literature, and particularly aestheticism and aesthetic theory, I am interested in all comparative literary traditions, in literature and philosophy (Greek, idealism, Marx, Nietzsche and Heidegger), in literature and psychoanalysis (Freud, Lacan), and in critical theory, and in particular Benjamin, Blanchot, Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault and Klossowski. But I have also worked widely on literature beyond the late nineteenth century, and have published or will shortly publish, on figures including Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, the Romanticism of Coleridge, De Quincey and Southey, the Victorians Carlyle and Dickens, and the modernism of Katherine Mansfield.

As a researcher and a teacher, I am committed to asking and answering questions that are not simply analytical, but are also critical and evaluative. This is demonstrated by my publication record in which I am interested not simply in rereading the texts themselves but the entire narratives of literary history which have determined the reception of these texts. I am not interested, therefore, in merely analyzing literary texts, but I seek to ask them questions, ones that in their turn elucidate fundamental problems in our own lives. To paraphrase Marx on Feuerbach (or is it rather Deleuze and Guattari?), it is not simply what the text says: what matter most is what it can do.

 

Publications


Monographs:

Schelling’s Reception in Nineteenth Century British Literature (forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

Oscar Wilde and the Simulacrum: the Truth of Masks (Oxford: Legenda, 2015).

Aestheticism and the Philosophy of Death: Walter Pater and Post-Hegelianism (Oxford: Legenda, 2010).

Scholarly editions:

Henry Longueville Mansel's Phrontisterion (1852), Victorian Literature and Culture (forthcoming 2018).

Articles:

‘Mr. Beoerly or Mr. Beverley? A variant reading of Joyce’s “Drama and Life”’, JJQ (forthcoming 2018).

'"The Thaumaturgic Art of Thought": Bram Stoker and Thomas Carlyle', N&Q, 64:4 (forthcoming Dec 2017).

'"Neither for God, nor for his enemies": Wilde's 'Theoretikos' and Pater's essay on Botticelli', N&Q, 64:4 (forthcoming Dec 2017).

'"Dishonours of the Grave": Jeremy Taylor and De Quincey's Confessions', N&Q, 64:4 (forthcoming Dec 2017).

'The Earliest Literary Reference to Manchester Pudding?' N&Q, 64:4 (forthcoming Dec 2017)​.

‘An Unnoted Quotation from Pater in Wilde's Review of William Morris’, N&Q, 64:4 (forthcoming Dec 2017).

‘Coleridge's Quotation of Petronius in the Notebooks of 1830’, N&Q, 64:4 (forthcoming Dec 2017).

‘Some Unnoted Sources in Oscar Wilde's Commonplace Book’, N&Q, 64:4 (forthcoming Dec 2017).

‘Some Unnoted Sources in Oscar Wilde's Oxford Notebook’, N&Q, 64:4 (forthcoming Dec 2017)

‘Robert Southey, Thomas Lindley and the “Zombi”’, The Wordsworth Circle (forthcoming Winter 2017).

“Inverted Rites”: Reading Girard reading Pater reading Shakespeare’, Anthropoetics (forthcoming 2017).​

‘Inspir’d Bards: An Unidentified Quotation in Pope’s Dunciad Variorum’, N&Q, 64:3 (2017): 148-50.

‘An Oblique Allusion to Barbauld in Dickens’ Edwin Drood’, Dickens Quarterly, 34:2 (2017): 172-75.

‘Cosmopolitan Space: Political Topographies in Oscar Wilde’s London’, Victoriographies, 7:2 (2017): 124-142.

‘Wilde's Plagiarism in the Essay on "Historical Criticism”’, N&Q, 64:1 (2017): 139-41.

‘Oscar Wilde’s Reading of Popular Science’, N&Q, 64:1 (2017): 142-44.

‘An Unidentified French Quotation in Wilde’s Essay on “Historical Criticism”’, N&Q, 64:1 (2017): 141-42.

‘Pater’s Conclusion: A New Source’, N&Q, 64:1 (2017): 128-30.

‘Kipling the Plagiarist? The Case of “O Baal, Hear Us!”’, N&Q, 64:1 (2017): 149-51.

‘Pater’s Parerga: Framing the Imaginary Portraits’, Victoriographies, 3:1 (2013): 119-35.
 

Chapters:

‘Shakespeare’s Dark Ecologies: Rethinking the Environment in Macbeth and King Lear’, Shakespeare’s Things, ed. Brett Gamboa and Lawrence Switzky (forthcoming Routledge, 2018).

‘“A Memnon waiting for the day”: Ancient Egypt in the Aesthetic and Decadent Imaginary’, Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literature, ed. Ellie Dobson & Nicola Tonks (forthcoming Liverpool UP, 2018).

‘From Epicurus’s Herd: The Culinary, Aesthetic and Erotic in Huysmans and Wilde’, Modernism and Food, ed. Adam Fajardo, Philip Geheber and Jessica Martell (forthcoming Florida UP, 2018).

‘The Tree of Knowledge: New Insights on Katherine Mansfield, Oscar Wilde and “A Woman”’, Katherine Mansfield and Russia, ed. Gerri Kimber and Galya Diment (EUP, 2017), 261-73.

‘A Note on some Unidentified Sources in Mansfield’s Reading in the Journals of 1907’, Katherine Mansfield and Russia, ed. Gerri Kimber and Galya Diment (EUP, 2017), 190-93.

‘Pater’s Heraclitus: Irony and the Historical Method’, Pater the Classicist, ed. Stefano Evangelista, Charles Martindale and Elisabeth Prettlejohn (OUP, 2017), 261-73.
 

Other:

‘UHR missar kärnan i IB-utbildningen’, Dagen Samhälle (28 november 2016) (in Swedish)