Giles Whiteley

Associate Professor (Docent)

Room: E896
Telephone: +46 (0)8 16 36 17

My research focuses on comparative literature in English, with a particular emphasis on rereading nineteenth century British literature, reconsidering the philosophical importance and implications of these literary traditions.

My most recent book on Schelling’s Reception in Nineteenth Century British Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) focused on the literary reception of the German philosopher during the long-nineteenth century. Beginning with the Romantics and ending with the early modernists, the book discusses a relatively repressed narrative of literary history which spans the entire century and takes in the discourses of literature, philosophy, theology and science. It shows the ways in which Schelling operates as an uncanny spectre underwriting the received narratives of how we have traditionally read the nineteenth century.

Currently, I am working on three projects. The first, on The Aesthetics of Space in Nineteenth Century British Literature, 1843-1907, under contract with Edinburgh University Press, 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. The second, on Humour and Culture in the Nineteenth Century, under contract with Routledge, offers a history of the ways in which humour develops across the period in literary and cultural traditions in Europe and America and the ways in which these developments in humour respond to contemporary historical moments. The third project is a scholarly edition of Walter Pater’s great late nineteenth century historical novel, Marius the Epicurean, which will appear as volume two of the new Collected Works of Walter Pater to be published by Oxford University Press. This work builds upon my early focus on aestheticism, which produced two monographs, Aestheticism and the Philosophy of Death (2010), nominated for the ICLA Balakian Prize for an outstanding first book in Comparative Literary Studies, and Oscar Wilde and the Simulacrum (2015), which took seriously the idea of Wilde as a philosopher of art. More work on nineteenth century literature and philosophy is forthcoming, and I am the general editor of a multi-volume series on Literature and Philosophy in Nineteenth Century Culture for Routledge.

As will be clear from both my research history and my current projects, while I specialise in late nineteenth century literature, and particularly aestheticism and aesthetic theory, I am interested in all comparative literary traditions, in classical reception, in literature and philosophy, in literature and psychoanalysis, in humour theory and in critical theory. But I have also worked widely on literature beyond the late nineteenth century, and have published or will shortly publish, on figures including Shakespeare, eighteenth century writers such as Pope and Addison, the Romanticism of Coleridge, De Quincey and Southey, the Victorians Carlyle, Arnold, Ruskin and Dickens, the Gothic of Stoker, the decadence of Huysmans, and the modernism of Mansfield, Woolf and Joyce.


Selected Publications


For a full list of recent publications, see DiVA.


Humour and Culture in the Nineteenth Century (under contract with Routledge, 2021).

The Aesthetics of Space in Nineteenth Century British Literature, 1843-1907 (under contract with Edinburgh University Press, 2020).

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

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

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

Scholarly editions:

Walter Pater, Marius the Epicurean, volume 2 of The Collected Works of Walter Pater (under contract with Oxford University Press, 2023)

Henry Longueville Mansel's Phrontisterion (1852), Victorian Literature  and Culture, 46:2 (2018): 485-514.


Edited volumes:

General editor, Literature and Philosophy in Nineteenth Century Culture, 3 vols. (under contract with Routledge 2021).

Articles and Chapters:

‘Shakespeare’s Dark Ecologies: Rethinking the Environment in Macbeth and King Lear’, in Shakespeare’s Things, ed. Brett Gamboa and Lawrence Switzky (forthcoming Routledge, 2020).

‘Bertrand Russell and a Couplet on Empedocles’, N&Q, 66:2 (2019): 316-17.

‘A Swine from Epicurus's Herd: The Culinary, Aesthetic, and Erotic in Wilde and Huysmans’, in Modernism and Food Studies: Politics, Aesthetics and the Avant-Garde, ed. Jessica Martell, Adam Fajardo and Philip Keel Geheber, (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2019), 19-38

‘Dickens and Southey: The Mystery of Edwin Drood and The Curse of Kehama’, Dickens Quarterly, 35:2 (2018): 261-65. 

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

‘Robert Southey, Thomas Lindley and the “Zombi”’, The Wordsworth Circle, 48:3 (2017): 164-68.

‘The Tree of Knowledge: New Insights on Katherine Mansfield, Oscar Wilde and “A Woman”’, in Katherine Mansfield and Russia, ed. Gerri Kimber and Galya Diment (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), 175-89.

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