Associate Professor (Docent)

Room: E896

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 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. The other current project, on The Aesthetics of Space in Nineteenth Century British Literature, 1851-1908, 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.​

My earlier work has focused in particular on the aestheticism movement and resulted in two monographs. In Aestheticism and the Philosophy of Death (2010), nominated for the ICLA Balakian Prize for an outstanding first book in Comparative Literary Studies, I offered a reconsideration of the place of the great Victorian critic and prose stylist Pater within Victorian philosophical debates. In my most recent book, Oscar Wilde and the Simulacrum​ (2015), I took seriously the idea of Wilde as a philosopher of art, treating his work through a series of comparative analyses involving his reading of Greek and German philosophy, his engagement with Renaissance, Romantic, Victorian and Decadent literature, and placing his work into dialogue with critical theory. This interest in the aestheticism movement will be continued in my future work. After my two monographs on Schelling and the aesthetics of space,  I will be editing a scholarly edition of Marius the Epicurean as volume two of the new Collected Works of Walter Pater to be published by Oxford University Press.

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 classical reception, in literature and philosophy (Greek, German 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, Pope, the Romanticism of Coleridge, De Quincey and Southey, the Victorians Carlyle and Dickens, the Gothic of Stoker, and the modernism of Mansfield and Joyce.

As a teacher, I am committed to asking and answering questions that are not simply analytical, but are also critical and evaluative. This passion is also demonstrated by my research 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, it is not only a question of what the text says: perhaps what matter most is what it can do.




The Aesthetics of Space in Nineteenth Century British Literature, 1851-1908 (forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press, 2020).

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 Literatureand Culture (forthcoming 2018).


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

‘“Tenebrific Constellations”: Carlyle, Addison and Burns’, N&Q (forthcoming Sep 2018)​.

‘The Origin of the Words “Tenebrific” and “Tenebrificous”’, N&Q (forthcoming Sep 2018).

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

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

‘An Unnoted Quotation from Pater in Wilde’s Review of William Morris’, N&Q, 64:4 (2017): 640-41.

‘Coleridge's Quotation of Petronius in the Notebooks of 1830’, N&Q, 64:4 (2017): 603-04.

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

‘“Dishonours of the Grave”: Jeremy Taylor and De Quincey’s Confessions', N&Q, 64:4 (2017): 589-592.

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

‘“Inverted Rites”: Reading Girard reading Pater reading Shakespeare’, Anthropoetics, 23:1 (2017).​

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

‘“Neither for God, nor for his enemies": Wilde’s “Theoretikos” and Pater's essay on Botticelli’, N&Q, 64:4 (2017): 624-26.

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

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

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

‘Some Unnoted Sources in Oscar Wilde's Commonplace Book’, N&Q, 64:4 (2017): 628-34.

‘Some Unnoted Sources in Oscar Wilde's Oxford Notebook’, N&Q, 64:4 (2017): 626-28.

‘The Earliest Literary Reference to Manchester Pudding?’ N&Q, 64:4 (2017): 613-14​.

‘“The Thaumaturgic Art of Thought”: Bram Stoker and Thomas Carlyle’, N&Q, 64:4 (2017): 622-623.

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

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


‘Shakespeare’s Dark Ecologies: Rethinking the Environment in Macbeth and King Lear’, in 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’, in 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’, in 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”’, in 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’, in Katherine Mansfield and Russia, ed. Gerri Kimber and Galya Diment (EUP, 2017), 190-93.

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