Writers in nineteenth-century Britain confronted a world rocked by tumultuous change. Figures ranging from William Blake to George Eliot and Oscar Wilde were some of the first writers to grapple with the modern world as we know it. Their century was transformed by the invention of the train, the telegraph, the photograph and the bicycle. The industrial revolution gave rise to a broad but unpredictable social realignment, and Darwin’s evolutionary hypothesis disrupted religious convictions and comfortable visions of nature. Revolutionary political ideas prompted the reconsideration of tradition, class, custom and gender norms. As the British Empire expanded to cover a quarter of the globe, both Romantics and Victorian writers confronted an increasing disjunction between local culture and a globalized world.
Ohio State’s faculty in Romantic and Victorian literary studies offers a wide range of expertise that stretches throughout the long nineteenth century and beyond. Faculty work ranges from the affective, philosophical and geopolitical interests of the Romantics to the domestic practices, gender ideologies and technological innovations of the Victorians. In classes, students might think about the popular cultural afterlife of Jane Austen, or find themselves forging connections between Charles Dickens’ Bleak House and contemporary horror films like It Follows or Get Out. Faculty might encourage students to wrangle with radical print culture in Thompson Library’s Special Collections or ask students to read like a Victorian in serialized form. Students might take a deep dive into literary representations of the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution and the Russian Revolution. Every so often a class might even culminate with a trip through Thomas Hardy’s Wessex or an exploration of gothic Edinburgh.
Faculty research attends to both the richness of nineteenth-century history and its formalist developments (such as the ballad, the sketch, the lyric, serialized and periodical fiction, the Bildungsroman, aestheticism, and the transition to modernism) so faculty are eager to teach and mentor students in an array of topics. In graduate seminars, faculty will make sure students stay in touch with the most recent developments in the field, and faculty will urge students to take an active part in that development. Romantic and Victorian literature faculty regularly serve on dissertation committees in fields such as eighteenth-century literature, film and television, gender and sexuality studies, children’s literature and narrative theory.
- Jill Galvan: Victorian literature and culture, fin de siècle and early twentieth century, media studies, realism, aesthetics
- Amanpal Garcha: Nineteenth-century British literature, theory and history of the novel, literary theory
- Jamison Kantor: British Romanticism, political theory, economics and aesthetics, technology and literature
- Jacob Risinger: Romanticism, eighteenth-century literature and philosophy, transatlantic studies, poetics, literature and philosophy
- David Ruderman: Nineteenth-century British poetry and poetics, psychoanalysis, music, twentieth-century American poetry, aesthetic theory
- Clare Simmons: British Romantic and Victorian Literature, Medievalism, Scottish Romanticism, nonfiction prose
- Beth Sutton-Ramspeck: British Romantic and Victorian literature, gender and sexuality studies, Harry Potter
- Nathan Wallace: Nineteenth-century British literature, Irish studies, James Joyce, Edmund Burke, film, graphic novels, social media
- Robyn Warhol: Nineteenth-century British novel, seriality, women writers
- English 4540: Nineteenth-Century British Poetry
Recent Topics: “Before Night Falls: British Poetry, 1750-1900” (Risinger); “Form, History, Materials” (Kantor); “New Utopian Forms” (Ruderman)
- English 4542: The Nineteenth-Century British Novel
Recent Topics: Bleak Houses — Dickens, Satire, Modern Gothic (Galvan)
- English 4564: Major Author in 19thCentury British Literature
Recent Topics: “Byron and Dangerous Ideas” (Kantor); “Oscar Wilde” (Galvan); “Lord Byron and his Circle” (Risinger); “Words, State, Worth: Wordsworth” (Kantor)
- English 4590.04H: Honors Seminar in Romanticism
Recent topics: “Romanticism and the Visual” (Simmons); “Romanticism and Revolutionary Experience” (Risinger)
- English 4590.05H: Honors Seminar in the later nineteenth-century
Recent Topics: The Victorians Today: Inspirations and Adaptations (Galvan)
- English 6746: Introduction to Graduate Study in British Literature of the Romantic Period
Recent topics: “Ballads, Traditions, Superstitions” (Simmons) and “Romanticism After History” (Risinger)
- English 6747: Introduction to Graduate Study in British Literature of the Victorian Period
- English 7840: Seminar in English Romantic Literature
Recent topics: “Romanaticism and Critique” (Risinger)
- English 7844: Seminar in Victorian Literature
Recent topics: “Replotting Victorian Marriage and Family” (Galvan) and “The Fin de Siècle” (Galvan)
Recent lectures and workshops for Ohio State graduate students on nineteenth-century topics have been led by David Kurnick, Nancy Yousef, Diedre Lynch and D.A. Miller.
- English 3364: Special Topics in Popular Culture
Recent topic: Janeites: Austen Fiction, Films and Fans (Warhol)
- English 4575: Special Topics in Literary Forms and Themes
Recent topics: “Spirit Media: Horror in Print, Cinema, and Video Games” (Kantor) and “Repetitions of the Romantic: An Investigation into Romantic and Post-Romantic Art” (Ruderman)
- English 4592: Special Topics in Women in Literature and Culture
Recent topic: “The Marriage Plot” (Warhol)
AFFILIATED PROJECTS AND GROUPS
In this eminently-informal reading group, faculty and graduate students converge one or twice a semester to share research and advice, discuss influential new work in nineteenth-century studies or even gain amusement by reading late eighteenth-century gothic drama.
Coordinators: Jamison Kantor and Jake Risinger
The Victorian Serial Novels website allows readers to get easy access to parts of Victorian novels in the order in which they were published in the nineteenth century. Users can navigate to a particular month and year to read installments of novels that came out simultaneously.
Contact: Robyn Warhol
The Dickens Universe is a unique cultural event that brings together scholars, teachers, students and members of the general public for a week of stimulating discussion and festive social activity on the beautiful Santa Cruz campus of the University of California. The event focuses on one or two Victorian novels, usually (but not always) one by Charles Dickens. Ohio State sends at least one graduate student to Dickens Universe each year.
Contact: Aman Garcha and Jill Galvan
GRADUATE STUDENT AND RECENT ALUMNI PUBLICATIONS
- Matthew Connolly, “He Comes of a Soldier Breed”: the Anglo-Boer War, Racial Decay, and the Rise of the Medical Inspection in British Schools.” The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies 5.2 (Fall 2017): 29-45.
- Joey Kim, “Disorienting ‘Shapes’ in Shelley’s The Revolt of Islam.” Keats-Shelley Review: Special Issue on The Revolt of Islam: Texts, Subtexts, Contexts 32.2 (September 2018).
- Joe McQueen, “Oscar Wilde’s Catholic Aesthetics in a Secular Age,” SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-190057.4 (2017) 865-886.
- Kelsey Paige Mason, "Writing Revolution: Orwell’s Not-So-Plain Style in Animal Farm." Critical Insights: Animal Farm, edited by Thomas Horan, Salem Press, September 2018, 75-90.
- Collen Morrisey, “‘Alive to Distant, Dead to Near’: Masochism, Suicide, and Masculinity in North and South.” Studies in the Novel 51.2 (Summer 2019).