Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud

Assistant Professor


My research focuses on Romanticism and its relation to contemporary political phenomena (revolutions, parliamentary reform, mass activism). My first book, Radical Orientalism: Rights, Reform, and Romanticism (Cambridge University Press, 2015), reconsidered the exotic fictions and allusions of Byron, the Shelleys, and reformers in light of the liberal political and economic ideas that shook Britain after the French Revolution. My next project, provisionally titled Forms for Radicals: Romanticism and the Art of Change, will examine how aesthetic practices shaped national politics and public sentiment in the Romantic era.

In terms of teaching, I offer courses on Romantic poetry and novels, on representations of the Middle East, on the intersection of politics and literature, and on theories of sexuality, gender, and affect. I have started to incorporate digital methodologies into my classes. For my “Radical Romanticism” course, graduate students selected and composed the texts for a website on “Romantic Politics” while those in “Affect in Nineteenth-Century Literature” produced “Affectsphere: Keywords in Affect Theory.”

At the departmental level, I participate actively in the 19th-Century British Research Seminar with my colleagues Nancy HenryAmy Billone, Hilary Havens, and Misty Anderson. You can see the events we’ve recently organized on the seminar’s blog.


Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, University of Chicago
B.A. in Comparative Literature, University of Michigan


  • Radical Orientalism: Rights, Reform, and Romanticism (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • “Rhyme’s Crimes,” ELH 82.3 (Fall 2015) 987-1012.
  • “Capitalism’s Wishful Thinking,” Modern Language Quarterly 76.2 (June 2015) 181-99.
  • “Beyond the Pale: Edwin Drood and the ‘Sanctity of Human Life,’” Dickens Studies Annual 46 (2015) 277-96.
  • “Byron and Oriental Love,” Nineteenth-Century Literature 68.1 (June 2013) 1-32.
  • “On Octopussies, or the Anatomy of Female Power,” differences 23:1 (Spring 2012) 32-61.
  • “Becoming Corsairs: Byron, British Property Rights and Orientalist Economics,” Studies in Romanticism 50:4 (Winter 2011) 685-714.