Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud

Assistant Professor


My research focuses on Romanticism and its relation to contemporary political phenomena (revolution, industrialization, mass activism). My first book, Radical Orientalism: Rights, Reform, and Romanticism( published in July 2015 by Cambridge University Press), reconsiders the exoticism of Byron, the Shelleys, and others in light of the liberal political and economic ideas that shook Britain after the French Revolution. I have also begun work on my next monograph, which will think in formalist ways about how aesthetic practices shaped national political life during 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, and Misty Anderson. You can see the events we’ve recently organized on the seminar’s blog.

During the 2014-15 academic year, I am on leave, teaching at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, Morocco on a Fulbright award.


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


  • “Rhyme’s Crimes,” forthcoming in ELH (2015)
  • “Capitalism’s Wishful Thinking,” forthcoming in Modern Language Quarterly (2015)
  • Beyond the Pale: Edwin Drood and the ‘Sanctity of Human Life,’” forthcoming in Dickens Studies Annual 46 (2015)
  • “Byron and Oriental Love,” Nineteenth-Century Literature 68.1 (June 2013) 1-32.
  • “On Octopussies, or the Anatomy of Female Power,” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 23:1 (Spring 2012) 32-61.
  • “Becoming Corsairs: Byron, British Property Rights and Orientalist Economics,” Studies in Romanticism 50:4 (Winter 2011) 685-714