Linda M. Austin

Professor Emerita
Ph.D, University of Rochester 

Areas of Interest & Expertise, Graduate Courses Taught 

My studies explore the literature and culture of the long nineteenth century in British literature, the period from 1780 to 1917. I have written on the intersection of literature with the century’s movements in economics, psychology, and painting, and ballet, and have focused recently on the place of physiological memory in the literature and visual arts of England and the continent, particularly on depictions of nostalgia in these media.  My forthcoming book covers the traditional opposition between the organic and the machine through the century’s theories of involuntary and unconscious mental and physical movement and the role these automatisms play in seminal theories of dance and photography, as well as in the professionalization of writing and the understanding of inspiration and genius. I am pursuing connections between the history of measuring genius and creativity in the behavioral sciences with contemporary literary investments in the indeterminacy of specific poetical styles.  In addition to courses in Victorian poetry and intellectual prose, I teach classes in reading the photographic image and critical theory.  On the graduate level, I have recently taught seminars in the Pre-Raphaelites and phenomenologies of memory.

Selected Publications

  • Automatism and Creative Acts in the Age of New Psychology. (Cambridge University Press, 2018).
  •  "Elaborations of the Machine: Automata Ballets." Modernism/Modernity 23.1 (2016): 65-87.
  •  “The Nostalgic Moment and the Sense of History.”  postmedieval:  a journal of medieval cultural studies 2.2 (2011): 127-40.
  •  "John Stuart Mill and the Paradox of Happiness." World Picture 3 (Spring 2009)
  • Nostalgia in Transition1780-1917 (Charlottesville:  University of Virginia Press, 2007).
  • "Aesthetic Embarrassment: the Reversion to the Picturesque in Nineteenth-Century English Tourism." ELH 74 (2007): 629-53. 
  • The Practical Ruskin: Economics and Audience in the Late Work. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1991).

Recent Conference Presentations

  • "Word-Association Testing and the Aesthetics of Modern Genius." American Association of Comparative Literature. Los Angeles, 2018. 
  • "Photographic Latencies." American Associaton of Comparative Literature. Seattle, 2015. 
  • "The Nostalgic Moment" (keynote lecture). The Medievalism of Nostalgia. University of Melbourne, 2009.