Dr Michèle Mendelssohn

PEER-REVIEWED BOOKS

Making Oscar Wilde (Oxford University Press, July 2018, 374 pages + 32 pages of illustrations)

Cover for Making Oscar Wilde

 A Sunday Times MUST READ

The Guardian 2018 BEST SUMMER  BOOKS

One of BBC Culture's 10 BOOKS TO READ IN JULY

"A retelling of Wilde's American adventure that genuinely makes you rethink vital elements of his life and work ... Mendelssohn's research is prodigious." – Rachel Cooke in The Observer

"Mendelssohn's remarkable book … uncovers material missed by lengthier biographies, even Richard Ellmann's, and conveys the excitement of real research and discovery." – John Carey in The Sunday Times

"An extraordinary new take on Wilde. Even those who claim to know him intimately will be astonished and enthralled by Mendelssohn’s fresh perspective on his multifaceted life."– Eleanor Fitzsimons in The Irish Times 

"Mendelssohn’s scrupulous account humanizes Wilde" – Alexander C. Kafka in The Washington Post

"A stylish account of [Wilde's] tumultuous rise, fall and resurrection... a hugely important and enjoyable book." –  Irish Post

"A fascinating account of how young Wilde’s flair for self-promotion aligned with the birth of celebrity culture during the "age of Barnum" –  BBC Culture

"A vivid, intelligent look at Victorian celebrity culture through the rise to fame of one of its brightest stars." –  New York Journal of Books

"Mendelssohn’s enlightening and provocative study. ... recovers and analyzes overlooked historical narratives and images... Making Oscar Wilde is a breezily paced and entertaining read, and throughout Mendelssohn’s style is refreshingly unstuffy." – Gregory Mackie in Literary Review of Canada

"A fresh look at Oscar Wilde's English, Irish and American contexts." –  Kirkus Review

"Mendelssohn's book reveals a man for whom the word charisma could have been invented, but also a man living on the edge. ... This portrayal of Wilde will only add to the lustre of his reputation." – Steve Craggs in The Northern Echo

"Now that America has come to seem so unsettled and so strange, two books help us to become more alarmed. One is Michèle Mendelssohn’s Making Oscar Wilde. It charts the early rise of Wilde, with special attention to how, during the 1880s, his lecture tours in America, a country beguiled by novelty and in need of excitement, made his name. As long as it was new, it seemed, America wanted it" – Colm Tóibín in The Guardian 

"One of the most devastating, complex and presently political literary biographies I’ve ever read." – Eileen Myles, author of Chelsea Girls 

"Making Oscar Wilde is a fresh, exciting and illuminating study of the construction of celebrity and reputation. … The story of St. Oscar will never be the same." – Elaine Showalter, Professor Emerita of English, Princeton University and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature

"Mendelssohn ... refocuses the young Wilde for a new generation." – Franny Moyle, author of Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde 

"Vividly written, consistently illuminating, and lavishly illustrated, this book is full of surprises, above all in showing how Wilde’s Irishness played into the story of race relations in post-Civil War America." – Michael Gorra, author of Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece

"An original, meticulously-researched and beautifully-paced account of how a modern writer invented himself, and was invented, as an international artist-celebrity." – Declan Kiberd, Professor of Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame and author of Ulysses and Us

"You may not think there is new stuff to learn about Oscar Wilde, but there is – as this book proves."  – Gyles Brandreth, President of the Oscar Wilde Society and author of the Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries

 

 

Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture (Edinburgh University Press, 2007; paperback 2014, 310 pages.)

Cover for Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture

Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture shows how two of the 19th century's foremost authors profoundly influenced each other and the period's literary and visual culture. Nominated for the 2008 British Association of American Studies Book Prize, the book explores why being ‘aesthetic’ mattered so much to Victorians on both sides of the sea and explains how Aestheticism responded to anxieties about culture, originality, sexuality and nationality.

“Tremendously impressive... exceptionally strong” – Joseph Bristow in Victorian Studies

“Scrupulous scholarship… ground-breaking analysis” – Ian Bell in Journal of American Studies

“Fresh and detailed ... intelligent, probing ... Mendelssohn is surely right to push us to think about other ways of conceiving of James, Wilde and James-Wilde, ... this is always a rewarding and original book to read” – Mark Turner in 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century

“Mendelssohn presents a fairer, more even-handed, subtler and completer picture… The book belongs to what might be called the history of ideas” – Bernard Richards in Essays in Criticism

“Marked by brilliantly detailed renderings of period literary relations and deft close readings, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and Aesthetic Culture intervenes powerfully in debates about taste, commodification, sexuality, professionalization, identity, and originality in Victorian and modernist literature and culture.” – Douglas Mao, Johns Hopkins University

“In this engrossing book, Michèle Mendelssohn challenges the longstanding assumption that Henry James and Oscar Wilde shunned each other’s influence… Written with verve, and substantiated with meticulous research, Mendelssohn’s study offers a fresh perspective on aestheticism while illuminating the obscurities of a fascinating literary friendship.” – Maud Ellmann, University of Chicago

 

  Late Victorian into Modern, 1880-1920 Edited by Laura Marcus, Michèle Mendelssohn and Kirsten Shepherd-Barr. (Oxford University Press, 2016, 672 pages)

Cover for Late Victorian into Modern

This ground-breaking book of 40 new essays opens up the fin de siècle and Modernism by interrogating the literary critical currency of these terms. Drawing on the work of established and emerging scholars of literature, this volume rethinks and expands the classic categories that have dominated criticism of the period.

Shortlisted for the 2017 Modernist Studies Association Book Prize

 

     

    Writing Under the Influence: Essays on Alan Hollinghurst Edited by Michèle Mendelssohn and Denis Flannery. (Manchester University Press, 2016, reissued in paperback in 2018, 211 pages.)

    Cover for Alan Hollinghurst

    This innovative, cross-generic collection is the first to consider the entire breadth of Alan Hollinghurst's Booker Prize-winning writing. Focused through the concept of influence, the volume addresses critical issues surrounding the work of Britain's most important contemporary novelist. It encompasses provocative and timely subjects ranging from gay visual cultures to Victorian, modernist and contemporary literature, as well as race and empire, theatre and cinema, eros and economics.

    “Thanks in no small part to the contributions of this volume, Hollinghurst scholarship has come of age” –Ed Dodson in Review of English Studies 

    “Plumbs Hollinghurst’s debts to such figures as James, Firbank, and Housman… [and] place[s] the novelist in dialogue with more surprising literary and artistic sources…. Crediting Hollinghurst’s fiction with conducting acts of queer theorizing and queer critique pays tribute to the intelligence of his novels and links his work to active research agendas in queer theory.” –Charles Tyson in the Los Angeles Review of Books

     

     

    CHAPTERS IN PEER-REVIEWED BOOKS

    1. “A Decadent Dream Deferred: the Harlem Renaissance's Queer Modernity” Decadence in the Age of Modernism​. Eds. Kate Hext and Alex Murray (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018, in press).
    2. “Reading Cosmopolitanism, Aestheticism and Decadence” Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature: Late Victorian into Modern. Eds. Laura Marcus, Michèle Mendelssohn and Kirsten Shepherd-Barr. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2016. 482-496.
    3. “Poetry, Parody, Porn and Prose” Alan Hollinghurst: Writing Under the Influence. Eds. Denis Flannery and Michèle Mendelssohn. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2016. 41-56.
    4. Oscar Wilde, Henry James and the Fate of Aestheticism.Oscar Wilde in Context. Eds. Kerry Powell and Peter Raby (Cambridge UP, 2014)
    5. 'Aestheticism and Decadence.' Henry James in Context. Ed. David McWhirter (Cambridge UP, 2010): 93-104.
    6. “The Tragic Muse.” A Critical Companion to Henry James. Eds. Eric Haralson and Kendall Johnson. Clearmark Books, 2009.
    7. 'I'm not a bit expensive': Henry James and the Sexualization of the Victorian Girl.' The Nineteenth Century Child and Consumer Culture. Ed. Dennis Denisoff (Ashgate, 2008)
    8. “Oscar Wilde”, Men and Masculinities: A Social, Cultural and Historical Encyclopedia, Eds. Michael S. Kimmel and Amy Aronson. ABC-Clio Press, 2004. 830-833.

    PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES​​​​​​

    1. Rewriting the Genealogy of Minstrelsy for Modernity: "Cry and Sing, Walk and Rage, Scream and Dance"' African American Review (Spring 2015)
    2. 'Beautiful Souls Mixed up with Hooked Noses: Art, Degeneration and Anti-Semitism in Trilby and The Master.' Victorian Literature and Culture 40.1 (March 2012): 179-197.
    3. 'Notes on Oscar Wilde's Transatlantic Gender Politics.' Journal of American Studies 46.1 (February 2012):1-15.
    4. “Homosociality and the Aesthetic in James’s Roderick Hudson”. Nineteenth-Century Literature, March 2003. Vol. 57, no. 4: 512-541.
    5. “Reconsidering Race, Language, and Identity in The Emperor Jones”. The Eugene O’Neill Review, Spring/ Fall 1999. Vol. 23, nos. 1 & 2: 19-30.

      Leadership 

      She reviews for journals and advises on book proposals for several publishers. She welcomes further opportunities.

      Teaching and Doctoral Supervision 

      Professor Mendelssohn teaches the following undergraduate and postgraduate courses:

      • Literature in English 1830-1910 (Prelims Paper 3)
      • Literature in English 1910-Present Day (Prelims Paper 4)
      • Contemporary Canadian Literature and Cosmopolitanism (Paper 6)
      • The Fin de siecle (Paper 6)
      • MSt 1830-1914: Core Course in Contexts & Approaches (A course)
      • MSt Oscar Wilde and Archival Materials (B course)
      • MSt Lessons of the Master: Henry James and his Legacy (C course)
      • MSt The Literature of Decadence, 1835-1932 (C course)

      She has supervised many doctoral students to successful completion. She welcomes applications from new doctoral students, particularly those interested in researching transatlantic cultural histories and working with British, American and Canadian archives.

       

       

       

       

         

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          Selected Awards and Fellowships

          • McGill University Institute for the Study of Canada Eakin Fellowship 2017-18

          • Oxford Research Excellence Framework Strategic Fund Award 2017

          • Yale University Beinecke Fellowship 2014

          • Oxford John Fell Research Fund Award 2011

          • Emory University Research Fellowship in African American History & Culture 2011

          • Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship 2010-11

          • University of Utah Tanner Centre Visiting Fellowship in the Humanities 2009-10 

          • British Library Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship in North American Studies 2007-8

          • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC; declined)  2004-6

          • Canada-U.S. Fulbright Fellowship 2001-3

          • Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2001-4

          • Organization of American States Fellowship 2002-3

          • King’s College Graduate Student Fund Grant 2002

          • Fellowship, Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (declined) 2001-2

          • Ferris Fund Grant for study at University of Perugia 2001

          • Cambridge University Allen, Meek and Read Award 2000-1

          • Doctoral Fellowship, Overseas Research Student Award (ORSAS) from the United Kingdom 1999-2002

          • Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Award 1999-2003

          • King’s College, Cambridge Studentship 1999-2003

          • Graduate Fellowship, Fonds pour la Formation des Chercheurs du Québec 1998-2000

          • Graduate Fellowship, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst 1998-9

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