Magdalena Ostas

Assistant Professor of English

BA, University of California, San Diego
PhD, Duke University

Room 431
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Magdalena Ostas is Assistant Professor in the Department of English. She received her PhD from the interdisciplinary Program in Literature at Duke University.

She works and teaches in three broad areas of interest: Romantic literature and culture, with an emphasis on British Romantic poetry; intersections and interrelations of literature and philosophy, with an emphasis on the nineteenth century as well as in the tradition of Wittgenstein and Stanley Cavell; and the history of literary, cultural, and aesthetic theory. She is interested in ways that literature and philosophy can become mutually illuminating and in confrontations and conversations between them. In her research and teaching, she explores how aesthetic experience comes to be intimately bound to other kinds of experience—ethical, political, cognitive, sensual, or everyday. Some of her recent courses include Romantic Selves, Language and Literature, and Literature and Human Freedom.

Her current book project in progress, titled Romanticism and Interiority: Poetry, Narrative, Philosophy, explores the relationship between emergent pictures of subjectivity and selfhood in Romantic-era writing (Kant, Wordsworth, Keats, Austen, and others) and questions of literary form and ideas of expression. The project looks at the vital, unique, and critical role assigned to the experience of the aesthetic in Romanticism. A second project includes a series of articles on Nietzsche’s theories of art and value.

Her published work includes articles in Studies in Romanticism, nonsite, Symploke, and International Studies in Philosophy. She also serves as a contributing editor at Ordinary Language Philosophy and Literary Studies Online.


Selected Publications
  • “Wordsworth, Wittgenstein, and the Reconstruction of the Everyday.” Special Issue: “No Quarrels: Literature and Philosophy Today.” No. 3 (forthcoming 2011)
  • “Keats’s Voice.” Studies in Romanticism. Special Issue: “Reading Keats, Thinking Politics.” 50.2 (Summer 2011)
  • “Kant with Michael Fried: Feeling, Absorption, and Interiority in the Critique of Judgment.”
    Symploke. Special issue: “Emotions.” 18.1-2 (2010)
  • “Keats and the Impersonal Craft of Writing.” In Romanticism and the Object. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
  • “Rereading Nietzsche in Theory: Aesthetics and the Movement of Genealogy in the Early Work.” International Studies in Philosophy 37.1 (2005).
Work in Progress
  • Romanticism and Interiority: Poetry, Narrative, Philosophy
Honors, Grants, and Awards
  • BU Center for the Humanities, Junior Faculty Fellowship
  • Josephine de Kármán Fellowship
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