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Dustin Friedman

Department of Literature
Dustin Friedman teaches courses in nineteenth-century British literature, LGBT Studies, and Gender Studies. His areas of interest include Victorian aestheticism and decadence, the history of sexuality, the history and theory of aesthetics, and global nineteenth-century writing. His current book project, tentatively titled “Erotic Negativity and the Queer Subject of Victorian Aestheticism,” explores the relationship between artistic experience and homoerotic desire in the writings of authors such as Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, Vernon Lee (Violet Paget), and the Michael Field poets (Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper). He has also begun work on a project that examines representations of South Asian and Southeast Asian masculinities in nineteenth-century writing. His research has been supported by the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library in Los Angeles, CA, and his writings have appeared in the Journal of Modern Literature, ELH, Studies in Romanticism, Literature Compass, and Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism. He previously taught at the National University of Singapore and at the University of California, Los Angeles. For more information, visit his website at


PhD, English, University of California-Los Angeles; MA, English, University of California-Los Angeles; BA, English (Highest Honors), University of California-Berkeley (Highest Distinction in General Scholarship)

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CAS - Literature
Battelle Tompkins - 215
Contact Info
(202) 885-2963

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For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Professional Website

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications


“E.M. Forster, the Clapham Sect, and the Secular Public Sphere,” Journal of Modern Literature 39.1 (2015), 19-37.

 “Negative Eroticism: Lyric Performativity and the Sexual Subject in Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Portrait of Mr. W.H.’,” ELH 80.2 (2013), 597-626.

 “Unsettling the Normative: Articulations of Masculinity in Victorian Literature and Culture,” Literature Compass 7.12 (2010), 1077-88.

“‘Parents of the Mind’: Mary Wollstonecraft and the Aesthetics of Productive Masculinity,” Studies in Romanticism 48.3 (2009), 423-46.

 “Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism: Euphuism, Negativity, and Genre in Walter Pater’s Marius the Epicurean,” Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism (formerly the Pater Newsletter), 55/56 (2009), 31-49.


“Beyond Heterosexuality: Mary Wollstonecraft’s Aesthetic Masculinity” in Called to Civil Existence: Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ed. Enit Steiner (Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, 2013).



“Walter Pater,” in the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, ed. Michael Ryan (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011), 373-6.

Research Interests

Victorian literature; romanticism; modern British, Irish, and Anglophone writing; gender and sexuality studies; the history and theory of aesthetics; global nineteenth-century writing 

Work In Progress


Erotic Negativity and The Queer Subject of Victorian Aestheticism

Professional Presentations

 “Michael Field, Poetic Indifference, and the Sex of Aesthetic Freedom.” Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers Annual Conference. Washington, D.C. October 27-30, 2016. 

“Walter Pater, Contradiction, and ‘Moral Sexlessness’.” The Victorians and the Democratic Imagination. Hong Kong. May 13, 2016.


“The Truth in Eros: The Anthropology of Rationality in Walter Pater’s Plato and Platonism.” North American Victorian Studies Association Annual Conference. Honolulu, Hawaii. July 9-12, 2015.


“Forgetting Pederasty in Richard Burton’s ‘Terminal Essay’.” Australasian Victorian Studies Association Annual Conference. Auckland, New Zealand. February 2-5, 2015.


“Doing Victorian Sexuality in Singapore.” Modern Language Association Conference. Vancouver, Canada. January 8-11, 2015.


“‘The inevitable force of individuality’: Sight and Song and the Erotics of Historicism.” Michael Field Centenary Conference. London, UK. July 11-12, 2014.


“Erotic Negativity: Mediating Queer Aesthetics.” Modern Language Association Conference. Boston, Massachusetts. January 3-6, 2013.


“The Gender of Aesthetic Bildung in Vernon Lee’s ‘Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady.’” Women Writers of the Fin de Siècle. London, UK. June 28-29, 2010.


“Bodies that Shatter: Teleny and the History of Sexuality.” Dickens Project Winter Conference. New Brunswick, New Jersey. April 6-8, 2007.


“Euphuism in Walter Pater’s Marius the Epicurean.” Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States. Los Angeles, California, October 26-28, 2006.


“Artificial Artlessness: Walter Pater and the ‘task of poetry’.” International Walter Pater Society Conference. New Brunswick, New Jersey. July 27-29, 2006.


“Masculinity, Aesthetics, and Sensibility in Mary Wollstonecraft’s Maria.” The Eighteenth Century Now. York, UK. June 24-16, 2006.