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Faculty and Staff Profiles

Joshua Wilner

Senior Faculty Advisor for Undergraduate Education


Division of Humanities and the Arts




NAC 6/317B

p: 212-650-6307


  • Profile

    The son of a City College graduate, Professor Wilner grew up on Long Island. He received an A.B. in French Literature from Cornell in 1969, taught grade school in the South Bronx from 1970 to 1972, and then went on to receive a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale in 1980. Following an appointment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1981 to 1985, he joined the City College Department of English in 1985 as a specialist in Romanticism and critical theory. From 1991 to 1994 he served as Chair of English; from 1996 to 2000 as Director of the Simon H. Rifkind Center for the Humanities and the Arts and also as Deputy Dean of the Division of Humanities and the Arts; and then again as Chair of English in 2005 and 2006. He is also Director of the College's Program in Comparative Literature. In 1994 he received City College's Outstanding Teacher Award, and in 2008 was co-recipient with mentee Kimberly Paige Young of the College's Outstanding Mentor Award. He is a former President of the International Conference on Romanticism is currently associate editor of its journal, Essays in Romanticism.
  • Education

    A.B. in French Literature, Cornell University, 1969

    Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, Yale University, 1980

  • Courses Taught

    Introduction to Literary Study

    Representative Writers of the Romantic Period

    The Freudian Text

    City Texts

    Problems in Contemporary Theory

    The Industrial Revolution and its Discontents

    Interpretation, Evidence and Authority

    Thinking in Pieces: Pascal, Dickinson, Wittgenstein

    Wordsworth's Prelude: Origins and Afterlife

    Lyric, Prose, Modernity

    Critical Reading and Writing

    Historical Introduction to Literary Theory

    Freshman Composition

    Freshman Inquiry Writing Seminar: Literature and Psychoanalysis

  • Research Interests

    Professor Wilner's main areas of interest are Romanticism (especially Romantic poetry and autobiography) and critical theory. His critical approach is informed by deconstruction, psychoanalysis, queer studies (particularly the work of Eve Sedgwick) and ordinary language philosophy, above all the work of Wittgenstein and Cavell. Current projects include Wordsworth and Mandelbrot on the Coast of Britain: Romantic Poetics and the Fractal Geometry of Nature; Thinking in Pieces: Pascal, Dickinson, Wittgenstein; and Lyric, Prose, Modernity, is a study of experimental prose from Rousseau to Gertrude Stein.
  • Publications

    Professor Wilner has published essays and reviews in such journals as MLN, Genre, Diacritics, Romantic Circles Praxis, European Romantic Review and Studies in Romanticism; contributed chapters to various collections (most recently, Romantic Autobiography in England, Ashgate, 2009; and Stanley Cavell and Literary Studies: Consequences of Skepticism, Continuum, 2011) and his book Feeding on Infinity: Readings in the Romantic Rhetoric of Internalization (Hopkins, 2000) was the recipient of the Jean-Pierre Barricelli annual book award of the American Conference on Romanticism. He is also the translator of Jacques Derrida's Shibboleth: for Paul Celan.
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