I work at the crossroads of literature, philosophy, and the arts. My work explores how literature and art illuminate ways we live—how they help us think and understand the world and offer much more than fictions.

I have been happily teaching literature and writing for fifteen years. I have a passion for the early moments in a student’s career—courses in critical thinking, courageous reading, and effective writing—that occasion formative learning experiences applicable well beyond the confines of one course. I am also a writer, scholar, and adviser.

In my work I grant literary and artistic texts the authority of worldbound knowledge and insight. I have written on nineteenth-century literatures, literary theory and criticism, literature and everyday life, gender and sexuality, and philosophical approaches to reading literature, art, and film. I have recently published essays on Emily Dickinson (Oxford Studies in Philosophy and Literature), Ludwig Wittgenstein (Philosophy and Literary Studies, Cambridge University Press), and Jane Austen (Modern Language Association’s Teaching World Literature).

I was educated in two committedly interdisciplinary programs: the UC San Diego Literature Department (B.A., 1998) and the Program in Literature at Duke University (Ph.D., 2007). I have served on the faculty in the English Departments at Rhode Island College, Boston University, and Florida Atlantic University, and I have also taught at Duke University. I am a Lecturer at UC Berkeley.

My interests expand every day. I try to grate against the requirement to specialize as responsibly as possible. Outside of the classroom, I really love to garden, visit museums, and go to the movies.


PhD, Duke University, Program in Literature, 2007

BA, UC San Diego, Literature, 1998

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    Magdalena Ostas

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