Talia Schaffer

Distinguished Professor
Interim co-chair at The Graduate Center, English Department
Klapper Hall, Room 614

You can find my short CV here.

Research Interests

Nineteenth-century literature and material culture; domestic realism; marriage plot; ethics of care; disability studies; decorative arts; noncanonical writers; aestheticism; women’s writing; cultural studies; late-Victorian literature and culture; feminism and canon revision.

Teaching Interests

I often teach MA or senior seminar courses on disability studies and feminist theory, using 19th century British texts as case studies. It’s fascinating to see how ideas about the body and gender changed over the centuries, and how Victorian writers were able to access alternative models for understanding caregiving and suffering. I’m also interested in the changing ways feminist critics have understood such central texts as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, from expressions of women’s rage to delineations of women’s entrapment, and how race has or has not been part of those conversations. I often teach a seminar on Jane Austen, who helped invent the modern novel form and placed women’s experiences and the marriage plot at its center; we talk about narrative form, the uses of satire, and the fraught global politics of her era. Additionally, I”m very interested in Victorian women writers who have not been widely read, and I try to include at least one of these relatively obscure texts in my classes, so that students can have the pleasure of discovering someone and writing on that topic in a way that feels fresh and important.

Selected Publications

Communities of Care: The Social Ethics of Victorian Fiction, Princeton University Press, 2021.

Romance’s Rival: Familiar Marriage and Victorian Fiction, Oxford University Press, 2016. Winner: Best Book of 2016, North American Victorian Studies Association.

Novel Craft: Fiction and the Victorian Domestic Handicraft, Oxford University Press, 2011.

The Forgotten Female Aesthetes: Literary Culture in Late-Victorian England, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000.

Women and British Aestheticism, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999. Co-edited collection, with Kathy A. Psomiades, Duke University.

Selected Edited Collections

The Routledge Companion to Victorian Literature, co-ed. Dennis Denisoff and Talia Schaffer, Routledge, 2019.

“Extending Families”: special issue of Victorian Review, 39:2 (2013). Co-edited with Kelly Hager (Simmons College).

Literature and Culture at the Fin de Siècle, Addison-Wesley Longman & Company, 2006. Edited, selected, and annotated 700-pp. teaching anthology.

The History of Sir Richard Calmady, by Lucas Malet, Birmingham University Press, 2003. Edited, wrote introduction and notes.