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Michael Tondre

Associate Professor of English
Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2010
Nineteenth-century British literature, history and philosophy of science, critical theory, gender and sexuality
Humanities 1089
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  • Biography


    Michael Tondre joined the English Department after completing his graduate work at Oxford University (M.Phil, 2003) and at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ph.D., 2010). His first book is  The Physics of Possibility: Victorian Fiction, Science, and Gender (2018). Tondre’s writing has also appeared in  PMLA, ELH, Victorian Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, and  Nineteenth-Century Literature, and has received the  2019 Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Article Prize and the 2018 Society for Literature, Science and the Arts Essay Prize.

    His current research addresses the politics of energy and the shaping force of literature in imagining regimes of resource extraction, circulation, and consumption. He is writing Refinement: Oil, Aestheticism, and the British Atlantic World, 1850-1930, which asks how doctrines about aesthetic cultivation and l’art pour l’art animated global fantasies of petroleum power, and vice versa, in the era heralding the dawn of oil culture. An abridged chapter from that project is forthcoming. Prof. Tondre teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on literature and climate change, Victorian imperial imaginaries, aestheticism and decadence, and new and pre-modern materialisms.

  • CV
  • Selected Publications


    The Physics of Possibility: Victorian Fiction, Science, and Gender (U of Virginia Press, Victorian Literature and Culture series)

    "Conrad's Carbon Imaginary: Oil, Imperialism, and the Victorian Petro-Archive," Victorian Literature and Culture (“Open Ecologies” special issue, forthcoming)

    "The Impassive Novel: 'Brain-Building' in Walter Pater's Marius the Epicurean" PMLA 133 (2018): 329-346.

    "'The Interval of Expectation': Delay, Delusion, and the Psychology of Suspense in Armadale,"  ELH 78 (2011): 585-608.

    "George Eliot's 'Fine Excess': Middlemarch, Energy, and the Afterlife of Feeling,"  Nineteenth-Century Literature 67 (2012): 204-233.

    Review: “The Life of George Eliot, by Barbara Henry,”  Nineteenth- Century Literature 67 (2013): 561-564.

    Review: “Vision, Science, and Literature, by Martin Willis,”  Victorian Studies 56 (2014): 375-380 .