Magdalena Ostas


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 for fifteen years.

My published work focuses on nineteenth-century literature and culture; Romanticism; literature and everyday life; literature and ethics; gender and sexuality; and philosophical approaches to literature, art, and film. I have recently published essays on Ludwig Wittgenstein (Cambridge Studies in Literature and Philosophy), Jane Austen (Modern Language Association’s Teaching World Literature), Emily Dickinson (Oxford Studies in Philosophy and Literature and, and William Wordsworth (

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.

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


Selected Publications

Articles and Book Chapters

“Storied Thoughts: Wittgenstein and the Reaches of Fiction,” in Wittgenstein and Literary Studies, ed. Robert Chodat and John Gibson, Cambridge Studies in Literature and Philosophy (Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2023).

“Romanticism and the Everyday,” Literature Compass 19.11 (2022), 1-10.

“Thinking with Austen: Literature, Philosophy, and Anne Elliot’s Inner World,” in Approaches to Teaching Austen’s Persuasion, eds. Marcia Folsom and John Wiltshire (Modern Language Association, 2021), 129-34.

“Interiority and Expression in Dickinson’s Lyrics,” in The Poetry of Emily Dickinson: Philosophical Approaches, ed. Elisabeth Camp, Oxford Studies in Literature and Philosophy (Oxford UP, 2021), 59-82.  

“Form and Feeling in Photography: A Response to Walter Benn Michaels,” 32 (Fall 2020),

“The Aesthetics of Absorption,” in Michael Fried and Philosophy: Modernism, Intention, and Theatricality, ed. Mathew Abbott (Routledge, 2018), 171-188.

“Keats’s Voice,” special issue on Reading Keats, Thinking Politics, Studies in Romanticism 50.2 (Summer 2011): 333–348.

“Wordsworth, Wittgenstein, and the Reconstruction of the Everyday,” special issue: No Quarrel: Literature and Philosophy Today, 3 (Fall 2011),

“Kant with Michael Fried: Feeling, Absorption, and Interiority in the Critique of Judgment,” special issue on Emotions, symplokē 18.1-2 (2010): 15–30.

“Keats and the Impersonal Craft of Writing,” in Romanticism and the Object, ed. Larry Peer (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 117–135.

“Rereading Nietzsche in Theory: Aesthetics and the Movement of Genealogy in the Early Work,” International Studies in Philosophy 37.1 (2005): 65–80.

Public Writing

“How Should Literature Mean? A Conversation about Art and Ambiguity,” Aesthetics for Birds, February 2023,

“Emily Dickinson and the creative ‘solitude of space,’”, March 2022,


473 Wheeler

Office Hours

Wed. 2-4 PM and by appointment.