Berkeley English Lecturers and Postdocs

Magdalena Ostas

Magdalena Ostas


Professional Statement

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; literature and everyday life; literature and ethics; gender and sexuality; and philosophical approaches to literature, art, and film. 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). 

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

“Storied Thoughts: Wittgenstein and the Reaches of Fiction,” in Wittgenstein and Literature, ed. Robert Chodat and John Gibson, Cambridge Studies in Literature and Philosophy (Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2021).

“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,” invited essay for 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.

Current Research

The Aesthetics of Persons: Fates of Expressive Form in the Long Nineteenth Century (manuscript in preparation)

Thinking of Women: A History of Getting Lost (research in progress)

English Department Classes