Department of English Language & Literature and the College
Benjamin Morgan focuses on the intersection of literature, science, and aesthetics in the Victorian period and early twentieth century. Recently he has looked at how Victorian psychologists explained the pleasure felt during simple experiences of beauty and how this scientific discourse informed aesthetic practices from writing literature to crafting everyday objects.
He is currently working on a book, “The Matter of Beauty,” in which he investigates aesthetic experiences that do not involve contemplation or reflection. It evaluates the use of physiology in literary and aesthetic criticism, the importance of personal “creativity” for ideologies of individualism, and materialist accounts of the self within aestheticism and decadence.
Morgan published “Aesthetic Freedom: Walter Pater and the Politics of Autonomy” in ELH: English Literary History (77.3, 2010) and “Undoing Legal Violence: Walter Benjamin’s and Giorgio Agamben’s Aesthetics of Pure Means” in the Journal of Law and Society (34.1, 2007). Morgan received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2010.
Morgan joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2010.