BA (London) MLitt (Stirling) PhD (Southampton)
Professor Joseph Bristow, who joined UCLA in 1996, teaches a range of courses in Victorian and modern literature, as well as in theories and histories of sexuality. His areas of special interest are British aestheticism (particularly Oscar Wilde and his circle), decadence, and Edwardian writing.
In the 1980s and 1990s, he published extensively on Victorian poetry; his publications from these decades include Nineteenth-Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthology (co-edited with Isobel Armstrong and Cath Sharrock) (1996, revised 1998), which has helped reshape the study of women’s writings of the late Romantic and Victorian eras. At the same time, he established fresh research in the emerging field of LGBT literary studies, including the edited collection, Sexual Sameness: Textual Differences in Lesbian and Gay Writing (1992), Effeminate England: Homoerotic Writing after 1885 (1995), and Sexuality (1997, second edition 2010) in the New Critical Idiom series from Routledge.
During the past ten years, Professor Bristow has continued his research on Victorian poetry. His publications in this field include The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Poetry (2000) and The Fin-de-Siècle Poem: English Literary Culture and the 1890s (2005). Currently, he is completing a full-length study titled “The Sex of Victorian Poetry,” which examines the gendering of poetic genres from the 1830s to the 1880s.
Since joining UCLA, Professor Bristow has been closely involved with scholarly activities related to William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. During 1999-2000, in his role as Clark Professor, he arranged the programs of four conferences, which led to the publication of the essay collection, Wilde Writings: Contextual Conditions (University of Toronto Press, 2003). Selections from the 2004 conference, “Wilde at 150,” formed the basis of another collection, Oscar Wilde and Modern Culture: The Making of a Legend, which Ohio University Press issued in early 2009. In 2005, Oxford University Press published his variorum edition of Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Two years later, Oxford published his edition of the 1891 text of this novel in the World’s Classics series In 2013, University of Toronto Press published his third edited collection of critical essays on Wilde: Wilde Discoveries; Traditions, Histories, Archives. In December 2014, Yale University Press will publish a study (coauthored with Rebecca N. Mitchell), Oscar Wilde’s Chatterton: Literary History, Romanticism, and the Art of Forgery, which takes Wilde’s “Chatterton” notebook as the starting-point for considering Thomas Chatterton’s cultural and poetic legacy, on the one hand, and Wilde’s interest in producing a history of literary Romanticism, on the other hand.
In 2007, Professor Bristow directed “The Wilde Archive”: a five-week summer seminar for both university and college teachers sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. This seminar led to the conference of the same name, which was hosted at the Clark Library in 2009. In 2009, Professor Bristow directed a second NEH summer seminar, “The Decadent 1890s,” at the Clark Library. A third NEH-sponsored seminar, “Oscar Wilde and His Circle,” took place at the Clark Library during late June and July 2012. He has also taught several graduate and undergraduate courses based on researching the Clark’s Wilde-related collections.
During 2010-11, in his second term as Clark Professor, Professor Bristow directed a yearlong program titled “Cultures of Aestheticism” at the Clark Library. In addition, in 2011 he participated in the group that presented the XXII North American James Joyce Conference, which was held at The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in June 2011.
At present, Professor Bristow continues his responsibilities as editor of Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture, which was established in 2003; by the end of 2013 the series will contain more than thirty titles. In addition, since January 2010, he has served as an editor of the Journal of Victorian Culture, which Taylor and Francis publish under its Routledge imprint.
Recent essays by Professor Bristow have either appeared in Modernism/Modernity (2009), The Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory (ed. Gregory Castle et al [Wiley, 2010]), The Cambridge Companion to Lesbian and Gay Writing (ed. Hugh Stevens [Cambridge University Press, 2010]), and The Victorians, New Cambridge History of English (ed. Kate Flint [Cambridge University Press, 2012]), Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature (2010). The editors of Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 commissioned him to write the long survey essay on the year’s work of scholarship in nineteenth-century literary studies for 2010, which appeared in November 2011. Some of his newer essays—one on Rupert Brooke’s poetry, another on Wilde’s poetry—are forthcoming in ELH and Wilde in Context (Cambridge University Press), respectively. He is also the editor of a cluster of papers on Irish aestheticism, which will appear in Modernism/Modernity in August 2014.
Currently, Professor Bristow is serving as chair or co-chair of five dissertation committees. His advisees are working topics that include genealogies of the queer aesthetic book, conversing in late-Victorian print media, feminine singularity in mid-Victorian writing, atmospherics in Victorian fiction, and the Fabian child. His future research is likely to include a detailed study called “Oscar Wilde: A Life in Writing” and a study of English poetry in an age of aestheticism.