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Lindsay Wilhelm

Assistant Professor

Address: Morrill 314C
Phone: 405-744-7691


PhD, University of California, Los Angeles


Areas of Interest & Expertise
  • Victorian literature

  • Aestheticism and Decadence

  • History of Science

  • Pacific and global Victorianism

Selected Publications
  • “Bright Sunshine, Dark Shadows: Decadent Beauty and Victorian Views of Hawai‘i.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 75 (March 2021): 495-526.

  • “Island Dandies, Transpacific Decadence, and the Politics of Style.” Forthcoming in Nineteenth-Century Literature in Transition: The 1890s, edited by Kristin Mahoney and Dustin Friedman. Under contract at Cambridge University Press.

  • “A Meeting of ‘Sister Sovereigns’: Hawaiian Royalty at Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.” In South Seas Encounters: Nineteenth-Century Oceania, Britain, and America, edited by Richard Fulton, Stephen Hancock, Peter Hoffenberg, and Allison Paynter, 63-86. New York: Routledge, 2018.

  • “Sex in Utopia: The Evolutionary Hedonism of Grant Allen and Oscar Wilde.” Victorian Literature and Culture 46 (June 2018): 403-24.

  • “The Utopian Evolutionary Aestheticism of W. K. Clifford, Walter Pater, and Mathilde Blind.” Victorian Studies 59, no. 1 (Autumn 2016): 9-34.

  • “Evolutionary Science and Aestheticism: a Survey and a Suggestion.” Literature Compass 13, no. 2 (2016): 88-97.

  • “'Looking South': Envisioning the European South in North and South.” Studies in the Novel 46, no. 4 (2014): 406-422.

Selected Conference Presentations
  • “Bright Sunshine, Dark Shadows: Decadent Beauty in Victorian Hawai’i,” Modern Language Association Convention, “Textual Transactions,” Chicago, January 3-6

  • “‘Our Dreams are Prophetic’: The Future in Late-Victorian Feminist Allegory,” Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States Annual Conference, “Victorian Futures,” Palm Springs, CA, November 8-10

  • “Necessary Decadence: Naturalizing Sin in the Fin de Siècle,” “Curiosity and Desire in Fin-de-Siècle Art and Literature,” William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, Los Angeles, May 11-12

  • “The Disappearing Native: Indigenous Extinction and Preservation in Isabella Bird’s The Hawaiian Archipelago,” North American Victorian Studies Association Annual Conference, “Victorian Preserves,” Banff, Canada, November 16-18

Professional Memberships
  • Modern Language Association

  • North American Victorian Studies Association

  • Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States

  • Phi Beta Kappa Society

Current Research

I am currently working on a book project tentatively titled "The Height of Taste: Evolution, Aestheticism, and Cultural Progress 1850-1913," which is based on the dissertation. This study investigates the close linkages between the Aesthetic (or “art for art’s sake”) Movement and the evolutionary sciences in late nineteenth-century Britain, considering in particular how and why these two fields converged on utopian ideas about beauty. In doing so, the book elucidates an important, but little-studied, Victorian tradition of evolutionary aestheticism: a diverse coterie of naturalists, critics, novelists, and poets who shared a broad commitment to scientific rationalism as well as an optimistic conception of the generative power of aesthetic taste.


Additionally, I have been exploring a second project about Victorian Hawai’i, focused particularly on the volatile period between Western contact in 1778 and U. S. annexation in 1898. This new project, while it departs from “The Height of Taste” in many ways, emerges organically from some of the central themes of that project, including post-Darwinian aesthetics and fin-de-siècle confrontations with modernity. My research in this area also draws on my own longstanding interest in Hawai’i’s history as a cultural and economic crossroads in the Pacific.

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