Amanda Jo Goldstein

Amanda Jo Goldstein

Title
Associate Professor
Department
Dept of English
Research Expertise and Interest
18th-century British literature, 19th century British literature, critical theory, poetry
Research Description

I specialize in Enlightenment and Romantic literature and science, with particular interests in rhetoric and poetics, pre-Darwinian biology, and materialist theories of history, poetry, and nature. My first book, Sweet Science: Romantic Materialism and the New Logics of Life (University of Chicago Press, 2017), shows how writers from William Blake to Goethe, Percy Shelley and the young Karl Marx revived ancient atomist science to argue for poetry as a privileged technique of empirical inquiry, especially when it came to representing the new problem of biological life in its dependency upon broader social and natural histories. The book has been awarded the Kenshur Prize for an outstanding monograph of interest to eighteenth-century scholars and the MLA Prize for a First Book (2018). A new research project takes up the ecology of utopia in the early socialist projects dubbed “Romantic” and “Utopian”; another seeks the poetic and scientific roots of the “new” concepts of biosemiosis and plasticity in the long history of epigenetic neuroscience.

Before joining the Berkeley faculty this year, I worked as an assistant professor of English at Cornell University (2012-17) and a postdoctoral fellow in Biopolitics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2011-12). I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (English, German, French) from U.C. Berkeley in 2011.

In the News

December 12, 2018

Amanda Goldstein’s fascination with William Blake leads to MLA book award

Just when William Blake was out of Amanda Goldstein’s life, he came stomping back in a most unexpected way.The book the Berkeley associate professor had written about the melding of poetry and science centuries past, Sweet Science: Romantic Materialism and the New Logics of Life, had been out of her mind for the better part of a year. Then, not long ago came an email telling her that she’d won the Modern Language Association’s 25th annual Prize for a First Book.

In the News

December 12, 2018

Amanda Goldstein’s fascination with William Blake leads to MLA book award

Just when William Blake was out of Amanda Goldstein’s life, he came stomping back in a most unexpected way.The book the Berkeley associate professor had written about the melding of poetry and science centuries past, Sweet Science: Romantic Materialism and the New Logics of Life, had been out of her mind for the better part of a year. Then, not long ago came an email telling her that she’d won the Modern Language Association’s 25th annual Prize for a First Book.
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