David Wayne Thomas

Profile Thomas

Associate Professor of English

Specialty: Nineteenth-century British literature; critical theory

Degrees: B.A., University of North Dakota; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Davis

David Wayne Thomas's research emphasizes the intersections of Victorian literature and modern social theory.  His book, Cultivating Victorians: Liberal Culture and the Aesthetic, examines ideas of individual agency that were developed within Victorian liberal culture and shows how those ideas informed Victorian aestheticism and a subsequent century of theory debates on aesthetics and subjectivity.  His current research focuses on literary works that engage themes of law, legal administration, and liberal reformism in imperial settings, especially in British India.  He has published articles on varied aspects of literary and cultural theory, with topics including: cinematic decadence; verbal musicality (ekphrasis); replica paintings in British art; and postmodernist theory.


Representative Publications

  • "Romola: Historical Narration and the Communicative Dynamics of Modernity.” In A Companion to George Eliot.  Eds. Amanda Anderson and Harry E. Shaw.  Oxford: Blackwell, 2013: 129-140.
  • "Liberal Legitimation and Communicative Action in British India: Reading Flora Annie Steel's On the Face of the Waters."  ELH: English Literary History 76 (2009): 153-87.
  • Cultivating Victorians: Liberal Culture and the Aesthetic. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.
  • "Replicas and Originality: Picturing Agency in Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Victorian Manchester." Victorian Studies 43.1(Autumn 2000): 67-102.
  • "Gödel's Theorem and Postmodern Theory."  PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association 110.2 (March 1995): 248-61. (Winner of the MLA William Riley Parker Prize for 1995.)


Contact Information

316 Decio Hall
(574) 631-7122

Postal address
Department of English
233 Decio Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556