Amanda Jo Goldstein

Assistant Professor


Amanda Jo Goldstein works on European Romanticism and the life sciences, with special interests in rhetoric and figuration, pre-Darwinian biology, and materialist theories of history, poetry, and nature. Her first book, Sweet Science:  Romantic Materialism and the New Sciences of Life (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming Spring 2017), shows how writers from William Blake, Goethe, and Percy Shelley to the young Karl Marx revived ancient materialism to cast poetry as a privileged technique of empirical enquiry – fit to connect the biological problem of living form to the pressure of social and environmental histories. Her new book project, Industrial Attraction: Natural Technology in Socialist Utopia explores heterodox conceptions of nature in the socialist and communitarian writings later labeled “Utopian” and “Romantic.” Recent articles include “Growing Old Together: Lucretian Materialism in Shelley’s ‘Poetry of Life’” (Representations 128:1) and “Reluctant Ecology in Blake and Arendt” (Wordsworth Circle 46:3). She has contributed a chapter on Herder’s poetic empiricism to The Relevance of Romanticism (Oxford, 2014) and one on William Blake and Lamarckian evolution to Systems of Life (Fordham, forthcoming 2017). Goldstein received her PhD in Comparative Literature (English, German, French) from the University of California in 2011. Before joining the Cornell English Department, she was a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in Biopolitics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Recent courses taught include:
Undergraduate: "Science, Poetry, and the Politics of Enlightenment," "Reading Nature," and "Reading William Blake"
First Year Writing Seminars: "The Age of Revolution" and "The Autobiography of Someone Else"
Graduate: "Romanticism and the Life of Things," "Materialisms," and "Romanticism and the Fate of the Senses"

Research Focus

  • Romantic and Enlightenment literature and culture
  • Science and Literature
  • Poetry, poetics and aesthetics
  • Literary and critical theory
  • Materialism
  • Ecocriticism