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Deborah Elise WhiteAssociate Professor


Deborah Elise White is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Emory University. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Yale University where she wrote a dissertation on the language of allegory in the British poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her book, Romantic Returns: Superstition, Imagination, History (Stanford UP, 2000) draws on the work of William Collins and William Hazlitt as well as Percy Shelley to show the continuing importance of romantic concepts of imagination for thinking and theorizing the historicity of literature. In 2022 she published with Kir Kuiken (SUNY Albany) a co-edited volume with Bloomsbury: Haiti's Literary Legacies: Romanticism and the Unthinkable Revolution. She has also published essays on a range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers including Coleridge, Derrida, Freud, Hugo and Marx.


  • Ph.D., Yale University

Books and Edited Volumes

  • Haiti's Literary Legacies: Romanticism and the Unthinkable Revolution. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2022. (co-edited with Kir Kuiken )
  • Romantic Returns: Superstition, Imagination, History. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000
  • Irony and Clerisy. Editor and author of critical introduction for a special volume in the electronic series  Romantic Praxis, 1999 (part of the Romantic Circles website published by the University of Maryland)
Romantic Returns: Superstition, Imagination, Historyhaiti-literary-legacies.jpg

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

  • "'Despair Begins with Stupefaction'": Unthinkable Agencies in Hugo's Bug-Jargal (book chapter in Haiti's Literary Legacies: Romanticvism and the Unthinkable Revolution Bloomsbury Academic: 2022)
  • “Revolutionary History and Revolutionary Modernity in Marx and Engels,” Yearbook of Comparative Literature Volume 61 (2015) 
  • The Burning Library: Benjamin, Hugo, and the Critique of Violence” European Romantic Review Volume 20, issue 2 (April 2009):  147-160
  • “Untimely Revolutions: Victor Hugo and the Spectre of the Date.” Romance Studies Volume 26, no. 2 (April 2008):  111-12
  • "Victor Hugo's Romantic Exile." European Romantic Review (April 2005)
  • "Imagination's Date: A Postscript to the Biographia Literaria." European Romantic Review (December 2003)
  • "The Seashore's Path: Shelley and the Allegorical Imperative." Studies in Romanticism 34 (Spring 1995)
  • "Studies on Hysteria: Case Histories and the Case Against History." Modern Language Notes 104.5 (1989)