• Professor, English

Research Statement

I am currently working on three scholarly projects. The first is a study of references to political events in the writings of late nineteenth-century authors associated with the decadent and aesthetic movements, tentatively entitled "Aestheticism, Democracy, and Political Disorder, 1848-1912." The second, tentatively entited "Decadence, World Literature, and Uneven Development," draws on contemporary Marxist theory to try to explain why the decadent movement, so closely tied to European high culture, found enthusiastic followers around the world, and particularly in former colonies and so-called underdeveloped regions in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The third, entitled "The Aesthetics of Secrecy in the Nineteenth Century" is a history of changing representational conventions for depicting secrets and secrecy among Romantic and Victorian writers.


  • Matthew Potolsky (2021). Decadence and Realism. Victorian Literature and Culture. Published, 12/10/2021.
  • Matthew Potolsky (2020). Classical Studies (Collected Works of Walter Pater). Oxford University Press. Published, 11/26/2020.
  • Matthew Potolsky, "Decadence and Politics," in Decadence: A Literary History, ed. Alex Murray (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020, pp. 152-65. Published, 10/06/2020.
  • Matthew Potolsky (2019). The National Security Sublime: On the Aesthetics of Government Secrecy. Routledge. Published, 04/03/2019.
  • Matthew Potolsky (2018). "Fin de Si├Ęcle". Victorian Literature and Culture. Vol. 46, 697-700. Published, 10/11/2018.
  • Matthew Potolsky (2018). "The Work of Imitation: Decadent Writing as Mimetic Labor". Palgrave-Macmillan. Published, 04/20/2018.
  • "Whither Secrecy?" ALH 28.4 (2016):789-99. Published, 12/15/2016.
  • "Hardy, Shaftesbury, and Aesthetic Education," rpt in Short Story Criticism. Vol 227. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2016. Originally published in SEL 46, 4 (2006): 863-78. Published, 07/15/2016.
  • Potolsky, Matthew (2015). Eros and Revolution: Rossetti and Swinburne on Continental Politics. Victorian Studies. Vol. 57, 585-610. Published, 12/15/2015.
  • "In Praise of Decadence: The Epideictic Mode from Baudelaire to Wilde." Decadent Poetics, ed. Alex Murray and Jason Hall. Published, 08/23/2013.
  • The Decadent Republic of Letters: Taste, Politics and Cosmopolitan Community from Baudelaire to Beardsley (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). Published, 11/2012.
  • "The Substance of Shadows: Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Mimesis." Victorian Poetry 50, 2 (2012): 167-187. Published, 08/2012.
  • Matthew Potolsky (2010). Literary Communism: Pater and the Politics of Community. Victorian Aesthetic Conditions. Published, 07/2010.
  • "Leo Spitzer and the Returns of Philology." Western Humanities Review 63 (2009): 56-67. Published, 03/15/2009.
  • "The Decadent Counterpublic" Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net 48 (2007). Published, 02/20/2008.
  • Matthew Potolsky (2006). Mimesis. Routledge. Published, 01/07/2006.