Nersessian, Anahid


On leave 2022-23

Kaplan 242 / E-mail

Personal website:


B.A., Yale University; Ph.D., University of Chicago


I am a poetry scholar with special expertise in the literature of the eighteenth century and Romantic period. Related interests include the history of aesthetics and critical theory, Marxism, psychoanalysis, and the practice of literary criticism. In the 2022-23 academic year, I will be the American Philosophical Society fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, as part of the IASH’s three-year Project on Decoloniality.

I am the author of three books, most recently Keats’s Odes: A Lover’s Discourse (2021), first published by the University of Chicago Press; a new edition is forthcoming in fall 2022 from Verso Books. Keats’s Odes was reviewed in the Washington Post, the TLS, The Nation, and Publisher’s Weekly, among other places, and named a Best Book of 2021 by the Boston Globe. It was also a finalist for the Poetry Foundation’s 2022 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. My first academic monograph, Utopia, Limited: Romanticism and Adjustment (Harvard, 2015) is about formal and political practices of renunciation and self-containment, while my second, The Calamity Form: On Poetry and Social Life (Chicago, 2020) takes up figurative perspectives on economic-ecological crisis.


I write regularly for The New York Review of Books, and my work has also appeared in both public and scholarly venues like Critical Inquiry, ELH, European Romantic Review, the Keats-Shelley Journal, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Modern Language Quarterly, New Left Review, New Literary History, n+1, The Paris Review, PMLA, and Studies in Romanticism.

I am the editor of the Broadview Press edition of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s long poem, Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City and a former managing editor of the open-access journal Environmental Humanities, as well as a contributing editor at Parapraxis Magazine. With Nan Z. Da, I founded and co-edit the Thinking Literature imprint published by University of Chicago Press.


Keats’s Odes: A Lover’s Discourse (University of Chicago Press, February 2021); new edition forthcoming from Verso Books (Fall 2022)

The Calamity Form: On Poetry and Social Life (University of Chicago Press, 2020).

Utopia, Limited: Romanticism and Adjustment (Harvard UP, 2015).

Ed., Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City (Broadview, 2016).

Scholarly Articles and Reviews

Response to Michael Warner, “Environmental Care and the Infrastructure of Indifference,” 2018 Tanner Lectures on Human Values at UC Berkeley. In preparation for Oxford University Press.

“Keats and Shelley.” Forthcoming in Percy Shelley in Context, ed. Ross Wilson. Cambridge University Press.

“Absence and Intrusion: On Paul Fry’s Prelude.” Forthcoming in a special issue on the work of Paul H. Fry, Essays in Romanticism.

“Two Elegies: Adonais, Am/Trak.” European Romantic Review 33.22 (2022): 615-626.

“The Essay, Enlightenment, and Revolution.” Forthcoming in The Cambridge Companion to the Essay, ed. Evan Kindley and Kara Wittman. Cambridge University Press.

“Global Poetry and Provincial Poetics.” American Literary History 33.4 (2021): 823-831.

“After Us.” Keats-Shelley Journal 68 (2019): 155-156.

Romantic Difficulty.” New Literary History 49.4 (2018): 451-466.

Romantic Ecocriticism Lately.” Literature Compass 15.1 (2018): 1-16.

What is the New Redistribution?” PMLA 132.5 (2017): 1220-1225.

Literary Agnotology.” ELH 84.2 (2017): 339-360.

Form and Explanation,” with Jonathan Kramnick. Critical Inquiry 43.3 (2017): 650-69, reprinted in Kramnick, Paper Minds: Literature and the Ecology of Consciousness (U of Chicago P, 2018): 37-53. With “Forms and Explanations: A Response to Our Critics.” Critical Inquiry 44.1 (2017): 164-174.

Utopia’s Afterlife in the Anthropocene.” The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities, ed. Ursula K. Heise, Jon Christensen, and Michelle Niemann (Routledge, 2017): 91-100.

Romanticism as Method.” Romantic Circles Praxis (December 2016).

Two Gardens: An Experiment in Calamity Form.” MLQ 74.3 (2013): 307-329.

Romantic Liberalism and the Juridical Comedy.” Studies in Romanticism 50.4 (2012): 639-659.

Radical Love: Shelley after the Jacobin Novel.” ELH 79.1 (2012): 111-134.

Empire and Attachment: A Transnational Tale.” European Romantic Review 22.3 (2011): 339-346.

Public Writing 

“LA Elegies.” The New York Review of Books. October 20, 2022.

“Catastrophic Desires.” The New York Review of Books. May 12, 2022.

“For Love of Beauty? Literary Criticism in Troubled Times.” New Left Review 133/134, Jan-Apr 2022.

“Knife Skills.” The New York Review of Books. March 24, 2022.

“Love for Sale.” The New York Review of Books. January 13, 2022.

“Late Romanticism.” Interview with Willa Glickman. The New York Review of Books. January 8, 2022.

“The Escape Artist.” The New York Review of Books. October 7, 2021.

“Sentience and Intensities: A Conversation with Maureen McLane.” The Paris Review. October 7, 2021.

On Lauren Berlant,” a set of memorial essays published by n+1. July 15, 2021.

Of Poets and Critics: A Conversation between Anahid Nersessian and Michael Robbins.” Los Angeles Review of Books. June 9, 2021.

Traveling Light: Farewell to Leonard Cohen.” Los Angeles Review of Books. November 15, 2016.

Form Fatigue.” Open Set: Art, Humanities, Culture. September 30, 2015.

Who Cares?” We, Reading, Now digital colloquy at Arcade: Literature, Humanities, and the World, Stanford University. July 10, 2015.

A Conversation Between Friends.” Interview with Michael Robbins, Los Angeles Review of Books. January 27, 2015.

Short Cuts.” Public Books. January 15, 2015

Review of Forest Pyle, Art’s Undoing: In the Wake of a Radical Aestheticism (Fordham UP, 2013). The Wordsworth Circle 45.4 (2014): 313-314.

Animal Studies.” Public Books. April 8, 2013.

Review of Orrin Wang, Romantic Sobriety (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011). Modern Philology 111.2 (2013): 229-231.

Poetry at the Tipping Point.” Review of Michael Robbins, Alien vs. Predator (Penguin, 2012). Contemporary Literature 53.3 (2012): 599-605.

Courses taught at UCLA

Graduate: Blake and Baraka; Formalisms; Poetry and the Police; Romantic Difficulty.

Undergraduate: Early Ecologies; Earlier Romantic Literature; History of Aesthetics and Critical Theory; Later Romantic Literature; Literature and Philosophy; Literatures in English, 1700-1850; Nature Poetry; Romanticism and Revolution.


Interest Areas
• Eighteenth-C. British Literature
• British Literature & Culture, 19th C. – Present
• Critical Theory
• Modern & Contemporary Poetry
• Ecocriticism / Environmental Humanities / Biopolitics