William D. Melaney is associate professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at The American University in Cairo. His education includes the MA in English language and literature from the University of Chicago and the PhD in comparative literature from Stony Brook University. He served as chair from Fall 2004 to Spring 2006 and directed 20 MA theses during the past nine years. His current teaching responsibilities include upper-level courses in 19th-century European literature, the history of literary criticism and modern critical theory. He has presented “Quests for the Absolute,” "The Philosophical Essay” and “The Origins of Drama” in recent versions of the literature/philosophy interface.
Professor Melaney has published more than 35 articles in the fields of modern literature, philosophy and literary theory. He has published two books on modernism. After Ontology: Literary Theory and Modernist Poetics (SUNY Press, 2001) employs deconstruction and hermeneutics to reread some of the key texts in twentieth-century modernism, with special emphasis on the centrality of James Joyce’s Ulysses. More recently, Material Difference: Modernism and the Allegories of Discourse (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Press, 2012) focuses on European and transatlantic literature in tracing the origins of modernism to two philosophical discourses, culminating in the aesthetic project of Theodor Adorno and the textual concerns of Jacques Derrida. These two discourses are then used to clarify how the allegorical imagination bears witness to the link between art and time.
- Modernist allegory and the critical tradition
- Literary semiotics from Goethe to Butor
- Phenomenology after structuralism
- Literature and philosophical aesthetics
Selected Recent Publications
- “Heidegger’s Allegory of Reading: On Nietzsche and the Tradition.” Heidegger and Nietzsche, ed. Babich, Denker and Zaborowski. New York and Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, 2012. 190-98.
- “Ricoeur’s Transcendental Concern: A Hermeneutics of Discourse.” Analecta Husserliana CVIII (2011): 495-513.
- “Malraux’s Hope: Allegory and the Voices of Silence.” Asian Literary Voices: from Marginal to Mainstream 12 (2010): 115-28.
- “Sartre’s Postcartesian Ontology: On Negation and Existence.” Analecta Husserliana CIV (2009): 37-54.
- “Hume’s Secular Paradigm: Skepticism and Historical Knowledge.” The History of Philosophy Quarterly 25/3 (2008): 243-57.
- “Rilke’s Semiotic Potential: Iconicity and Performance.” The American Journal of Semiotics 18 (2006): 159-72.
- "Arendt’s Revision of Praxis: On Plurality and Narrative Experience.” Analecta Husserliana XC (2005): 465-79.
- “Ambiguous Difference: Ethical Concern in Byron’s Manfred.” New Literary History 36/3 (2005): 461-75.