William D. Melaney is a professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at The American University in Cairo. He holds an MA in English from the University of Chicago with emphasis on renaissance literature and literary theory. He received a doctorate in comparative literature from Stony Brook University after defending his dissertation on modernism in literature and philosophy. Melaney served as department chair from Fall 2004 to Spring 2006 and again in Spring 2012. His current teaching responsibilities include upper level courses in romanticism, 19th century European literature and modern literary criticism. He has presented “Quests for the Absolute,” “Literature and Aesthetics,” “The Origins of Drama” and “Specters of the Other” in recent versions of the literature/philosophy interface. During the past five years, he has presented papers at the University of Vienna, the New Bulgarian University, Tallinn University in Estonia and the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, among other institutions.
Melaney has published more than 40 articles in the fields of modern literature, philosophy and literary theory. His work has appeared in New Literary History, Connecticut Review, Yeats Eliot Review, Journal of the Kafka Society of America, Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Journal of the History of Philosophy, International Studies in Philosophy and The American Journal of Semiotics, among other publications. He has published three books on modernism as a literary and philosophical concept: After Ontology: Literary Theory and Modernist Poetics (SUNY Press, 2001); Material Difference: Modernism and the Allegories of Discourse (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Press, 2012); and Alterity and Criticism: Tracing Time in Modern Literature (London: Rowman and Littlefield International, 2017). The third book examines how temporal displacement impacts the representation of the self in modern texts, just as it foregrounds the possibility of world literature in our own time.
Melaney is currently planning a fourth academic book that will adopt Hegel’s mature philosophy as a starting point for reconsidering the semiotic, psychoanalytic and aesthetic dimensions of figural expression. The purpose of this study will not be to return to familiar ways of thinking but to retrieve figural expression as both a historical reference and a motive for artistic production, thus countering both formalism and content-oriented criticism. This book will examine the achievements of diverse authors, including but not limited to Spenser, Rousseau, Shelley, Hardy and Jean Rhys.
Melaney has also published a short book of poems entitled, Bildungsroman (Cairo: Safsafa Publishing House, 2017).
- “Shelley’s Inverted World: Reassessing The Triumph of Life.” Phenomenological Inquiry 39. Forthcoming in 2018.
- “Hegel and Semiotics: Beyond the End of Art.” New Semiotics: Between Tradition and Innovation Proceedings of the Twelfth World Congress of Semiotics, ed. K. Bankov. New Bulgarian University, 2016. 10 pages.
- “Cosmology in H.D.’s Trilogy: Poetics, Logos and Trace.” Analecta Husserliana CXIX. 2016. pp.275-289.
- “Shelley, Hermeneutics and Poetics: Metaphor as Translation.” Translational Hermeneutics: The First Symposium, ed. Radegundis Stolze, John Stanley and Larisa Cercel. Zeta Books, 2015. pp.389-408..
- “Revolutionary Kristeva: Conflict, Mimesis, Rimbaud.” Proceedings of the Eleventh International Symposium on Comparative Literature. ed. Salwa Kamel. Cairo UP, 2014. 843-53.
- “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.
- “Ashbery and the Poetics of the Sublime: On the Margins of Modernity.” Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium on Comparative Literature. ed. Salwa Kamel. Cairo UP, 2011. 565-573.
- “Blanchot’s Inaugural Poetics: Visibility and the Infinite Conversation.” Analecta Husserliana CX (2011). 467-83.
- “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, ed. Philip F. Williams. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 2010. 115-28.