- Position: Professor
- Department: Department of English and Comparative Literature
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
William D. Melaney is a professor at the Department of English and Comparative Literature at The American University in Cairo (AUC). He holds an MA in English from the University of Chicago and a PhD in comparative literature from Stony Brook University in New York. Melaney served as department chair from the fall of 2004 to the spring of 2006 and again in the spring of 2012. His current teaching fields include eighteenth-century literature, European romanticism, the history of literary criticism, hermeneutics, and recent work in aesthetics. During the spring term, he has offered Quests for the Absolute, The Origins of Drama, Foucault and Cultural History and Spectres of the Other through the literature/philosophy interface. He is currently active in the department’s program for graduate studies.
Melaney has published more than 40 articles in the fields of literary criticism and modern philosophy. His work has appeared in New Literary History, Connecticut 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 and New York: Rowman and Littlefield International, 2017).
Melaney has also published the book Figural Space: Semiotics and the Aesthetic Imaginary (London and New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2021), which explores a new approach to literature in adopting Julia Kristeva’s semiotics as the starting point for reinterpreting Freud and Hegel. A major claim of the book is that Hegel can be read hermeneutically as an aesthetic thinker whose approach to time, language, and imagination needs to be revisited. The poetry of Spenser, Wordsworth, and Shelley, as well as the novels of Proust, Jean Rhys, and Kazuo Ishiguro are explored based on this special method.
How is philosophical aesthetics related to matters of historical reflection? Professor Melaney’s current research commences with an examination of Kant’s aesthetics and then considers how, in the aftermath of Kant, aesthetic questions acquired historical resonance. Modern hermeneutics will subsequently be shown to have made contributions to aesthetics, following an initial opposition to aesthetic thinking. The conclusion of the book will argue that the more recent approaches to aesthetics have social, cultural and political implications.
Melaney has also published a short book of poems entitled Bildungsroman. (Cairo: Safsafa Publishing House, 2017).
- Comparative Literature
- Aesthetics from Kant to Rancière
- Possibilities of World Literature
- New Readings of Hegel
- Poetics and Literary History