Kimberly J. Stern

Office:   Greenlaw 513
Hire Date:   2 015


Assistant Professor

Co-Editor, Nineteenth Century Studies


Ph.D. Princeton University, 2005


Kimberly J. Stern earned her Ph.D. from Princeton University, with a special focus on Victorian literature and culture. Although much of her research engages with the history and politics of intellectual culture, Stern’s teaching and scholarly interests include several broader fields of inquiry, including women’s writing, the novel, aesthetic theory, drama, and the British fin de siècle.

Stern’s first book, The Social Life of Criticism: Gender, Critical Writing, and the Politics of Belonging was published by University of Michigan Press in 2016. Tracing the work of aspiring female critics from the eighteenth century to the end of the Victorian period, Stern demonstrates that a sustained engagement with gendered forms of sociability shaped the critical work of women writers (including Anna Jameson, George Eliot, Vernon Lee, and others). As the book explores representations of critical communities—from the Spectator Club and the “tavern sages” to the “antisocial” impulses of the 1890s—it argues that the history of criticism is inextricable from the history of gender.

In 2015, Stern published an edition of Oscar Wilde’s controversial play Salome with Broadview Press. Her work on this play reflects her larger interest in the writings of the British aesthetes, which she examines in her current book project, Nature's Test: Liberal Education and Aesthetic Discourse in the Nineteenth Century.  Placing late nineteenth-century writers like Wilde in dialogue with important educational reformers of the nineteenth century (including Jeremy Bentham, Matthew Arnold, and John Henry Newman), Stern investigates how the late Victorians both anticipated and enrich contemporary debates about the cultural value of humanistic study. As a corollary to this project, she is now completing a literary biography of Wilde, Oscar Wilde: An Anti-Biography, which focuses upon the key intellectual influences of his life. Both projects were originally inspired by Stern's work in the classroom, where she has found her students to be enthusiastic and astute readers of Wilde's work. 

Stern was the recipient of a Humanities Writ Large fellowship at Duke University in 2014 and is currently editing an annotated digital edition of Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus through the COVE Collective ( She serves on the Board for the Nineteenth Century Studies Association and is co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Nineteenth Century Studies.


Selected Publications


The Social Life of Criticism: Gender, Critical Writing, and the Politics of Belonging. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016. 

Oscar Wilde’s Salome. Ed. Kimberly J. Stern. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2015.



“Feminism and Gender.” Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Literature. Ed. Barry Stocker and Michael Mack.  London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. (Book chapter forthcoming in 2017)

“At Wit’s End: The Aesthetic Pedagogy of Oscar Wilde” (Article forthcoming in Nineteenth Century Studies)

“The One Liner.” The Pocket Instructor, ed. Diana Fuss and Bill Gleason. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.

“ ‘A Want of Taste’: Carnivorous Desire in Charles Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers.” Victorian Review 38.1 (2013): 155-72.

“The Poetics of Criticism: Philosophical Discourse and George Eliot’s ‘A College Breakfast Party.’ ” George Eliot and the Poetics of DisbeliefGeorge Eliot-George Henry Lewes Studies 60.1 (September 2011): 91-106.

“Rule Bohemia: The Cosmopolitics of Subculture in George du Maurier’s Trilby.” Victorian Literature and Culture 38.2 (September 2010): 547-70.

 “A Common Fund: George Eliot and the Gender Politics of Criticism.” Prose Studies 30.1 (2008): 45-62.



Fall 2015

ENGL 121: British Literature (Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century) 

ENGL 842: British Literature at the Fin de Siècle

Spring 2016

ENGL 121: British Literature (Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century)

ENGL 355: Fictions of the End (The British Novel, 1870-WWII)

Fall 2016

ENGL 89: The Literature of College Life

ENGL/WMST 263H: Literature and Gender

Spring 2017

ENGL 123: Introduction to Fiction: Imagination and Experiment

ENGL 390: Oscar Wilde and His Circle

Fall 2017

ENGL 121: British Literature (Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century)

ENGL 390: The Novel of Sense and Sensation


Teaching Awards

Faculty Mentor Award, CoLEAGS, 2017
Student Educators for Active Learning (SEAL) Recognition, Longwood University, 2011
Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni Teaching Award, Princeton University, 2003
McCosh Teaching Award, Princeton University, 2003