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David Russell

Associate Professor, Department of English, Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Fellow, Society of Fellows, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (2012–2013)

Headshot of David Russell

David Russell is Associate Professor of English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Previously, he was a Lecturer in English at King’s College London. He obtained his PhD from Princeton University in 2011, and since then his work has been supported by the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, and the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. David has work published or forthcoming in ELH, Raritan, and Victorian Studies.

His first book Tact: Aesthetic Liberalism and the Essay Form in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Princeton, 2018) is about the development in nineteenth-century Britain of a new mode of feeling one’s way with others in complex modern conditions. The book traces how the essay genre came to exemplify this sensuous new ethic and aesthetic. It argues that the essay form provided the resources for the performance of tact and analyses its techniques in the writings of Charles Lamb, John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold, George Eliot, and Walter Pater. Offering fresh approaches to thinking about criticism, sociability, politics, and art, Tact concludes by following a legacy of essayistic tact to the practice of twentieth-century British psychoanalysts like D. W. Winnicott and Marion Milner.