Mario Ortiz-Robles

Mario Ortiz Robles
6135 Helen C. White Hall
E-mail Mario Ortiz-Robles
19th-century literature, critical theory, the novel, animal studies

Degrees and Institutions

Ph.D. English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

M.A. English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

A.B. Comparative Literature, Dartmouth College

Selected Publications


Articles and Book Chapters:

  • “Hardy’s Wessex and the Natural History of Form,” Novel
  • “Comparative Literature and Animal Studies,” ACLA Report on the State of the Discipline
  • “LiminAnimal: The Monster in Late Victorian Gothic Fiction,” European Journal of English Studies
  • “Darwin and Literature,” The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature
  • “Literary Immanence,” Romantic Circles Praxis Series
  • “Animal Acts,” BRANCH: Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History
  • “Artaud y Mexico,” 1616: Anuario de Literatura Comparada Vol. 2 (2012): 97-114
  • “Dickens Performs Dickens,” ELH 78.2 (Summer 2011): 457-478
  • “The Latent Middle in Morris’s News from Nowhere” in Narrative Middles: Navigating the Victorian Novel. The Ohio State University Press, 2011: 215-247
  • “Figure and Affect in Collins.” Textual Practice 24.5 (Oct. 2010): 841-861
  • “Transparency and Materiality in the Realist Novel,” Richard Begam and Dieter Stein eds., Text and Meaning: Literary Discourse and Beyond. Düsseldorf University Press, 2010: 93-108
  • “Local Speech, Global Acts: Performative Violence and the Novelization of the World.” Comparative Literature 59.1 (Winter 2007): 1-22.

Personal Statement

My work is situated at the intersection of literature and theory, with an emphasis on the question of the “literary” and its historicity. I am currently working on a book-length project on the narrative treatment of the figure of the animal in fiction after Darwin as a way of tracking the status of the natural in late Victorian culture. Also in the pipeline is a comparative project that seeks to re-examine the notion of literary agency in a global context by foregrounding the role played by what Pierre Bourdieu called literature’s “consecrating agencies” (reviewers, publishers, academics, translators, etc.) in the legitimization of “world literature.” 

Graduate Courses

“The Natural,” “Decadence,” “Reading Reading,” “Literary Labor and the Global Literary Marketplace,” “Other Victorians, Victorian Others,” “Literary Speech Acts.”

Undergraduate Courses

“Dickens and the Secret,” “Reading the Victorian Novel,” “Theories of the Subject,” “The Novel Before Theory,” “Utopia,” “Human/Nature.”

Recent Books

  • .

    Literature and Animal Studies

    Mario Ortiz-Robles



  • Narrative Middles: Navigating the Nineteenth-Century Novel

    Caroline Levine & Mario Ortiz-Robles, Eds.

    Ohio State University Press


    In this groundbreaking collection of essays, Narrative Middles: Navigating the Nineteenth-Century British Novel, nine literary scholars offer innovative approaches to the study of the underrepresented middle of the vast, bulky nineteenth-century multiplot novel. 

  • The Novel as Event

    Mario Ortiz-Robles

    University of Michigan Press


    The Novel as Event is a timely reconsideration of the historical role of the Victorian novel from the perspective of its performativity. In a highly original application of the work of Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, and other readers of J. L. Austin, Robles argues that the language of the novel is paramount and the current emphasis on the representational and physical aspects of the novel tends to obscure this fact.