Dr. S. Pearl Brilmyer

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation research fellow at the ZfL with the project The Science of Character. Human Objecthood and the Ends of Victorian Realism


  • 2016-, Assistant Professor of English, The University of Pennsylvania
  • 2020-, Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers (ZfL)
  • 2014-16, Postdoctoral Fellow, ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry
  • 2014, PhD Comparative Literature, The University of Texas at Austin
  • 2011-2012, DAAD Research Grant (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Department II)
  • 2008, MA Comparative Literature, The University of Texas at Austin
  • 2006, BA English & Philosophy, The University of Scranton

Research Interests

  • Nineteenth-Century English literature
  • History of Science & Philosophy
  • Queer & Feminist Theory
  • Critical Race Studies
  • Literary Theory
  • Realism
  • Materialism



  • “Toward an Inessential Theory of Form: Ruskin, Warburg, Focillon” with Filippo Trentin. Criticism, vol. 61, no. 4, 2020.
  • “The Ontology of the Couple; or What Queer Theory Knows about Numbers,” co-authored with Filippo Trentin and Zairong Xiang. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, vol. 25, no. 2, 2019, pp. 223-255.
  • “Schopenhauer and British Literary Feminism.” The Palgrave Schopenhauer Handbook, edited by Sandra L. Shapshay, in the Palgrave Handbooks on German Idealism Series, series editor, Matthew Altman, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, pp. 397-424.
    “Darwinian Feminisms.” Gender: Matter, edited by Stacy Alaimo, Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks, Macmillan Reference USA, 2016, pp. 19-34.
  • “Durations of Presents Past: Ruskin and the Accretive Quality of Time.” Victorian Studies, vol. 59, no. 1, 2016, pp. 94-7.
  • “Impassioned Objectivity: Nietzsche, Hardy, and the Science of Fiction.” V21, special issue of b2o: boundary 2 online, vol. 1, no. 2, 2016.
  • “Plasticity, Form, and the Matter of Character in Middlemarch.” Representations vol. 130, no. 1, 2015, pp. 60. Reprinted in “The Nature of Literary Being,” Arcade: Literature, the Humanities, and the World, November 2015.
  • “‘The Natural History of My Inward Self’: Sensing Character in George Eliot’s Impressions of Theophrastus Such.” PMLA, vol. 129, no. 1, 2014, pp. 35-51.

Editorial Work

  • The Ontology of the Couple, special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, co-edited with Filippo Trentin and Zairong Xiang. vol. 25, no. 2, 2019.