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S. Pearl Brilmyer

Assistant Professor of English

Curriculum Vitae

Fisher-Bennett Hall 218

Office Hours

spring 2021

T 3:15-4:15

S. Pearl Brilmyer's work lies at the intersection of the history of philosophy, science, and literature with a focus on the nineteenth-century English novel. Other areas of research include theories of will and drive in nineteenth-century German philosophy and science (Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Freud), the history of sexuality, and materialisms old and new.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn, Brilmyer was assistant professor at The University of Oregon and adjunct instructor at New York University, Pratt Institute, and the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. She has also held fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry, the DAAD (German Exchange Service), the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the Wolf Humanities Center, and the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women Faculty Research. 

Her forthcoming book, The Science of Character: Human Objecthood and the Ends of Victorian Realism (Chicago, 2021), develops a literary-theoretical approach to the history of science, advancing a theory of late Victorian realism as a “science of character” committed to understanding what brings characters—literary and natural historical, human and nonhuman—into existence. With Filippo Trentin and Zairong Xiang she is the editor of a special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies entitled "The Ontology of the Couple" (2019).

She is currently working on an experimental, annotated edition of Olive Schreiner's unfinished novel, currently titled The Prism I Hold in My Hand (under contract with Punctum Books) as well as a special issue of the journal Psychoanalysis & History on Lou Andreas-Salomé's 1916 essay, "'Anal' and 'Sexual.'" Her essays have been published in PMLA, Representations, Criticism, and Victorian Studies, among other venues.


Articles and Book Chapters

"Introduction" to the special issue "The Ontology of the Couple." With Filippo Trentin and Zairong Xiang. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (2019)
"The Ontology of the Couple; or What Queer Theory Knows about Numbers" GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (2019)
"Darwinian Feminisms" Gender: Matter (2017)
"Schopenhauer and British Literary Feminism" The Palgrave Schopenhauer Handbook (2017)

Courses Taught

spring 2022

fall 2021

ENGL 016.302 Science and Sexuality  
ENGL 051.001 What is Life?  

spring 2021

ENGL 016.301 Queer History and Theory  
ENGL 800.301 Pedagogy  

fall 2020

ENGL 560.401 Queer Studies canceled  

spring 2020

ENGL 108.001 Literature and Science  
ENGL 560.401 What is a Subject?  

fall 2019

ENGL 094.401 Intro to Literary Theory  
ENGL 601.401 History Literature Theory  

spring 2018

ENGL 560.301 Victorian Materialism  

fall 2017

ENGL 311.301 English Honors Program  

spring 2017

ENGL 290.401 Queer Attachments  

fall 2016