Onno Oerlemans

Onno Oerlemans
Onno Oerlemans

Professor of Literature and Associate Dean of Faculty

Root Hall 321

Onno Oerlemans has published articles on the form and function of lyric in Whitman, Milton and Wordsworth, on literary theory and Henry James, and on animal rights and taxonomy in romanticism. Oerlemans’ book Romanticism and the Materiality of Nature examines the ways in which romantic-period authors explore and represent the physical presence of the natural world. He recently published articles on the representation of animals in Coetzee and Gowdy, the romantic origins of environmentalism and architecture in romantic period writing. Oerlemans is writing a book about the representation of animals in the history of poetry. He is the first faculty-in-residence for Hamilton’s new Academic Program in the Adirondacks. He earned his doctorate from Yale University.

Recent Courses Taught

The Literary Animal
Introduction to Literary Study
Study of Poetry
American Literature of the 19th Century
Emergence of US Modernisms
Literature and the Environment
Romantic Writers in 19th Century England
Seminar—Trans-Atlantic Romanticism
Seminar—Faith in Modernism
Interpreting the American Environment
Forever Wild: The Cultural and Natural Histories of the Adirondack Park
Nature, Art or Mathematics?
Infinity and Then Some

Selected Publications


  • Poetry and Animals: Blurring the Boundaries with the Human. Columbia University Press, 2018. 
  • Romanticism and the Materiality of Nature. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002. (Short-listed for 2003 Raymond Klibansky Prize for best English-language book in the humanities published in Canada).
  • A Field Guide to Poetry about Animals. New York: Columbia University Press. Forthcoming.

Published Articles:

  • "The Animal in Allegory: From Chaucer to Gray," Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment 20:2 (Spring 2013): 296-317.
  • “Literature in the Wilderness: Teaching Adirondack Writing in an Interdisciplinary Context.” (Co-authored with Patrick Reynolds and Ernest Williams.) Nature and Culture in the Northern Forest. Ed. Pavel Cenkl. University of Iowa Press (2010): 77-97.
More... Less...
  • “Romantic Poetry, English.” Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy.  Ed. J. Baird Callicott. Farmington Hills, Mich. Gale Publishing 2008.
  • “A Defense of Anthropomorphism: A Comparison of Coetzee and Gowdy.” Mosaic: A journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature 40, 1 (2007): 181-196.
  • “Romanticism and the City: Towards a Green Architecture.” Coming into Contact. Eds. Annie Merrill Ingram, Ian Marshall, Daniel J. Philippon, and Adam W. Sweeting. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press (2007): 168-184.
  • “Romantic Origins of Environmentalism: Wordsworth and Shelley.” Every Grain of Sand: Canadian Perspectives on Ecology and the Environment. Ed. J.A. Wainwright. Wilfred Laurier University Press  (2004): 101-114.
  • “Romanticism and the Metaphysics of Species.” The Wordsworth Circle 28: 3 (1997): 136-48.
  • "Representing the Kosmos: The Lyric Turn in Whitman's 'Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking'." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 12 (winter 1995): 150-69.
  • "Shelley's Ideal Body: Vegetarianism and Nature." Studies in Romanticism 34:4 (1995): 531-552.
  • "The Meanest Thing that Feels: Anthropomorphizing Animals in Romanticism." Mosaic, 27 (March 1994): 1-32.
  • "Whitman and the Erotics of Lyric." American Literature 65 (1993): 703-728.

College Service

Faculty-in-residence, Academic Program in the Adirondacks, fall 2015
Member, Committee on Appointments, 2013-present
Member, Network for Teaching and Learning Steering Committee, 2012-13
Member, Humanities Forum Steering Committee, 2012-13
Member, Watson Fellowship Committee, 2011-present
Chair, Department of English and Creative Writing, 2010-13
Senior project shepherd, Environmental Studies Program, 2008-09
Faculty secretary and member of Academic Council, 2008-09
Chair, Carbon Emissions Inventory Subcommittee, 2007-09
Member, Hamilton Sustainability Committee, 2007-12

Appointed to the Faculty: 1999

Educational Background

Ph.D., Yale University
M.A., Queen's University-  Kingston, Canada
B.A., Queen's University- Kington, Canada

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