Jayne Hildebrand

Jayne Hildebrand

Assistant Professor of English


English, First Year Foundation


401D Barnard Hall


Jayne Hildebrand specializes in nineteenth-century British literature, with a focus on the Victorian novel and the history of science. Her research and teaching interests also include the environmental humanities, science fiction, and religion and secularization. Her book, Novel Environments: Science, Description, and Victorian Fiction (Oxford University Press, 2023) examines how Victorian novelists used description to engage with the emerging concept of the environment in nineteenth-century science. She has also published articles on William Morris, fin-de-siècle socialism, and Victorian psychology; early Victorian working-class poetry; and eighteenth-century georgic poetry. Hildebrand joined the English faculty after completing her graduate work at Columbia University (Ph.D., 2018) and Concordia University (M.A., 2010), and her undergraduate work at the University of Winnipeg (B.A., 2008).

  • Ph.D., M.A., Columbia University
  • M.A., Concordia University
  • B.A., University of Winnipeg

  • Victorian literature and culture
  • The novel
  • Literature and science
  • Environmental humanities

  • First-Year Seminar: Worlds of Science Fiction
  • The Victorian Age in Literature: The Novel
  • The English Colloquium on the Enlightenment
  • Victorian Science and Science Fiction
  • Critical Writing
  • Senior Seminar: The Brontës

  • NAVSA Graduate Essay Prize, 2015.
  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2011-2015.

  • North American Victorian Studies Association
  • Modern Language Association

“H.G. Wells’s Fetishism.” Part of organized panel on “Anthropology and Speculative Fiction.” Modern Language Association. Philadelphia, PA. (Scheduled for January 2024).

“Spirituality and Genre at the Fin-de-Siècle.” Part of organized panel “Literature vs. Religion?: Genre and the Rethinking of Secularization.” North American Victorian Victorian Studies Association. Bloomington, IN. (Scheduled for November 2023).

Flatland, Theology, and the Spatialization of Character.” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS). Knoxville, TN. April 14-16, 2023.

“Richard Jefferies’s Post-Darwinian Mysticism.” North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA). Bethlehem, PA. September 29-October 2, 2022.

“Description and the Ecology of Stevenson’s Islands.” North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA). Vancouver, BC (Virtual Conference). March 3-6, 2022.

“Description and the Ecology of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Island Worlds.” The Victorians Institute. Charlottesville, VA. October 22-23, 2021.

“From the Habitat to the Greenhouse: The Environments of Mary Russell Mitford’s Our Village.” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS). Los Angeles, CA. March 5-8, 2020.

“George Eliot’s Medium.” CUNY Victorian Seminar at the Graduate Center. November 5, 2019.

“Genre Instability and the Environments of the Rural Sketch.” North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA). Columbus, OH. October 17-19, 2019.

“Description and Environmental Desire in The Mill on the Floss.” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS). Dallas, TX. March 21-24, 2019.

Middlemarch's Medium: Description, Sympathy, and Realism's Ambient Worlds.” Victorians in the World: North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA). Honolulu, HI. July 9-12, 2015.

“The Ghostly Architectures of Hardy's The Woodlanders.” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE). NAVSA-sponsored panel on Victorian Materialities. Ottawa, ON, Canada. June 2, 2015.

“Environmental Desire, Water Law, and the Bildungsroman in The Mill on the Floss.” Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA). Harrisburg, PA. April 3-6, 2014.

“The Ranter and the Lyric: Ebenezer Elliott's Corn Law Rhymes and the Poetic Languages of Reform in the 1830s.” Conference on “The Politics of Form.” Columbia University, New York, NY. April 22, 2011.

“Pleasurable Habits: News from Nowhere and William Morris's Aesthetics of Unreflectiveness.” Scale and Perspective: Annual Conference of the North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA). Montreal, Quebec, Canada. November 11-13, 2010.


Novel Environments: Science, Description, and Victorian Fiction. Oxford University Press, 2023.

“Spirituality.” Victorian Literature and Culture. “Keywords Redux” Special Issue. Forthcoming September 2023.

“Environmental Desire in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss.” Nineteenth-Century Literature. 76.2 (September 2021): 192-222.

"Middlemarch’s Medium: Description, Sympathy, and Realism’s Ambient Worlds.” English Literary History. 85.4 (Winter 2018): 999-1023..

“Cowper’s Theatrical Blank Verse: Shakespeare, Garrick, and The Task.” SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. 55.3 (Summer 2015): 579-602.

“The Ranter and the Lyric: Reform and Genre Heterogeneity in Ebenezer Elliott’s Corn Law Rhymes.” Victorian Review. 39.1 (Spring 2013): 101-124.

News from Nowhere and William Morris’s Aesthetics of Unreflectiveness: Pleasurable Habits.” English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920. 54.1 (2011): 3-27.