My name is Leila (lee-EYE-la) Walker, and I am a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center. My dissertation, “Touching Time: Forms of Romantic Temporality,” explores the relationship between tactility, affect, and temporality in British Romantic literature. Important recent work holds that the Romantic fascination with the ruin or fragment is rooted in the tendency of the incomplete to inspire acts of imaginative completion, whether the imagined whole represents past greatness or future decline. My project joins this conversation by attempting to specify instants in which imaginative completion is rejected in favor of unimaginable emergence. I argue that in brief moments of social engagement, Romantic authors discover a past that is contingent rather than strictly incomplete, allowing for a transformative futurity that would be impossible if the past were fixed. This futurity cannot be imagined, but it can be enacted in the moment of transformative potential that manifests as physical contact.
My publications include “Percy Bysshe Shelley and the Ekphrasis of Hair” (European Romantic Review, April 2013), “The Child of the City and the ‘Palimpsest’ at Sea: De Quincey’s Chronological Constraints” (Literature Compass, October 2012), and “Ghosts in the House: Margaret Oliphant’s Uncanny Response to Feminist Success” (in Antifeminism and the Victorian Novel, ed. Tamara Wagner, Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2009). With Stephen Klein, I co-edited and introduced Issue 4 of the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. I am also working on the final two volumes of Shelley and His Circle as a research associate in the Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle at the New York Public Library. My side projects include experimenting with digital pedagogy, cooking vegan food, climbing rocks, and running far.