Department of English

University of Toronto

Hernandez, Alex Eric

Alex Eric Hernandez
Assistant Professor
Office Phone: (416) 978-4533
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 912
Office hours or leave status: Tuesdays 12-1pm

Teaching and Research Interests
Eighteenth-century literature and culture, tragedy, Enlightenment, religion and secularization, history of emotion, aesthetics and critical theory, transatlanticism

M.A. (University of California, Irvine); M.A., Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles)

Alex Eric Hernandez is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Toronto where he teaches and researches across Restoration and eighteenth-century literature and culture. His current project, Modernity and Affliction: The Making of British Bourgeois Tragedy, investigates a series of eighteenth-century dramatic and narrative tragedies concerned with the misfortunes of the middling sort, arguing that these texts imagine a particularly modern form of suffering--an ordinary suffering proper to ordinary life, often divested of the sorts of rhetorics and meanings traditionally used to redeem it. Works ranging from the canonical, such as George Lillo’s The London Merchant and Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, to lesser-studied texts like Edward Moore’s popular drama, The Gamester and Sarah Fielding’s sentimental novel, The Adventures of David Simple, were experimental and ideologically ambivalent, probing personal misfortune’s relationship to middling, commercial, this-worldly values and exploring fresh modes of bourgeois affect through which suffering was to be consumed. The central insight of the project is thus that the very historical emergence of a category of “bourgeois-“ or “middling tragedy” represents a cultural debate over the extent of tragic suffering in an era of self-conscious modernization. Who precisely gets to suffer meaningfully? What is the character of the affliction they undergo? Whose life is grievable and how might that mourning be collectively performed? A former fellow with the Lewis Walpole Library (Yale University), the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library (UCLA), and the Social Sciences Research Council, his work has appeared in SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 and Eighteenth-Century Fiction.

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