Alex Eric Hernandez

Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies; Associate Professor; Graduate Faculty; Undergraduate Instructor
Jackman Humanities Building, Room 912, 170 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5R 2M8
(416) 978-4533


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Eighteenth-century literature and culture
  • Tragedy
  • Enlightenment, religion and secularization
  • History of emotion


Alex Eric Hernandez is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto where he specializes in Restoration and eighteenth-century literature and culture. His scholarship aims at an interdisciplinary approach to the period, balancing an attention to historical detail alongside theoretical frames that privilege reparation, description, and anthropological curiosity. His book, The Making of British Bourgeois Tragedy: Modernity and the Art of Ordinary Suffering (forthcoming from Oxford University Press), explores a series of eighteenth-century dramatic and narrative tragedies concerned with the misfortunes of the middling sort. In it, he argues that this “bourgeois tragedy” imagines a particularly modern form of suffering, so that the very emergence of the genre represents an early modern debate over whose life was grievable and how that mourning ought to be performed.His work has appeared in Representations, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, and SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, and reflects interests in religion, secularization, and postsecular theory, as well as the history of emotion, especially in relation to tragedy and Enlightenment. New research concerns she-tragedy and the domestication of classical passion, the Arabian Nights as theoretical reflection upon magical thinking, and a larger project on the role of emotion in the eighteenth-century’s conceptualization of “world religions,” tentatively titled, Oceanic Feelings. A former fellow with the Social Sciences Research Council, the Lewis Walpole Library, and the Clark Library, he leads an interdisciplinary working group through the Jackman Humanities Institute on the theme of “Postsecular or Postcritique?: New Approaches to Reading Religion.”


Books (career)

The Making of British Bourgeois Tragedy: Modernity and the Art of Ordinary Suffering (Oxford University Press: forthcoming)

Articles (since 2008)

“Prosaic Suffering: Bourgeois Tragedy and the Aesthetics of the Ordinary,” Representations 138, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 117-40.


MA, University of California, Irvine
MA, University of California Los Angeles
PhD, University of California Los Angeles

Administrative Service

Associate Chair, Director of Undergraduate Studies.