Magnet, Alec


Doctoral Candidate


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Alec Magnet is a doctoral candidate writing a dissertation on American and British writers of the long nineteenth century who incorporate gothic conventions into their writing in order to explore and enact relationships of aesthetic and emotional over-investment in texts, artworks, or idealized others. His work focuses on hard-won, politically generative, and emotionally nourishing practices of liking things, especially among people who are queer, unusually shame-prone, or otherwise misfit or different. 

His chapter “The Queer, Statistical Kinship of Tennyson and Melville” appears in Queer Victorian Families: Curious Relations in Literature, edited by Duc Dau and Shale Preston (Routledge, 2015). Review 19 singled it out as the “outstanding” chapter: “Magnet’s beautiful and melancholic reading . . . stunningly exemplifies a return to what reading through a queer lens originally set out to do.” You can read a copy here.

His and T Meyerhoff’s article “Teaching/Feeling/Writing: A Theatrical Interlude on Affect, Performativity, and Plagiarism” was published in The Writing Instructor in 2015.

Key areas of inquiry include: queer performativity and reparative reading, gender, affect, relational and intersubjective psychoanalysis, mourning and melancholia, and various methods of incorporation, internalization, and identification, including reading and cannibalism. One current project involves thinking through the convergence of queer and geek, fandom and camp, especially as that convergence opens up more capacious and generative understandings of queer.

Alec is an adjunct lecturer at the City College of New York, where he teaches survey courses on nineteenth century British and American writing and first-year seminars on literature and relationality while experimenting with multimedia assignments, writing-intensive teaching, and emotional pedagogy.

Alec is a member the ESA’s placement committee and one of the ESA’s librarians.

Visit his website at