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Don Wehrs

Don Wehrs

Hargis Professor of English Literature



Don Wehrs

Contact Me


9056 Haley Center

Office Hours

Monday, Friday 2-4 pm

Wednesday 2-3 pm


PhD, University of Virginia

About Me

Donald R. Wehrs received his PhD from the University of Virginia. He specializes in novel genre and history, British eighteenth-century studies, literary theory, postcolonial studies, and comparative literature. He is the author of three books on twentieth-century African fiction, editor or co-editor of five collections on literary theory and criticism, and has published in Poetics Today, Modern Philology, Literature & Theology, New Literary History, MLN, SEL, and ELH. He is currently at work on projects connecting ethics, literary history, and neurocognitive studies.

His most recent publications include Ethical Sense and Literary Significance: Deep Sociality and the Cultural Agency of Imaginative Discourse (London: Routledge, 2024); Cultural Memory: From the Sciences to the Humanities (New York: Routledge, 2023), co-edited with Suzanne Nalbantian and Don M. Tucker; “Cognitive Virtue and Global Ecosociability, in "Shakespeare and Virtue: A Handbook, ed. Julia Reinhard Lupton and Donovan Sherman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023), 244-56; “Helon Habila: Structural Helplessness and the Quest for Hope in Oil on Water,” in The Routledge Companion to Emotion and Literature, ed. Patrick Colm Hogan, Bradley J. Irish, and Lalita Pandit Hogan (London: Routledge, 2022), 456-66; “Welcoming and Pluralism in the Romances of Chrétien, Wolfram, and Goffried,” in Hospitalities: Transitions and Transgressions, North and South, ed. Merle Williams. New York: Routledge, 2020). 22-40.

Teaching and Research Awards

Honors Professor of the Year, 2007-2008

Auburn University Creative Research and Scholarship Award, 2015

Auburn University Distinguished Diversity Research Award, 2010

Research Interests

the novel, long 18th-century British literature, critical theory


  • Palgrave Handbook of Affect Studies and Textual Criticism, co-edited with Thomas Blake (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).
  • Cognition, Literature, and History, co-edited with Mark J. Bruhn (New York: Routledge, 2014, Paperback, 2018).
  • Levinas and Twentieth-Century Literature: Ethical Trauma and the Reconstitution of Subjectivity (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2013, Paperback, 2017).
  • “Ethical Ambiguity of the Maternal in Levinas and Shakespeare's First Romances,” in Of Levinas and Shakespeare: To See Another Thus,ed. Moshe Gold and Sandor Goodhart with Kent Lehnhof (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2018), 203-35.
  • “Evolutionary Psychology, Moral Disgust, and Self-Indictment in Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Conrad’s Lord Jim.” Intertexts 20, no. 1 (2017): 25-43.
  • “Anarchic Signification and Motions of Grace in Sterne’s Novelistic Satire,” in Sterne, Tristram, Yorick: Tercentenary Essays on Laurence Sterne, ed. Melvyn New, Peter de Voogt, and Judith Hawley (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2016), 77-99.
  • “Emotional Significance and Predation’s Uneasy Conscience in John of Salisbury and Chrétien’s Perceval,” Literature and Theology, 28, no. 3 (2014): 285-298.
  • “Trusting Life, Theorizing Love, Making Art: Proust, Joyce, and the Russian Novelistic Tradition,” in Proust in der Konstellation der Moderne/Proust dans la constellation des modernes, ed. Sophie Bertho and Thomas Klinkert (Berlin: Erich Schmidt: Studien des Frankreich-Zentrums der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, 2013), 67-84.
  • “Affective Dissonance and Literary Mediation: Emotion Processing, Ethical Signification, and Aesthetic Autonomy in Cervantes’ Art of the Novel.” Cervantes: Bulletin of the American Cervantes Society 31, no. 2 (2012): 201-30.
  • “Novelistic Redemption and the History of Grace: Practical Theology and Literary Form in Richardson’s Pamela and Fielding’s Joseph Andrews,” in Theology and Literature in the Age of Johnson: Resisting Secularism, ed. Melyvn New and Gerard Reedy, S.J. (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2012), 1-26.
  • “Placing Human Constants within Literary History: Generic Revision and Affective Sociality in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest.” Poetics Today 32, no. 3 (2011): 519-589.