Denise Gigante

Sadie Dernham Patek Professor in the Humanities
Department Role
Director of Undergraduate Studies
B.A., Yale University, 1987
M.A., Princeton University, 1997
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2000
Denise Gigante

Denise Gigante teaches British Romantic literature, and poetry from the 17th through the 20th c. Her interests include poetic form and aesthetics, 19th c. bibliomania and literary antiquarianism, gastronomy (or literature and food), the history and genre of the literary essay, and relations between William Blake’s poetry and visual culture.

She is completing The Mental Traveller: William Blake, a study of Blake’s illuminated poetry in relation late Medieval and Renaissance Christian iconography and the literary tradition of Pilgrimage, in a heavily illustrated volume with artwork from the Italian Papal states and Tuscany, to be published as part of the Clarendon Lecture Series by Oxford University Press. Her most recent book is Book Madness: A Story of Book Collectors in America (forthcoming from Yale University Press), an experiment in associational literary history that explores different pockets of book collecting in mid-19th c. America. The story focuses on the sale of Charles Lamb’s antiquarian books—a quintessential book lover’s library—in New York in 1848. She is editing The Cambridge History of the British Essay, a fifty-chapter historiographical study of the development of the essay genre by authors from Europe, America, India, and Australia that includes her chapter on bibliographical writing, “On Book.s”

She is also the author of The Keats Brothers: The Life of John and George, (Harvard UP, 2011), Life: Organic Form and Romanticism (Yale UP, 2009), Taste: A Literary History (Yale UP, 2005), and two anthologies: The Great Age of the English Essay (Yale UP, 2008) and Gusto: Essential Writings in Nineteenth-Century Gastronomy (Routledge, 2005).


(650) 725-7080

Office Hours

By appt.

Research Interests

William Blake and Visual Culture (late-Medieval, Renaissance)
19th c. transatlanticism
Literature and Philosophy
Literature & Life Science
Animal Studies