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Lene Østermark-Johansen

Lene Østermark-Johansen

Associate Professor

Primary fields of research

I hold joint degrees in English literature and art history, and the majority of my research centres on word-image relations, primarily in the nineteenth century. My current interests revolve around literary and visual portraiture, ekphrasis, and the interrelationship between language, sculpture and literature. I am interested in the literary forms chosen for writing about sculpture in the nineteenth century, in the stratification of language and in the way in which language can evoke three-dimensionality. Another current research interest is nineteenth-century cosmopolitanism, going back to some of my earlier work about the Victorian reception of the Italian Renaissance. In my ongoing work on Walter Pater’s Imaginary Portraits I am pursuing the close web of Anglo-French, Anglo-Dutch and Anglo-Italian forces at work as subtexts in his writings.


I teach and supervise broadly within British literature and art from the Renaissance until the 20th century.

Courses taught at MA level:

  • ‘The Spectacle of Madness in Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature’
  • ‘The Writings of the Brontë Sisters’
  • ‘Henry James and the Art of Lying’
  • ‘The Writings of Oscar Wilde’
  • Aestheticism
  • ‘The Child in Nineteenth-Century Literature’
  • ‘Literary and Visual Portraiture from the Renaissance to Modernism’
  • ‘The Representation of Venice in English Literature from Shakespeare to Jeannette Winterson’
  • ‘Literature and Sculpture in the Nineteenth Century’
  • ‘Sensation Fiction of the 1860s’
  • ‘The Italian Renaissance in Victorian Perspective’

Current research

  • A monograph on Walter Pater and portraiture
  • A critical edition of Walter Pater’s Imaginary Portraits, vol. 3 of The Collected Works of Walter Pater (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018)
  • An essay on Foreign Language Teaching and Reading Clubs in late Nineteenth-Century Copenhagen for a special issue of Forum for Modern Language Studies (OUP), eds Philip Bullock, Stefano Evangelista, Gesa Stedman
  • An essay on the impact of Walter Pater’s Leonardo essay in Britain for the edited volume Leonardo in Britain: Collections and Reception, eds. Susanna Avery-Quash and Juliana Barone (Florence: Olschki, forthcoming 2017)
  • The essay ‘Framing Likeness and Otherness: Mario Praz and Wax Portraiture’ for the edited volume Mario Praz: Voice in the Post-Romantic Scene, ed. Elisa Bizzotto (Oxford and Bern: Pater Lang, forthcoming 2018)


Selected publications

  1. Published

    Walter Pater and the Language of Sculpture

    Østermark-Johansen, L. 21 Jul 2011 Farnham: Ashgate. 364 p. (British Art: Global Contexts, Vol. 1).

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  2. Published

    Victorian and Edwardian Responses to the Italian Renaissance

    Law, J. E. & Østermark-Johansen, L. 2005 Aldershot: Ashgate. 321 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  3. Published

    Nose Book: Representations of the Nose in Literature and the Arts

    Østermark-Johansen, L. (ed.), Thomas, H. (ed.) & De Rijke, V. (ed.) 2000 London: Middlesex University. 342 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  4. Published

    Sweetness and Strength: The Reception of Michelangelo in Victorian Britain

    Østermark-Johansen, L. 1998 Aldershot: Ashgate. 320 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

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