Andrew Cole

Director, Gauss Seminars in Criticism; Professor of English


(609) 258–4090


31 McCosh Hall


Andrew Cole is author of The Birth of Theory (Chicago, 2014), which details Hegel’s discovery of the dialectic in medieval philosophy and canvasses the long history of dialectical thinking from Plotinus to Deleuze in the effort to revitalize dialectics for contemporary critical practice. This book is featured in PMLA’s “Theories and Methodologies” (May 2015), which includes Andrew’s response paper, “The Function of Theory at the Present Time.”

The Birth of Theory is the first volume of a three-part study. Elements of the Ideal is the second installment, examining the dialectic of idealism and materialism from Plato to the medieval mathematicians, and including expositions of Kant, Proust, Lenin, Lacan, and of course Hegel. Andrew has also written on idealism and materialism in such venues as Artforum, October, Problemi, and minnesota review; these and other papers are available here.

With his departmental colleague, D. Vance Smith, Andrew has edited The Legitimacy of the Middle Ages: On the Unwritten History of Theory, with an Afterword by Fredric Jameson (Duke, 2010). He also authored a major study of late medieval literature entitled, Literature and Heresy in the Age of Chaucer (Cambridge, 2008). His co-edited Cambridge Companion to Piers Plowman (2014) caps off his ten years as a co-editor at the Yearbook of Langland Studies (vols. 18-25), and his many articles on medieval literature (Chaucer and Langland, above all) appear in such journals as ELH and Speculum, with forthcoming essays in Chaucer Review and Transitional States.

Previously, Andrew has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College at the University of Oxford, and a Bloomfield Fellow at Harvard University. At Princeton at large, he sits with the executive committees for the Medieval Studies Program and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities, and is an affiliate in the postclassicisms network.

See full bio on the Department of English website.

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