Kristin Mahoney

C636 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824


Associate Professor
Associate Chair of Graduate Studies
Director of Literary Studies

Literary Studies; Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Kristin Mahoney’s research focuses on late-Victorian Decadence and its afterlives in the twentieth century. Her first book, Literature and the Politics of Post-Victorian Decadence  (Cambridge University Press, 2015), focused on the manner in which authors and artists associated with late-Victorian Decadence in England, Italy, Ireland, and South Africa engaged with the World Wars, the rise of the Labour Party, Irish nationalism, and new sexological categories in the early-twentieth century, foregrounding the extent to which figures we tend to think of as Victorian continued to play a prominent role in the political and cultural life of the modernist period. Her new book, Queer Kinship after Wilde (Cambridge University Press, 2022) continues the work she began in her first book, troubling conventional boundaries of periodization, by considering the persistent influence of Oscar Wilde and the Decadent Movement’s radical thinking concerning the concept of kinship from the fin de siècle into the modernist moment. Drawing on letters, diaries, photo albums, and unpublished manuscript material as well as fiction, poetry, and life writing, this project brings to light networks of and experiments in affiliation that indicate how Victorian Decadence’s ideas about the family were revised, reformulated, and inflected with a cosmopolitan sensibility by a network of bohemian figures who looked back to Wilde and forward to new ways of practicing connection in the early twentieth century. Her articles have appeared in Victorian StudiesVictorian Literature and Culture, and Criticism. She is also the editor, along with Kate Hext and Alex Murray, of Cusp: Late 19th-/20th-Century Cultures (Johns Hopkins University Press) and, along with Dustin Friedman, of the forthcoming collection Nineteenth-Century Literature in Transition: The 1890s (Cambridge University Press). Before joining the Department of English at MSU, she taught at Western Washington University.

Ph.D., English, University of Notre Dame, August 2004

M.A., English, University of Notre Dame, May 2001

B.A., Literature, New College of Florida, June 1998


ENG 210 Foundations of Literary Study

ENG 211H Foundations of Literary Study

ENG 320B Methodologies of Literary History: Region, School, or Movement
(The Cult of Beauty: Pre-Raphaelitism/Aestheticism/Decadence)

ENG 362 Studies in Modern/Contemporary Literature

WS 424 Queer Studies Seminar
(Queer Literary Histories)

ENG 484C Critical Questions in a Literary Period
(Apocalyptic Victorians)

ENG 814 Transnational Decadence and Modernism


“Taking Wilde to Sri Lanka & Beardsley to Harlem: Decadent Practice, Race, and Orientalism.” Victorian Literature and Culture(2021)

“Nancy Cunard and the Afterlives of Decadent Desire.” Feminist Modernist Studies 4.2 (2021):  222-34.

“The Decadent Novel.” The Oxford Handbook of Decadence. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. 

“Camp Modernism and Decadence.” A History of Literary Decadence. Ed. Alex Murray.  Cambridge University Press, 2020. 

“Feeling Like an Outsider: Harold Acton, Anna May Wong, and Decadent Cosmopolitanism in  China.” Volupté: Interdisciplinary Journal of Decadence Studies 3.1 (2020): 119-23.

“Dainty Malice: Ada Leverson, Post-Victorian Decadence, and Feminist Dandyism.” Decadence in the Age of Modernism. Ed. Alex Murray and Kate Hext. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019.

“Michael Field’s Eric Gill: Radical Kinship, Cosmopolitanism, and Queer Catholicism.” Michael Field, Decadent Moderns. Ed. Ana Vadillo and Sarah Parker. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2019.

“Decadence.” Victorian Literature and Culture 46.3/4 (2018): 636-40.

“An Extraordinary Marriage: The Mackenzies, Post-Victorian Decadence, and the Queer Cosmopolitanism of Capri.” Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism 3 (2018): 113-131.

“On the Ceylon National Review, 1906-11.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History (2018). 

“Ethics and Empathy in the Literary Criticism of Vernon Lee.” Nineteenth-Century Prose 43.1-2 (2016): 193-210.

“Camp Aesthetics and Inequality: Baron Corvo’s Toto Stories.” Economies of Desire in the Long Nineteenth Century: Libidinal Lives. Ed. Jane Ford and Kim Edwards Keates. New York: Routledge, 2016.

Literature and the Politics of Post-Victorian Decadence. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

“The Transition to Modernism: Recent Scholarship on the Victorian/Modern Divide.” Literature Compass 10.9 (2013): (716-24).

“Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Politics of Collecting in The Connoisseur, An Illustrated Magazine for Collectors.” Victorian Periodicals Review 45.2 (2012): 175-99.

“Work, Lack, and Longing: D.G. Rossetti’s ‘The Blessed Damozel’ and the Working Men’s College.” Victorian Studies 52.2 (2010): 219-248.

“Haunted Collections: Vernon Lee and Ethical Consumption.” Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts 48.1 (2006): 39-67.

University News

Journal, Co-Created by English Professor, Receives Prestigious Award
Published January 24, 2024 in College of Arts & Letters
An academic journal co-created by Kristin Mahoney, Associate Professor in the Department of English at Michigan State University, has received the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) Best…Read now »
College Celebrates Accomplishments of 2023 Promoted Faculty
Published September 20, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Outdoor clock tower.
This year, 20 faculty members within the College of Arts & Letters have received promotions. The success of these individuals was celebrated during the 2023 Faculty and Staff…Read now »
On the Cusp: English Professor Establishes New Journal
Published January 25, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Kristin Mahoney, Associate Professor in the Department of English at Michigan State University, has helped create a new journal that focuses on field-defining scholarship on the works,…Read now »
Steffke Receives Prize Awarded to Most Outstanding Graduating Senior
Published April 16, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
portrait of a girl with brown hair wearing a brown blazer and a white shirt
Emily Steffke, a graduating senior earning a B.S. in Neuroscience and a B.A. in English, has been named the 2020 recipient of the Richard Lee Featherstone Endowed Prize.  The prize is given…Read now »