Andrew Cole

Director, Gauss Seminars in Criticism; Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature; Professor of English


(609) 258–4090


31 McCosh Hall


Andrew Cole (Ph.D., Duke University) teaches in the Department of English and researches the literature and philosophy of the deep Middle Ages, proceeding all the way down to the antique and late antique contemplatives (Plato, Plotinus, Proclus) and back up to the geniuses of modern phenomenology and social theory, beginning with Hegel and Marx.

He is the author of The Birth of Theory (University of Chicago Press, 2014), which tells the previously untold story of Hegel discovering his famous dialectic in medieval models and using them to fashion a powerful critical tool, which to this day is central to some of the best kinds of theory. His previous book, Literature and Heresy in the Age of Chaucer (Cambridge University Press, 2008), shows how socially astute authors responded to the new ideas and circumstances brought about by England’s first collective heresy: Wycliffism.

In addition to publishing in such journals as ELH and Speculum, Cole has edited or co-edited a dozen volumes of scholarly and critical material—most recently, a collection of essays for the minnesota review entitled, “The Medieval Turn in Theory” (spring 2013), which includes his essay “The Call of Things: A Critique of Object Oriented Ontologies.” With D. Vance Smith, he has edited The Legitimacy of the Middle Ages: On the Unwritten History of Theory, with an Afterword by Fredric Jameson (Duke University Press, 2010); with Andrew Galloway, The Cambridge Companion to Piers Plowman (spring 2014); with Fiona Somerset and Lawrence Warner, eight volumes of the Yearbook of Langland Studies (vols. 18-25); as well as a special collection of essays for YLS (vol. 17) on the topic of “Langland and Lollardy.” Before joining Princeton in January 2010, Cole was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College at the University of Oxford, a Bloomfield Fellow at Harvard University, and a faculty member at the University of Georgia.

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