Dr Alex Wong, St John's




Biographical Information

From Michaelmas 2020 I am a College Associate Lecturer and Director of Studies (for Pt I) at St John's College, of which I have been a member since 2015 when I joined as a Research Fellow.

Besides my undergraduate teaching (on a range of early-modern, modern and transhistorical topics), I am working intermittently on a project concerned with some aspects of the influence of John Ruskin and Walter Pater on subsequent anglophone writing about aesthetic experience, particularly with regard to its moral dimensions or implications. Dramatis personae include Vernon Lee, Bernard Berenson, Geoffrey Scott, Adrian Stokes and Marion Milner. I am also editing a new anthology of poems and essays by Alice Meynell.

                                                                         Shadow and Refrain

Research Interests

English poetry of the early modern period until about 1700; English Renaissance verse in relation to Renaissance Latin verse.

The influence, imitation, appreciation and criticism of early modern English literature in later British culture, especially in the 'long' nineteenth century.

Victorian literature, with an emphasis on authors associated with the Aesthetic Movement.

Essayists, critics and writers on aesthetic matters from the nineteenth century onward, especially in the tradition of Ruskin and Pater.

Modern poetry and its discontents.

Form, style and genre.

Writing on food. Hawaiiana. Irony.


Selected Publications


The Poetry of Kissing in Early Modern Europe: From the Catullan Revival to Secundus, Shakespeare and the English Cavaliers (Boydell and Brewer, 2017).     xxx

  The Poetry of Kissing in Early Modern Europe     


Selected Essays of Walter Pater (Carcanet, 2018).

Walter Pater, Selected Essays, ed. Alex Wong

Selected Verse of Algernon Charles Swinburne (Carcanet, 2015).



[Commissioned: a chapter on Walter Pater’s critical studies of Shakespeare, for a book on Pater as a critic of English literature, ed. Charles Martindale, Lene Oestermark-Johansen and Elizabeth Prettejohn (CUP, forthcoming).]

‘The Gourmand as Essayist: Style and Irony in the Culinary Essays’, in Elizabeth Robins Pennell: Critical Essays, ed. Dave Buchanan and Kimberly Morse Jones (Edinburgh University Press, 2021), pp. 153-70.

Elizabeth Robins Pennell

‘Catullus in the Renaissance’, in The Cambridge Companion to Catullus, ed. Ian Du Quesnay and Anthony Woodman (CUP, 2021), pp. 318-42.

The Cambridge Companion to Catullus

‘ “Non Sum Qualis”: Three Comparative Readings’, in In Cynara’s Shadow: Collected Essays on Ernest Dowson, ed. Alice Condé and Jessica Gossling (Peter Lang, 2019), pp. 57-84.

‘Dowson’s “Cynara” and the English Alexandrine: A Study of Form in Context’, English Literature in Transition, 60:2 (Jan 2017), 210-34.

‘Vernon Lee’s Problem with Landor’, Cambridge Quarterly, 45:2 (2016), 135-56.

‘The Hard and the Soft in the Humanist Poetry of Kissing’, The International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 21:1 (2014), 30-66.

‘Sir Philip Sidney and the Humanist Poetry of Kissing’, The Sidney Journal, 31:2 (2013), 1-30.

‘Joseph Beaumont and Richard Crashaw: A Study in Standing-Points’, English, 62:238 (Autumn 2013), 316-36.

‘An Allusion to Tasso in W. S. Landor’s Gebir, and its Generic Implications’, Notes and Queries, 60 [258]:2 (June 2013), 223-26.

‘“Dainty Martyrdom” and “Hot Devotion” in the Verse of Joseph Beaumont’, Religion and Literature, 44:2 (Summer 2012), 1-34.

‘Uttering Angels and Minting Metaphors: Some Numismatic Tropes in Early Modern British Poetry’, British Numismatic Journal, 82 (2012), 121-32.

‘D.G. Rossetti’s Transfigured Life: “With Compassed Mysteries Musical” ’, Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, New Series 20 (Fall 2011), 25-42.

‘Mystic Excess: Extravagance and Indecorum in Richard Crashaw’, Cambridge Quarterly, 39:4 (2010), 350-69.



A brief appreciation of poems by Nell Prince, Carcanet Press Blog, 2021. Online here.

A short reading of Christopher Middleton’s poem ‘The Space of the Mandarin Duck’, Jogos Florais, 2017. Online here.

Review of Sara Lyons, Algernon Swinburne and Walter Pater: Aestheticism, Doubt, and Secularisation (Legenda, 2015), in Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism, 2 (Autumn 2016), 88-91.

‘Still to be Neat’: review of Adam Roberts, Landor’s Cleanness: A Study of Walter Savage Landor (OUP, 2014), in Essays in Criticism, 66:1 (2016), 123-31.

Review of Keith Hanley and Brian Maidment, Persistent Ruskin: Studies in Influence, Assimilation and Effect (Ashgate, 2013), in Notes and Queries, 61 [259]:2 (June 2014), 317-18.

Review of George Meredith, Modern Love and Poems of the English Roadside, with Poems and Ballads, ed. Rebecca N. Mitchell and Criscillia Benford (Yale, 2013), in TLS (Sept 13 2013: No 5763), 13.

‘Crashaw 400’, Part 1, PN Review, 211 (May-June 2013), 60-63; Part 2, PN Review, 212 (July-August 2013), 69-70.

Review of Barrie Cook, Angels and Ducats: Shakespeare’s Money and Medals (British Museum Press, 2012), in The British Numismatic Journal, 83 (2013), 328-29.

Review of Richard Cronin, Reading Victorian Poetry (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), in TLS (Aug 3 2012: No 5705), 27.



Shadow and Refrain

Poems Without Irony