Dr Victoria Baena, Gonville and Caius




Biographical Information

I am a Research Fellow in English & Modern Languages at Gonville and Caius College. I completed my PhD in comparative literature from Yale in 2021, and was Diamonstein-Spielvogel Research Fellow at the New York Public Library in spring 2022. Before that, I studied History and Literature as an undergraduate at Harvard, followed by a year on a postgraduate fellowship to the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. I have taught courses on the modern novel, literature and revolution, translation, and fictions of mobility at Yale College, the Yale Prison Education Initiative, and Bard Microcollege at the Brooklyn Public Library.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the novel, narrative theory, and the politics of aesthetics from the late eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. In my current book project, Provinces of the Mind: Time, Narrative, and the Modern Novel, I trace a literary history of the province-capital divide across the Francophone and Anglophone traditions. This work has led me to engage in particular with feminist and Marxist theories, critical approaches to geography, and histories of empire and (anti-)colonialism. My research has been supported by the Beinecke Rare Arts & Manuscripts Library, the New York Public Library's Diamonstein-Spielvogel Fellowship, the MLA (international travel award), and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. 

I am also currently working on a book about the friendship in letters, and eventual rupture, between Gustave Flaubert and Amélie Bosquet, a socialist-feminist novelist and activist in the waning years of France’s Second Empire. The project was shortlisted for the Tony Lothian Prize for a first biography, and has also been supported by the Jentel Arts Residency and Women Writing Women’s Lives Association (WWWL).


Selected Publications

My academic work is published in ELH: English Literary History (2023), Victorian Literature and Culture (2023), Dix-Neuf (2023), Nineteenth-Century French Studies (2021), and Diacritics (2020). I have also written essays and reviews for venues like The Yale Review, The New York Review of Books, The Baffler, Boston Review, Dissent, and the L.A. Review of Books. My translation from the French of a short story by Marie NDiaye was recently published in an anthology entitled Visible: Text + Image (Two Lines Press, 2022).