Joshua Brorby

Postdoctoral Fellow
Pronouns: he/him

My research broadly concerns how translators of sacred texts transformed modes of reading and representation in the nineteenth century. In my book manuscript, Faith in Translation: Imagining Religious Pluralism in Victorian Literature, I argue that the literary culture of the Victorian period shaped the concept of religious pluralism before its modern political articulation. Central to this emergence was the liminal, sometimes anonymous task of translation. While sustaining attention to the emergence of religious pluralism in the nineteenth century, I also describe how the period in general was marked by long-standing hermeneutic debates made fresh again in the contexts of public controversies and a rapidly transforming relation to the global. Drawing on a diverse archive of translation programs, sermons, novels, and periodicals from Nanjing to London, my manuscript shows that the emergence of the idiom of pluralism comes in broad assertions of Spinozan similarity between religions, from the translative labors of F. Max Müller and other orientalists to the globalized histories of George Eliot’s Romola and Daniel Deronda. In Faith in Translation, I demonstrate that Victorian translators and novelists vividly depicted such likeness with urgency. 


“Dialects of Faith: Pluralism and Poetic Translation in F. Max Müller’s Sacred Books of the East.” Religion & Literature. Forthcoming. 

“Our Mutable Inheritance: Testing Victorian Philology in Our Mutual Friend.” Dickens Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 1, 2020, pp. 47-66. 

“Seeming as Believing: Epistemological Uncertainty and the World of Annus Mirabilis.” Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700, vol. 43, no. 1, 2019, pp. 29-50. 

Courses Taught

  • English Literature 316: Topics in Literature: Travel Writing and Empire, Spring 2022 
  • English Literature 156: First-Year Seminar: This Secular Age: Religion and Politics in Literature, Fall 2021 
  • English Literature 2152: Literature in English: Modern Texts and Contexts, Spring 2020 (co-instructor with Prof. William McKelvy) 
  • English Literature 324: Selected Writers: Jane Austen, Fall 2019 (T.A. for Dr. Amy Pawl)             
  • English Literature 317: Topics in English Literature: Gothic Traditions: From Frankenstein to Dracula, Spring 2019 (co-instructor with Prof. William McKelvy) 
  • English Literature 3525: Topics in Literature: 19th-Century Science Fiction, Fall 2018 (T.A. for Prof. Gary Wihl) 
  • Writing 103: What Is Justice?, Spring 2018, Fall 2017 


contact info:

research interests:

  • 19th-Century British literature
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