Donald Wesling is Professor Emeritus of English Literature at UC San Diego.  He has published on Wordsworth, John Muir, Edward Dorn, and Bakhtin; on rhyme, meter, and avant-garde prosody; and on how voice and emotion get into writing.  His book for Palgrave concerns how humans, evolved from animals, have learned to code perception of movement into sentences and scenes.  

This website is re-organized on the occasion of new work in 2023. These two books are soon to be published: 

The DW translation from the Russian of I Lived on the Battlefield of Poltava (1985), a long poem by Alexei Parshchikov. This will be published in facing-text Russian and English by Academic Studies Press in Boston, with photos of Alexei Parshchikov taken by DW in Kyiv and Moscow in 1988.  The Contents of this volume are given below. Parshchikov, a friend to DW, was a leading figure in the Metarealist movement in Russia in the 1980s, and left that country in 1989 to study at Stanford (early ’90s) and to live and work in Cologne, Germany. He died in 2009.

A literature-philosophy crossover study in an introduction and eight chapters, titled Perceiving-Thinking-Writing: Merleau-Ponty and Literature. This will be published in late 2023 or early 2024 by University of Debrecen Press, Debrecen, Hungary, under the editorial auspices of Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies, general Editor Donald Morse.  The Press at Debrecen has just made an agreement for joint publication with international publisher DeGruyter, which will result in wider distribution. The book itself will be published for free online, but print copies will be for sale from the Press at Debrecen.  Maurice Merleau-Ponty is the French philosopher of perception, a leading figure in phenomenology, who died in 1961. Click below to find a short paragraph that summarizes the leading ideas of the book, and also a complete table of contents with a set of chapter-summaries at some length. 

Animal Perceptions of Literature Language

From 2019 was the publication of his study of Animal Perception and Literary Language



Article on Scholarly Writing: “Scholarly Writing and Emotional Knowledge,” in Papers on Language & Literature, Vol. 43, No.4 (Fall 2007). University of Illinois, Edwardsville, Illinois (pp. 363-389).

Book from a Commercial Press: Joys and Sorrows of Imaginary Persons (On Literary Emotions). Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Editions, 2008. 221 pages.

Chapbook of poems by Ajtósi Dürer Press: The Search of Appearance in Budapest. San Diego: Ajtósi Dürer Press, 2009. 40 pages.

Review of a Book on Mikhail Bakhtin and Poetry: Review of Jacob Blevins, editor, Dialogism and Lyric Self-Fashioning: Bakhtin and the Voices of a Genre, Susquehanna University Press, 2010), in Comparative Literature Studies. Penn State University Press, Vol. 47, No. 2 (2010) (pp. 234-236).

Article on Science Fiction, Published in Hungarian Academic Journal, in an Issue devoted to The Uses of Narrative: “Imagining Science in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Novel Gallileo’s Dream (2009).” Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies. Debrecen, Hungary. Vol. 16, Nos. 1-2 (2010). Double Issue in Honor of Professor Zoltán Abadi-Nagy (pp. 87-108).

Review of two books on Neuroscience and Aesthetics: “The Meeting-Place of Neuroscience and Aesthetics,” a Review of Barbara Maria Stafford, Echo Objects: the Cognitive Work of Images, University of Chicago Press, 2007, 218 pages; and of Irving Massey, The Neural Imagination: Aesthetic and Neuroscientific Approaches to the Arts, University of Texas Press, 2009, 224 pages, in Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies. Debrecen, Hungary: Volume 16-1-2, 2012 (pp. 257-263).

Article in Festschrift for the 60th Birthday of Professor Enikö Bollobás: “Speaking as Doing: Two Recent Books on Performativity.” In Tanulmányok Bollobás Enikö: 60, Születésnapyjára. Eötvös Loránd University Press, English-American Department, Budapest, 2012 (pp. 131-134).

Book (fiction) published through Amazon and for sale through Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook: Women in Charge (seven stories). Amazon Kindle, 2012. 200 pages.

Poems Published in Hungarian journal in two issues in 2012: “The Search of Appearance: Poems of Hungary [with an introductory note in each issue]. Hungarian Review: A Bi-Monthly Journal from Central Europe. Budapest. Volume III, No.3, May 2012 (pp. 109-119). And second section: Volume III, No.4, July 2012 (pp. 115-120).

Review on an ecological topic, Published in Hungarian journal: “Watershed Consciousness—The Danube: A Journey Upriver.” Review of Nick Thorpe, The Danube: A Journey Upriver from the Black Sea to the Black Forest (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), in Hungarian Review: A Bi-Monthly Journal from Central Europe. Budapest. Volume V, No. 4, July 2014 (pp. 87-92).

Review of a Book on Mikhail Bakhtin and Romantic Literature: Review of Walter L. Reed, Romantic Literature in Light of Bakhtin, Bloomsbury Academic, 2014 (186 pages), in Review 19, an online review of new books in 19th Century English Studies, founding editor James Heffernan: The review was run on 2014-07-02; original text was 8 pages long.

Article in the Animal Studies Field: “On Companion Animals in Krasznahorkai,” in Hungarian Review: A Bi-Monthly Journal from Central Europe. Budapest. Volume V, No. 6, November 2014 (pp. 96-107).

Short Personal Article “On Scanning the Family Photographs,” published in the Newsletter of the UCSD Emeriti Association in 2015: “On Scanning the Family Photographs,” chronicles_Vol_XV_No3pdf.

Article in the Animal Studies field: “Placing the Work of Timothy Morton in Material Ecocriticism,” in Zoophilologica: Polish Journal of Animal Studies, an ejournal in Polish, Russian, and English. Katowice, Poland: University of Silesia Publishing House. Volume I, No. 1, 2016 (pp. 60-68).

Article based on presentation at the 15th International Bakhtin Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, July 2014: “Bakhtin, Pushkin, and the Co-Creation of Those Who Understand,” in Bakhtiniana: Revista do Estudios do Discurso, an ejournal in Portugese and English. São Paolo: September/December 2016 (pp. 201-215).

Article in Festschrift to Celebrate the Career of Tadeusz Sławek of the University of Silesia: “Bakhtin, Pushkin, and the Co-Creativity of Those Who Understand.” In Polytropos: Na drogach Tadeusza Sławka (Tracing Tadeusz Sławek’s Routes). University of Silesia Press, Katowice, Poland, 2016 (pp. 510-522).

Book from a Commercial Press: Animal Perception and Literary Language, published January 2019 by Palgrave Macmillan, an imprint of Springer Nature (New York, 2019). 327 pages.

Contribution to a Collaborative Publication with many authors, on Climate Change in the Anthropocene Era: “Letter to Kim Stanley Robinson on his Novel New York 2140 (2017).” In The End of the World Project, edited by Richard Lopez, John Bloomberg-Rissman, and T. C. Marshall. Moria Books, Munster Indiana, 2019 (in volume 2 of 2, pp. 914-917).

Review. Accounting for the re-publication of early [1915-1924] books by American Modern Poets in the list of Dover Books. This review covers books by Robert Frost, E.E. Cummings, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens. American Book Review (University of Houston-Victoria Victoria, Texas), May/June 2020, pp. 21-22.

Book of PoemsCitrusy (82 pages). San Diego: Cañon de Chelly Press, 2021. *

Book of PoemsThe Fort Rosecrans Elegies (62 pages). San Diego: Cañon de Chelly Press, 2023. 


Born 1939 in Buffalo, New York, United States
San Diego, CA. 92109 USA; phone (858) 488-4824;

B.A. in English Literature, Harvard College, 1960
B.A. in English Tripos, Trinity Hall, Cambridge University, England, 1962 Ph.D. in English Literature, Harvard University, 1965

Teaching Assistant, Harvard College, 1962-1965
Assistant Professor of English, University of California, San Diego, 1965-1967
Lecturer, American Literature, University of Essex, England, 1967-1970
Professor of English, University of California, San Diego, 1970 to the present
Chair, Department of Literature, University of California, San Diego, 1985-1988
Otto Salgo Professor of American Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary, 1997-1998
Director of Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, 2007-2010

Harvard College National Scholarship, 1956-1960
Marshall Scholarship for Study in England, Trinity Hall, Cambridge University, 1960-1962
National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Humanist Fellowship for study in London, 1973-1974
American Council of Learned Societies Travel Grant for travel to Poland, 1987 University of California Research Exchange with Leningrad State University, Russia, from

September to November 1988
Mountjoy Fellowship at the Basil Bunting Poetry Archive, Durham University, England, from April to June 1993
Humanities Center (UC San Diego) Faculty Fellowship, Spring Quarter 2002
Salgo Fellowship at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, 1997-1998
Honorary Doctorate degree awarded by Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary,

May 2004. Citation: Doctor Et Professor Honoris Causa
Fulbright Országh László Chair in American Studies, Distinguished Lecturing Award, at the North American Department, Institute of English and American Studies, Debrecen University, Hungary: January-June 2007.

Publications of Donald Wesling

Book Publications: Criticism and Literary History

Animal Perception and Literary Language (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, an imprint of Springer Nature Switzerland AG, 2019)

Joys and Sorrows of Imaginary Persons (On Literary Emotions) (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Editions BV, 2008)

Bakhtin and the Social Moorings of Poetry (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2003)

Bakhtin and the Nation (Special Issue of The Bucknell Review 43.2 [2000]: member of Editorial collective for hard-cover Issue)

The Scissors of Meter: Grammetrics and Reading (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996)

Literary Voice: The Calling of Jonah, written in collaboration with Tadeusz Sławek of the University of Silesia, Poland (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995)

The New Poetries: Poetic Form Since Wordsworth and Coleridge (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1985)

Internal Resistances: The Poetry of Edward Dorn, edited and with a chapter by Donald Wesling (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985)

John Muir: To Yosemite and Beyond, Writings from the Yosemite Years, 1863-1875, co- editor with Robert Engberg (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1980; reprint, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1998)

The Chances of Rhyme: Device and Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980)

Wordsworth and the Adequacy of Landscape (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970)

Selected Articles [partial list]

“Scholarly Writing and Emotional Knowledege,” in Papers on Language & Literature 43,4 (Edwardsville, Illinois, Fall 2007): 363-389.

”Emotion Deriving from Sequence in William Carlos Williams’s Spring and All,” in William Carlos Williams Review 24,2 (Fall 2004): 41-47.

”The Representational Moment in the Discourse of the Nation: Jean Baudrillard’s America,” in Hungarian Journal of English and American Literature 4,1-2 (Debrecen, Hungary, 1998; actually published in October 2001): 9-19.

“Scottish Narrative Since 1979: Monologism and the Contradictions of a Stateless Nation,” in Scotlands 4,2 (Edinburgh University Press, 1997): 81-98.

“Moral Sentiment from Adam Smith to Robert Burns,” in Studies in Scottish Literature 30 (1997): 147-155.

”Constructivist Theory and the Literary Canon,” in Hungarian Journal of English and American Literature 3,1 (1997): 139-148.

“Michel Serres, Bruno Latour, and the Edges of Historical Periods,” in Clio: A Journal of Literature and History 26,2 (Spring 1997): 189-204.

“The Matter of Scotland,” in Writing Places and Mapping Words: Readings in BritishCultural Studies, edited by David Jarrett, Tadeusz Rachwał, and Tadeusz Sławek (Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Slawkiego [University of Silesia Press], 1996): 117-134.

”Free Verse,” an encyclopedia entry written in collaboration with Dr. Enikö Bollobás, ELTE, Budapest (co-author), in The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, edited by Alex Preminger and T. V. F. Brogan (Princeton University Press, 1993): 425-427.

Collaborative translation from the Russian, done with Molly W. Wesling [daughter], of Mikhail Ryklin’s essay, “Bodies of Terror: Theses Toward a Logic of Violence,” with an Introduction by Caryl Emerson, in New Literary History 24,1 (Winter 1993): 45-74, including Emerson’s Introduction.

Translation from the Russian of “Statement” and of four poems by Vladimir Aristov, in Third Wave: The New Russian Poetry, edited by Kent Johnson and Stephen M. Ashby (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992): 179-185.

“The Speaking Subject in Russian Poetry and poetics Since 1917,” New Literary History 23,1 (Winter 1992): 93-112.

“Writing Leningrad/Leningrad Writing,” in PN Review 76, edited by Michael Schmidt (Manchester, UK: November-December 1990): 45-49 (double-column pages)

“Notes from the Middleground” [account of a literary trip to Leningrad], in Rolling Stock, edited by Ed and Jenny Dorn (Boulder, Colorado: 1989): 21.

“Late Capitalist Lyric: Politics in American Poetry (and Poetics) Since 1945,” in Cross-Cultural Studies: American, Canadian, and European Literatures: 1945-1985, Edited by Mirko Jurak (Ljubljana: Edvard Kardelj University, 1988): 25-30.

”Writing as Power in the Slave Narratives of the Early Republic,” Michigan Quarterly Review 26,3 (Summer 1987).

”Przestrzen amerykanska” [“American Space”], published in Polish: Studio 8 (Warsaw,Poland: Fall 1986): 11 pages.

“Translating Sung Tz’u: Contemporary English Renditions of the Chinese Lyrical,” Tamkang Review 25 (Taipei, R.O.C.: Autumn 1984-Summer 1985): 39 pages.

”Rewriting the History of Poetic Form Since Wordsworth,” in Tak-Wai Wong and M.A. Abbas, editors, Rewriting Literary History (Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong Press, 1984).

”Coleridge’s ‘Essay on Method’ and the Romantic Foundations of Modern Poetics,” in Continental Drifter 1,1 (Boulder, Colorado: 1984): 21-37.

”Verse Form: Recent Studies” [a review article], written in collaboration with Dr. Enikö Bollobás, then of Seged University, Hungary: reviewing books by T. V. F. Brogan and Charles Hartman in Modern Philology 81,1 (August 1983): 53-60.

”For a Materialist Poetics,” PN Review 30 (Manchester, England: December 1982): 30-34.
”What the Canon Excludes: Lindsay and the American Bardic,” Michigan Quarterly Review 31,3 (Summer 1982): 479-485.

”Difficulties of the Bardic: Literature and the Human Voice,” Critical Inquiry 8,1 (Fall 1981): 69-81.

“Methodological Implications of the Philosophy of Jacques Derrida for Comparative Literature: The Opposition East-West and Several Other Oppositions,” in Chinese-Western Comparative Literature: Theory and Strategy, edited by John J. Deeney (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1980): 79-111.

“Rhetoric and Poetic in an Avant-Garde Era,” Tamkang Review (Taipei, R. O. C.) 6,2 and 7.1 (October 1975-April 1976): 403-427.

”The Prosodies of Free Verse,” Harvard English Studies 2 (Cambridge, MA: 1971): 155- 187.

”The Inevitable Ear: Freedom and Necessity in Lyric Form, Wordsworth and After,” ELH: A Journal of English Literary History 36,3 (September 1969): 544-556.

“Eschatology and the Language of Satire in Piers Plowman,” Criticism 10,4 (Detroit:Fall 1968): 277-289.

”Free Speech and Free Verse,” an account of the Berkeley Poetry Conference of Summer of 1965 in The Nation (November 1965): 338-340.

“An Ideal of Greatness: Ethical Implications in Dr. Johnson’s Critical Vocabulary,” in University of Toronto Quarterly 34,2 (January 1965): 133-145.

Other pages:
Portfolio ~ Contact Me
Book pages:
Animal Perceptions ~ Perceiving Thinking

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