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Karl Axelsson

Contact information

Karl Axelsson
Alfred Nobels allé 7
Södertörns Högskola
Phone: +46 8 608 5288
PA 204c Primus

I am Research Fellow in Comparative Literature at the School of Culture and Education. I have previously held positions as Research Fellow and Lecturer in Aesthetics at the Department of Philosophy at Uppsala University (2012-2015) and as Associate of King’s College, University of Cambridge (2014 and 2015). I was awarded Wenner-Gren Foundation’s Postdoctoral Fellowship to King’s College, 2008-2010. I have also been Visiting Fellow at the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University (2010) and at the Faculty of English (Research Group for Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies) in Cambridge (2014 and 2016).


Publications (books)

Political Aesthetics: Addison and Shaftesbury on Taste, Morals, and Society (forthcoming Bloomsbury, 2018)

• Swedish translation of the third Earl of Shaftesbury, The Moralists, a Philosophical Rhapsody. Being a Recital of Certain Conversations on Natural and Moral Subjects (forthcoming Thales, 2018)

The Sublime: Precursors and British Eighteenth-Century Conceptions, diss. Uppsala University (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2007)

Tystnad Tagning On the Regional History of Swedish Cinema, 1919–1968 (Torsby: Heidrun, 2000)


Selected Essays and Reviews

• ”Shaftesbury om poetisk sanning och det naturliga samhället” [Shaftesbury on Poetical Truth and Natural Society], Lychnos: Annual of the Swedish History of Science Society 2017, ed. Katarina Leppänen, 11-25 [peer reviewed]

• “Contemplation or Manipulation? Aesthetic Perspectives on Nature and Animals from Shaftesbury to Bio-Art”, International Yearbook of Aesthetics, ed. Zoltán Somhegyi (Santa Cruz, California: International Association for Aesthetics, 2017), 29-41 [peer reviewed]

• “Shaftesbury på svenska: Moralisterna, Richard Hejll och översättandets konst” [Shaftesbury in Swedish: The Moralists, Richard Hejll, and the art of translation], Biblis (National Library of Sweden, Stockholm), no. 76, 2016/2017, 43–47

• “A Realized Disposition: Shaftesbury on Natural Affections and Taste”, in New Ages, New Opinions: Shaftesbury in his World and Today, ed. Patrick Müller (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2014), 27–44 [peer reviewed]

• “‘Taste is not to conform to the art, but the art to the taste’: Aesthetic Instrumentalism and the British Body Politic in the Neoclassical Age”, Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, vol. 5, 2013, 16 pp., DOI: 10.3402/jac.v5i0.21096 [peer reviewed]

• “Shaftesbury auf Deutsch: Estetik, Bildung och ett intresselöst intresse” [Shaftesbury auf Deutsch: Aesthetics, Bildung, and disinterested interest], Biblis (National Library of Sweden, Stockholm), no. 63, 2013, 62–67

• “De brittiska moralisterna: Konsten att bilda ett smakomdöme och förnedra en slav” [The British Moralists: The art of forming a judgment of taste and humiliating a slave], Subaltern (Bokförlaget h:ström – Text & Kultur), no. 4, 2012, 60–63

• Review of Maria Semi’s Music as a Science of Mankind in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), Eighteenth-Century Music (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), vol. 10, no. 1, 2013, 16–18

• Review of Jenny Davidson’s Breeding: A Partial History of the Eighteenth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), English Studies. A Journal of English Language and Literature (Routledge/Taylor & Francis), vol. 93, no. 4, 2012, 493–495

• “Mellan känslor och normer: Hume om smakomdömet och kritikern” [Emotions and norms: Hume on the judgment of taste and the critic], in Förnuft, Känsla, Moral: perspektiv på David Hume, ed. Robert Callergård (Stockholm: Thales, 2011), 13–33 [peer reviewed]

• “The (Un)changing Nature: Judgment of Taste and Bildung in The Tatler, The Spectator, and The Guardian in the Early Eighteenth Century”, Nordic Yearbook for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2011, 72–92 [peer reviewed]

• “Konst och Moral i 1700-talets Storbritannien” [Art and morals in eighteenth-century Britain], Tvärsnitt, Swedish Research Council, no. 3, 2009, 35–38

• “Joseph Addison and General Education: Moral Didactics in Early Eighteenth-Century Britain”, Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, no. 2, 2009, 144–166 [peer reviewed]

• “Könsspecifika erfarenheter och transpersonen i akademin” [Gender specific experiences and transgender in the academy], Tidningen Kulturen, 16.4.2009

• “Joseph Addison och The Spectator – Borgerlighetens folkbildare” [Joseph Addison and The Spectator – educators of the middle class], Noesis. Idéhistorisk tidskrift, Stockholm University, no. 4, 2008, 5–13

• Review of Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008, eds. Steven M. Cahn and Aaron Meskin) and English Literature in Context (Cambridge: CUP, 2008, ed. Paul Poplawski), TFL – Tidskrift för litteraturvetenskap, no. 2, 2008, 94–98

• “Kulturindustrin” [The culture industry], Dagens Nyheter, 11.2.2008 (co-author Dr Camilla Flodin, Department of Philosophy, Uppsala University)

• “Hyllning till osäkerhetens skönhetsvärde”, an essay on Alexander Nehamas’ Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art (Princeton: PUP, 2007), Svenska Dagbladet, 13.7.2007

• “Höjd över livets medelmåttiga stunder”, an essay on James Kirwan’s Sublimity: The Non-Rational and the Irrational in the History of Aesthetics (New York: Routledge, 2005), Svenska Dagbladet, 28.9.2005

• “Från idé till fantasi. Om modernitet och modernism” [From idea to imagination: On modernity and modernism], Valör. Konstvetenskapliga studier, Department of Art History, Uppsala University, no. 2–3, 2003, 7–21

• “Queer på film” [Queer in cinema], Upsala Nya Tidning, 26.10.2001