Dr Aakanksha Virkar Yates researches and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century literature. Her research is fundamentally interdisciplinary, placing literary works in dialogue with theology, philosophy, music and visual culture.
She has published on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins and on the poetry and prose of T. S. Eliot, and is interested in the intersections between romanticism and modernism.
Aakanksha Virkar Yates completed her doctorate at the University of Sussex, prior to which she was a Commonwealth scholar at the University of Cambridge. From 2013-2015 she was a Visiting research fellow at Sussex and also at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, London.
Her work on the Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins has gained recognition, emphasising Hopkins' previously unacknowledged indebtedness to seventeenth-century visual culture. Her article on Hopkins and emblematics was ranked amongst the 50 Most Read articles published by ‘Literature and Theology’ (OUP) between 2007-2012.
Her monograph The Philosophical Mysticism of Gerard Manley Hopkins is forthcoming in the Routledge Research series, RSNL (Routledge Studies in Nineteenth Century Literature).
Her new research and forthcoming publications on T. S. Eliot consider the intersections of his poetry with philosophy, politics and music. She recently won a University of Brighton 'Rising stars' award (2017-18) to develop a project on 'Literature, Music and Conflict'. In part, this considers Eliot and other British writers in relation to the political legacy of Beethoven.
Virkar-Yates, Aakanksha (2017) Absolute music and the death of desire: Beethoven, Schopenhauer, Wagner and Eliot's Four Quartets Journal of Modern Literature, 40 (2). 79-93, in the topical cluster Revisiting Modernist Classics. ISSN 0022-281X
Virkar Yates, Aakanksha (2016) “Into our First World”: Schopenhauer, Wagner and the Music of the Will in Four Quartets In: Dickey, Frances and Morgernstern, John, eds. The Edinburgh Companion to T. S. Eliot and the Arts. Edinburgh Companions to Literature . Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 171-178. ISBN 9781474405287
Virkar-Yates, Aakanksha (2015) An objective chemistry: what T. S. Eliot borrowed from Schopenhauer Philosophy and Literature, 39 (2). pp. 527-537. ISSN 0190-0013
Journal articles and books
Virkar Yates, Aakanksha. 'Erhebung, Schopenhauer and T. S. Eliot's Burnt Norton', Notes and Queries 61, no. 1 (2014): 126-127.
Virkar Yates, Aakanksha. 'The Light Unchangeable: Hopkins and Augustinian Contemplation', Literature and Theology 27, no. 1 (2013): 65-80.
Virkar Yates, Aakanksha. 'G.M. Hopkins and Tractarian theology: the doctrine of baptismal regeneration', International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 12, no. 3-4 (2012 Special Issue: The Church and Literature): 263-278.
Virkar Yates, Aakanksha. 'The Heart’s Bower: Emblematics in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s 'The Wreck of the Deutschland' (1876), Literature and Theology 22, no. 1 (2008): 32-47. *
* Ranked by Literature and Theology in their 50 Most-Read Articles from May 2007 to April 2012.
Virkar, Aakanksha J.,'Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Song of Songs', Victorian Poetry 45, no. 2 (2007): 195-207.
'The Philosophical Mysticism of Gerard Manley Hopkins' (forthcoming, Routledge Studies of Nineteenth Century Literature).
Panel co-organised with Frances Dickey, 'The Modernist Ear: Intoxication, Melomania and War', British Association of Modernist Studies annual conference; paper 'Haunted by Beethoven: T S Eliot's Wartime Music' (Birmingham, July 1)
'Romantic Music and the Death of the Self in Modernist Poetry' as part of the seminar 'Legacies of Romanticism in the Tides of Modernity' (organised by Mark Freed and Azade Seyhan), American Comparative Literature Association annual meeting (Utrecht University, July 6-9)
‘Music, Impersonal Emotion and the Sublime in Eliot's Quartets’ at ‘Modernist Emotions’, 2nd international conference of the French Society for Modernist Studies (SEM), University Paris Ouest Nanterre (22-24 June)
‘Od' und leer das Meer: The Sea of Music, Eliot and Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy’, 37th annual meeting of the T. S. Eliot Society, Rapallo (17-21 June)
‘Philosophical Quest and Musical Investigation in Eliot's Quartets’, 5th international conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM), University of Rennes 2 (1-3 June)
‘Schopenhauer, Wagner and Eliot's Four Quartets,’ at 'Aestheticism and Decadence in the Age of Modernism: 1895 to 1945,' Institute of English Studies (17 April)
‘Absolute Music: Schopenhauer, Beethoven and Eliot's Four Quartets’, invited paper at the 35th annual meeting of the T. S. Eliot Society, St Louis (20 September)
‘G. M. Hopkins and the Jesuit Emblematic Tradition’, Heythrop 400th Anniversary Conference, Institute of English Studies (20 June)
‘The Inner Man as Subject and Audience in G. M. Hopkins’, invited paper at 'Hopkins Audiences', Newcastle University (4 April)
‘Emotion in Art across the Victorian Modernist Divide: T. S. Eliot and Schopenhauer’, plenary session at 'Beyond the Victorian Modernist Divide', University of Rouen (28 March)
‘Synergy and Energy in G. M. Hopkins,’ Institute of English Studies Research Fellows' Seminar Series (30 January)
‘The Chemistry of Verse: Image and Emotion in Schopenhauer and T.S. Eliot,’ at 'Efface the Traces: Modernism and Influence', Durham University (April)
University of Brighton 'Rising stars' award for 'Literature, Music and Conflict'
Shortlisted for AHRC/BBC Radio 3 New generation thinkers scheme
Ouput dissemination scheme award, University of Brighton Centre for Research and Development
Early Career Researcher Conference Funding University of Brighton
Cambridge Commonwealth Trust scholar (full scholarship from the Nehru Trust for Cambridge University)
Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society
J. N. Tata Endowment Fund for the Higher Education of Indians
Jamnadas Tribhovandas Seth Scholarship of St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, for English Literature
'The Light Unchangeable: Hopkins and Augustinian Contemplation' (LT 27 65–80) by Aakanksha Virkar-Yates provides a helpful reading of the Augustinian theology underlying Hopkins’s ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’... the contribution of a scholar who can so precisely define reference points between Hopkins' and Augustine's writings is significant, and particularly useful to those whose background is more literary than theological.
Summer Star, Year's Work in English Studies (2014) 93 (1): 712-823.
Recent critical interest in Victorian poetry and religion has given Hopkins studies renewed centrality, and the best of this year’s articles suggest a recognizably Victorian Hopkins. ‘The Heart’s Bower: Emblematics in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s The Wreck of the Deutschland (1876)’ (LT 22:i 32–47) by Aakanksha Virkar-Yates is a case in point. Virkar-Yates... [suggests] that recognition of the emblematics of the Wreck might move emphasis away from the body and reframe the poem within a mystical tradition.
Jane Wright, Year's Work in English Studies (2010) 89 (1): 679-789.