Colored photo of a woman smiling
Sharon  Aronofsky  Weltman 
Bachelor's Degree(s): BA, English & Anthropology, University of Texas (Austin), 1979
Master's Degree: MA & MPhil, English, Rutgers, 1989; MAT, Humanities, University of Texas-Dallas, 1984;
PhD: PhD, English, Rutgers, 1992
Phone: (225) 578-2857
Fax: (225) 578-4129
Office: Allen 210-D


I came to LSU in 1992, fresh from earning my PhD at Rutgers, and I have been here happily ever since.  Having written two books on the Victorian art and social critic John Ruskin, I have focused my research increasingly on Victorian theater, theories of performance, and adaptations of nineteenth-century literature to the popular stage.  In addition to the aesthetic theories of Ruskin and Oscar Wilde, I am as comfortable writing and teaching about Regency pantomime, Victorian penny dreadfuls, nineteenth-century periodical illustrations, and twentieth-century Broadway musicals as I am discussing novels by Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë or poems by Christina Rossetti and John Keats.  My books are Performing the Victorian: John Ruskin and Identity in Theater, Science, and Education (2007) and Ruskin’s Mythic Queen: Gender Subversion in Victorian Culture, named Outstanding Academic Book by Choice magazine in 1999. I have guest-edited issues of both Nineteenth-Century Prose in 2008 and in 2012 Nineteenth-Century Theatre and Film, which is a scholarly edition of the never-before-published original version of the 1847 melodrama Sweeney Todd, first performed at the Britannia in London’s East End.  My greatest claim to fame in the pop culture world—and the fact that gives me instant credibility with my kids’ friends—is my appearance as a talking head on the special features disk of Tim Burton’s film Sweeney Todd (DVD 2008). I’ve also published many book chapters and essays in such journals as Nineteenth-Century Literature, Dickens Studies Annual, and Nineteenth-Century Contexts.

Area of Interest

Victorian Literature and Culture, Victorian Theater, Romantic Literature, Pre-Raphaelite Literature and Visual Art, Nineteenth-Century Periodicals and Print Culture, Neo-Victorian Studies, Non-Fiction Prose, Poetry, Drama, Melodrama, Broadway Musicals, Adaptation Studies, Appropriations of Victorian Literature and Culture to other Media, Theater History, Dance History, Literary Theory, Theater and Performance Theory, Gender and Sexuality, Myth. 

Awards & Honors
  • NEH Seminar Director, 2013-1014:  Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers:  “Performing Dickens:  Oliver Twist and Great Expectations on Page, Stage, and Screen,” summer 2014
  • ATLAS year-long research fellowship, 2012-2013 
  • LSU Distinguished Faculty Award, 2012
  • Board of Regents Enhancement Grant, 2009-2011
  • LSU Flagship Faculty, 2011  
  • Sigma Tau Delta (International English Honor Society) LSU Chapter:  Favorite Professor Award, 2008 
  • LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award, 2006
  • Outstanding Academic Book award for Ruskin's Mythic Queen, Choice magazine, 1999
  •  Kurt Weill Foundation Award Finalist for Best Essay on Musical Theater, 1999
  •  Most Accommodating Faculty Award, Students with Disability Services, LSU, 1999
  •  Woodrow Wilson National Teacher Fellowship, 1981-1983


Selected Publications



  • Sweeney Todd: The String of Pearls, Or The Fiend of Fleet Street, by George Dibdin Pitt.  Editor and Introduction, plus notes. Special Issue of Nineteenth-Century Theatre and Film 38.1 (June 2011).  Manchester University Press ( actual release 2012)
  • Guest-Editor of Nineteenth-Century Prose 35.1 (Spring 2008).  Special issue on John Ruskin.   


  • “Sex and Gender.” Cambridge Companion to John Ruskin.  Editor, Francis O’Gorman.  Cambridge:  Cambridge UP (forthcoming 2015)
  • "Theater, Exhibition, and Spectacle in the Nineteenth Century,"  Companion to British Literature, edited by Robert DeMaria Jr., Heesok Chang, and Samantha Zacher. Blackwell (forthcoming 2013)
  • “1847:  Sweeney Todd and Abolition.” BRANCH:  Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History.  5,400 words. (2013)  
  • "Can a Fellow Be a Villain All His Life?":  Oliver!, Fagin, and Performing Jewishness,"  Nineteenth-Century Contexts 33.4 (September 2011):  371-388.  Selected for republication in Best Essays on Dickens Adaptations, edited by John Glavin (Ashgate 2012).  
  • Boz Versus Bos in Sweeney Todd:  Dickens, Sondheim, and Victorianness," Dickens Studies Annual 42 (2011): 55-76
  • “'Arcadias of Pantomime':  Ruskin, Theater, and the Illustrated London News," Victorian Pantomime:  A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Jim Davis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010:  41-53
  • The King and Who?  Dance, Difference, and Identity in Anna Leonowens and The King and I," Conflict and Difference in Nineteenth-Century Literature, edited by Dinah Birch and Mark Llewellyn (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010):  171-185
  • Jane Heir to the Glimmering World:  Cynthia Ozick's Victorian Vision," Studies in Jewish American Literature 28 (2009):  3-13
  •  "Sondheim's Sweeney Todd on Stage and Screen," Victorian Literature and Culture 37.1 (2009):  301-310
  • Victorians on the Contemporary Stage,” Journal of Victorian Culture 13.2 (October 2008):  303-309
  • “Re-Interpreting Ruskin,” Nineteenth-Century Prose 35.1 (Spring 2008):  1-12
  • “Victorians on Broadway at the Present Time: Ruskin's Life on Stage,” Functions of Victorian Culture at the Present Time(2002): 
  • “Pantomime Truth and Gender Performance: John Ruskin on Theatre,”John Ruskin and Gender, edited by Dinah Birch and Francis O'Gorman (Palgrave 2002)
  • “Myth and Gender in Ruskin's Science,”Ruskin and the Dawn of Modernism, edited by Dinah Birch (Oxford UP, 1999)
  • “Mythic Language and Gender Subversion: The Case of Ruskin's Athena,” Nineteenth-Century Literature (1997)
  • “Be no more housewives, but Queens; Queen Victoria in Ruskin's Domestic Mythology,” Remaking Queen Victoria, edited by Margaret Homans and Adrienne Munich (Cambridge UP1997)
  • "Female and Maelstrom: The Gender Vortex in Carlyle and Ruskin” Carlyle Annual(1997)
  • “Performing Goblin Market," Essays on Transgressive Readings: Reading over the Lines, edited by Georgia Johnston (Edwin Mellen 1997)
  • “Gender and the Architectonics of Metaphor in Ruskin's The Ethics of the Dust,” Prose Studies(1993)
  • "The Least of It: Metaphor, Metamorphosis, and Synecdoche in Frost’s ‘The Subverted Flower,’” The South Carolina Review(1989)

Annotated Bibliographies

  • "Christina Rossetti."  Oxford University Press Bibliographies Online (2011)
  • "John Ruskin."  Oxford University Press Bibliographies Online (2011)
  • "Charlotte Bronte."  Co-authored with Doris Raab.  Oxford University Press Bibliographies Online (2011)

Works in Progress

Book manuscript tentatively called Victorians on Broadway: The Afterlife of Victorian Literature on the Musical Stage, 1951-2000