Merle A. Williams is Professor Emerita of English in the School of Literature, Language and Media at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and a Research Associate of the African Centre for the Study of the United States (ACSUS). Her main interests lie in the relations between literature and philosophy, trauma theory and Holocaust writing, as well as Romantic poetry and fiction from the nineteenth century to the present.
Merle has published widely on the canonical author Henry James, including 'Henry James and the Philosophical Novel: Being and Seeing' (Cambridge University Press, reprinted in 2009). She is currently completing a critical text of 'The Awkward Age' for 'The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James'. She has also edited literary-theoretical collections entitled 'Hospitalities: Transitions and Transgressions, North and South' (Routledge 2020) and 'Cultures of Populism: Institutions, Practices and Resistance' (Routledge, 2022). A co-edited volume on the interplay between literature and identity is in progress.
Merle has held visiting research positions in Germany, Sweden and the United States. Through ACSUS she is involved in a range of international academic collaborations, notably teaching a course on 'Cultures of Hate and Oppression: Antisemitism, the Holocaust, Colonialism and Gender' for the Open Society University Network (OSUN).