Michèle Mendelssohn was born and grew up in Montréal, Canada. She completed her first degree in English Literature and Liberal Arts at Concordia University. In 1999 she won a scholarship to Cambridge University where she completed her M.Phil. (First) and Ph.D. at King's College. She joined Oxford’s English Faculty in 2009.
Her current book projects include a biography of Oscar Wilde, and a study of the legacy of nineteenth century British decadence in the works of twentieth century African American writers, especially during the Harlem Renaissance, and two co-edited books: one on late Victorian and Modernist English Literature (for Oxford UP), and another on the contemporary British writer Alan Hollinghurst (for Manchester UP). Her first book was Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Aesthetic Culture (Edinburgh UP, 2007).
Her research has won numerous awards including a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, Beinecke Fellowship (Yale), Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Visiting Research Fellowship (Utah), Research Fellowship in African American History and Culture (Emory University) and an Eccles Centre American Studies Visiting Fellowship.