Literature Faculty Research

The Department of English is devoted to the teaching of and research on English literatures and cultures as well as Nonfiction Writing. In pursuing research on the literary traditions of England and the United States, we stress the cultural settings in which those literatures were produced and read, their interrelationship with one another and with other literatures written in English, the material conditions under which these literatures were written, published, and distributed, and the political impact of those literatures on the peoples who read them.

The Department of English has designed its undergraduate and graduate curricula to focus on how these issues converge within three different areas of teaching and research:

I. Medieval and Early Modern Literatures and Cultures

The English Department has achieved prominence in both Renaissance literature and colonial American literature. The faculty in this area share an interest in such problems as the ongoing critique and reinterpretation of the canon and how current issues should affect the teaching of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, or Milton; the history of print culture; the retrospective construction of the earlier periods; transatlantic literary-cultural relations; the early modern beginnings of modernity; the literature of early modern colonialism; ways of mapping the world and representing its various inhabitants; and definitions of race and gender that emerge in these documents. These issues connect the scholars working in pre-modern English literatures and cultures to their colleagues whose research focuses on similar issues in the later periods.

Area I Faculty:

  • Elizabeth Bryan: Medieval Studies; Middle English Literature and Language; Palaeography and Manuscript Studies
  • James Egan: 17th- and 18th-Century American Writing and Culture; Transatlantic Studies; History of the Book (also Area II)
  • Stephen Foley: English and other European Renaissance Literatures; Latin and Greek Literary Relations; Humanism; Aesthetics and Literary Theory; Philosophy, Religion, and Literature; Poetry and Poetics (also Comparative Literature)
  • Coppélia Kahn: Renaissance Literature, especially Drama; Shakespeare; Ovid in Renaissance Literature. (also Gender Studies)
  • William Keach: Romantic Literature; Renaissance Literature; Poetry and Poetics; Politics and Literature (also Area II)
  • James Kuzner: 16th- and 17th-Century English Literature; classical literature; literary and political theory; cognitive theory; philosophy and literature 
  • Karen Newman: 16th- and 17th-Century English and Continental Literatures and Cultures, especially Drama; Shakespeare; Literary Theory; Gender Studies; Translation
  • Melinda Rabb: Late 17th- and 18th-Century British Literature and Culture; Satire; Swift; Narrative Fiction; Poetry; Gender Studies; 17th- and 18th-Century Women's Writing (also Area II)
  • Richard Rambuss: Milton, Shakespeare, seventeenth-century lyric poetry, film, and popular culture

II. Enlightenment and the Rise of National Literatures and Cultures

Faculty who specialize in various areas of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and American literature work on an equally coherent cluster of literary and cultural questions: How and on what basis did the category of "literature" emerge and become important to the nation's self-conception? What kinds of writing did Enlightenment culture exclude or suppress? What other fictional narrative forms were pushed into relative obscurity by the rise of the novel? How did literature define itself as either English or American in opposition to the other? To what extent did the literary marketplace influence literary form? How did literature define itself in relation to political economy? What part do race and gender play in this process of national self-definition? How did literature authorize and/or critique the expansion of empire? These are not only interlocking questions but also the questions to ask if one wants to do interesting work in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literatures and cultures.

Area II Faculty:

  • Amanda Anderson: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and culture; politics and the novel; theory of the novel; ethics and aesthetics; literary theory (also Area III)
  • Mutlu Blasing: American and Modern Poetry; Lyric Poetry; Translation (also Area III)
  • Stuart Burrows: 19th- and 20th-Century American Fiction; Literature and the Visual Arts; Rhetoric; Theories of Modernity (also Area III)
  • Radiclani Clytus: 19th- and 20th-Century African American Literatures and Cultures 
  • James Egan: 17th- and 18th-Century American Writing and Culture; Transatlantic Studies; History of the Book (also Area I)
  • Philip Gould : 18th- and 19th-century American Literatures and Cultures
  • William Keach: Romantic Literature; Renaissance Literature; Poetry and Poetics; Politics and Literature (also Area I)
  • Jacques Khalip: Romanticism; 19th- and 20th-Century Lyric Poetry; Queer Theory; Sexuality Studies; Critical Theory, Aesthetics
  • Kevin McLaughlin: 19th-Century European and American Literature; Literature and Philosophy (also Comparative Literature)
  • Deak Nabers: 19th- and 20th-Century American Literature; Literature and Law
  • Melinda Rabb: Late 17th- and 18th-Century British Literature and Culture; Satire; Swift; Narrative Fiction; Poetry; Gender Studies; 17th- and 18th-Century Women's Writing (also Area I)
  • Marc Redfield: Romanticism; 18th and 19th-Century Novel; Comparative Literature; Literary Theory (also Comparative Literature)
  • Vanessa Ryan: 19th-Century British Literature and Culture; History of the Novel; Non-Fiction Prose; Science and Literature, especially Cognitive Science and the Arts

III. Modern and Contemporary Literatures and Cultures

This area brings together faculty whose research focuses on ethnic and African American literatures with those who work on American poetry and British modernism, those who regard theory as a primary "literature," and scholars known for their contribution to film history and theory. These scholars are united by an interest in the way in which literary narratives and tropes go to work in non-literary discourses of the period; the production of cultural categories that subordinate some groups to others; the formal strategies by which the high culture authorizes itself over and against productions of popular and minority cultures; new collaborations between literature and imperialism and the literary means by which various nations, groups, and individuals react to them; the breakdown of national traditions; the critique of identity politics; and the question of how the visual and electronic media inflect all the above.

Area III Faculty:

  • Amanda Anderson: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and culture; politics and the novel; theory of the novel; ethics and aesthetics; literary theory (also Area II)
  • Paul Armstrong: Modern Fiction; Modern Thought and Literature; Narrative; Literary Theory
  • Timothy Bewes: Contemporary British, Anglophone and American Fiction; Marxist and Poststructuralist Aesthetics; Theories of the Novel; Postcolonialism and Postmodernism; the Ethics and Politics of Literary Form
  • Mutlu Blasing: American and Modern Poetry; Lyric Poetry; Translation (also Area II)
  • Stuart Burrows: 19th- and 20th-Century American Fiction; Literature and the Visual Arts; Rhetoric; Theories of Modernity (also Area II)
  • Olakunle George: African Literature; Postcolonial Studies; Black-Atlantic Cultural Criticism; Literary and Cultural Theory
  • Tamar Katz: Modernism, 20th-Century Literature (also Urban Studies and Gender Studies)
  • Daniel Kim: 20th-Century U.S. Literature; Asian American Literature; African American Literature; Ethnic Studies; Gender Studies; Psychoanalytic Theory; The 1950s, The Cold War, and The Korean War (also Ethnic Studies)
  • Rolland Murray: 20th-Century African American Literature and Culture; 20th-Century American Literature; Gender and Race Studies
  • Ravit Reichman: 20th-Century Novel; Modernism; Law and Literature; Literary Theory; Psychoanalysis; Literature and the Emotions; Narrative and Memory
  • Ralph E. Rodriguez: Latina/o Literature; Graphic Novels; Cultural and Literary Theory; Contemporary American Literature
  • Ellen Rooney: Literary and Cultural Theory; 19th-Century British Novel; Gender Studies; Women Writers; History of Criticism (also MCM and Gender Studies)
  • Philip Rosen: Film; critical theory (also MCM)