Literary Theory

The English department offers a strong and diverse tradition of engaging various practices of literary and cultural theory, including narrative theory, feminism and queer theory, psychoanalysis, marxism and various modes of historicism and cultural engagement, deconstruction, postcolonial, transnational, and globalization theory, and legal theory. Individual faculty profiles describe specific interests in these regards.

Our Faculty

Faculty Bookshelf

author,The Experimental Imagination: Literary Knowledge and Science in the British Enlightenment
Stanford University Press,2018
author ,Cool Characters: Irony and American Fiction
Harvard University Press,2016
Editor,Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming
The MIT Press,2016
Author,Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing
Harvard University Press,2016
Author,Weapons of Democracy: Propaganda, Progressivism, and American Public Opinion
Johns Hopkins University Press,2015
Author,Emily Dickinson: A User's Guide
Wiley Blackwell ,2013
Co-Editor,The Oxford Handbook of Propaganda Studies
Oxford Handbooks,2013
Co-Advisor ,Emily Dickinson Archive
Harvard University Press ,2012
Co-Editor, with Samuel Cohen,The Legacy of David Foster Wallace
University of Iowa Press,2012
,Atlantic Worlds in the Long Eighteenth Century: Seduction and Sentiment
Palgrave Macmillan,2012
,Romantic Sobriety: Sensation, Revolution, Commodification, History
The Johns Hopkins University Press,2011
,The Grammar of Polarity: Pragmatics, Sensitivity, and the Logic of Scales
Cambridge University Press,2011
,Dark Borders: Film Noir and American Citizenship
Duke University Press,2011
Journal Editor,The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation
Penn Press,2011
,Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City
Yale University Press,2011
,Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections
Council on Library and Information Resources,2010
Author,Pop Apocalypse: A Possible Satire
Harper Perennial ,2009
,Embodied: Victorian Literature and the Senses
University of Minnesota Press,2008
,Cannibal Democracy: Race and Representation in the Literature of the Americas
University of Minnesota Press,2008
Co-Editor,Emily Dickinson's Correspondences: A Born-Digital Textual Inquiry
The University of Virginia Rotunda Press,2008
Co-Editor, with Mary Loeffelholz,A Companion to Emily Dickinson
Wiley-Blackwell,2008
,Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination
MIT Press,2007
,Body Shots: Early Cinema's Incarnations
University of California Press,2007
Editor,Reading Renaissance Ethics
Routledge,2007
Editor,The Iron Heel, by Jack London
Penguin,2006
Editor,The Cambridge Companion to Willa Cather
Cambridge University Press,2005
Co-Editor, with Ryan Johnson,Filth: Dirt, Disgust, and Modern Life
University of Minnesota Press,2005
,Designing Women: The Dressing Room in Eighteenth-Century English Literature and Culture
,2005
Co-Editor,Tiep Can Duong Dai Van Hoa My: Contemporary Approaches to American Culture
Hanoi National University ,2000
,Fantastic Modernity: Dialectical Readings in Romanticism and Theory
Johns Hopkins University Press,2000
,Willa Cather: Queering America
Columbia University Press,1999
Co-editor, with Ellen Louise Hart,Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson's Intimate Letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson
Paris Press,1998
,The Story of All Things: Writing the Self in English Renaissance Narrative Poetry
Duke University Press,1998
Editor,Aemilia Lanyer: Gender, Genre, and the Canon
University of Kentucky Press,1998
Editor,O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
Oxford University Press,1997
Editor,Northland Stories, by Jack London
Penguin,1996
,Sex Scandal: The Private Parts of Victorian Fiction
Duke University Press,1996
,Male Call: Becoming Jack London
Duke University Press,1996
,"Doers of the Word": African-American Women Speakers & Writers in the North (1830-1880)
Oxford University Press,1995
,The Romance of Failure
Oxford University Press,1989
Christina Walter, OPTICAL IMPERSONALITY (2105)
Author,Optical Impersonality: Science, Images, and Literary Modernism
Johns Hopkins University Press,2014

News

January 10, 2019
Tita Chico and the UMD BookLab were recently featured on UMD's Research Roundup. You can read the piece on Tita Chico's The Experimental Imagination:Literary Knowledge and Science in the British Enlightenment here, and the piece on the BookLab here. 
January 8, 2019
Professor Tita Chico has been awarded a Research and Scholarship Award (RASA) from the Graduate School for the academic year 2019-2020.
January 3, 2019
Jason Rudy's Imagined Homelands: British Poetry in the Colonies (Johns Hopkins University Press 2017) has made the Australian Book Review's "Books of the Year 2018" list.
January 3, 2019
Mal Haselberger and Justin Thompson have each been selected by the Graduate School for an Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award for 2018-2019.
January 2, 2019
Faculty presenting current research include Julius Fleming, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Lee Konstantinou, Kari Kraus, Sharada Balachandran Orihuela, David Carroll Simon, and Edlie Wong.Colleagues from American Studies and Women's Studies will also discuss their research.
December 11, 2018
Martha Nell Smith has two new publications:I dwell in Possibility: Collaborative Emily Dickinson Translation Project. Coedited with Baihua Wang, Fudan University. Sichuan Literature & Art Press, 2017.Everywoman Her Own Theology: Essays On and Interviews With Alicia Suskin Ostriker. Coedited with Julie Enszer. U of Michigan P, with companion web production. Alicia Ostriker is New York State Poet 2018-2020.
December 4, 2018
Current MFA students Temim Fruchter (fiction), Max Lasky (poetry), and Hunter Parsons (poetry) have been announced as nominees for the Association of Writers & Writing Program's Intro Journals Project (2019), an annual literary competition for the discovery and publication of new work by students currently enrolled in creative writing programs around the country. 
December 4, 2018
Need a quiet study space to prepare for final exams or to work on final papers? Click here to learn about spaces near you.
November 30, 2018
The Fall 2018 Bywords Newsletter is now available. Learn more about recent publications, presentations, and scholarly achievements here. 
November 26, 2018
Programs supported include conferences, workshops, lectures, and more, and will be organized by graduate students, professional track faculty, and tenure track faculty.

Prospective Students

Alongside the many occasional events and lectures concerning "theory" featured in the English Department, and highlighted on the home page of its website and its calendar, advanced students are also especially recommended to consider the special theory colloquia, often featuring distinguished guests, offered each semester by rotating faculty members