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
,Male Call: Becoming Jack London
Duke University Press,1996
,Sex Scandal: The Private Parts of Victorian Fiction
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

Upcoming Events

Fri Aug 31

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room 3132

Fri Sep 7

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room TBD

Fri Sep 14

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room TBD

Fri Sep 21

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room 3132

Fri Sep 28

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room TBD

Fri Oct 5

3:00 PM

Fri Oct 12

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room 3132

Fri Oct 19

3:00 PM

Fri Nov 2

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room 3132

Fri Nov 16

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room TBD

Fri Nov 30

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room TBD

Fri Dec 7

3:00 PM
Tawes Hall, Room 3132

News

July 25, 2018
Ray will teach AP Language & Composition students at Bowie High School (Prince George's County, Maryland) about Renaissance Commonplace books so that they may create and maintain their own.
July 24, 2018
The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress sponsors the annual fellowship in Digital Studies to support scholars exploring how “groundbreaking technological innovations” can serve as “agents of broad and profound [societal] change.”  The 11-month residency, established in 2000, aims to bridge the gap between academia and government and to help the library chart new directions in scholarly research. 
June 26, 2018
Reynolds '05 featured on TERP for his eleven books and successful career as NY Times best-selling author.
May 31, 2018
Program Grants (spring 2017; fall 2016; spring 2016; fall 2015; spring 2015; fall 2014; spring 2014; fall 2013; spring 2013; winter 2013; fall 2012) | Faculty Research & Writing Group Awards (AY 2017-18; AY 2016-17) | Beyond the Classroom Awards (spring 2017; fall 2016)
May 31, 2018
Baltimore Pride will screen Wild Nights With Emily, a new film about Emily Dickinson, which draws heavily from our own Martha Nell Smith's work on Dickinson. Smith, who acted as a consultant on the film, will join the writer/director Madeleine Olnek for a Q&A after the showing. Olnek dedicated her award-winning film to Smith, noting that it is her "scholarship [that] helped bring the relationship between Susan and Emily to light."
May 31, 2018
The National Endowment for the Arts announced that Elissa Washuta, who graduated from UMD with a BA in English in 2007, would receive one of their prestigious 2018 Creative Writing Fellowships. Washuta is one of only 36 writers across the nation to receive such an award. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to provide crucial funding to support these writers in their creative endeavors and to continue expanding the range of ideas and viewpoints available to readers,” stated the NEA Director of Literature, Amy Stolls.
May 22, 2018
Emily J. Orlando was promoted to the rank of Professor of English at Fairfield University five years after earning tenure.
May 21, 2018
Abbey Morgan was awarded the Ann G. Wylie Semester Dissertation Fellowship. Abbey also attended NeMLA (2018) at the University of Pittsburgh and presented her paper " Voicing the Color-Line: Linguistic Whiteface in Richard Pryor's Black Ben the Blacksmith."
May 21, 2018
Congratulations to PhD student Aqdas Aftab who has been awarded the Rodler-Wood Scholarship from LGBT Studies in recognition of their work on decolonial trans and queer studies.
May 21, 2018
Bill Peterson's article "William Pickering and the Quakers" will appear in the June issue of Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. It is an account of the Quaker background (hitherto unknown) of one of the most important English publishers of the nineteenth century.

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