Hilton Als

GRH 238B, x2971, hals@gmail.com

alsHilton Als is the 2011-12 Newhouse Visiting Professor in Creative Writing. He became a staff writer at The New Yorker in October 1994, and a theatre critic in 2002. He began contributing to the magazine in 1989, writing pieces for The Talk of the Town.

Before coming to The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for the Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. He has also written articles for The New York Review of Books and collaborated on film scripts for “Swoon” and “Looking for Langston.”

Als edited the catalogue for the Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition entitled “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art,” which ran from November, 1994, to March, 1995. His first book, “The Women,” a meditation on gender, race, and personal identity, was published in 1996.

In 1997, the New York Association of Black Journalists awarded Als first prize in both Magazine Critique/Review and Magazine Arts and Entertainment. He was awarded a Guggenheim for Creative Writing in 2000 and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 2002-03. In 2009, Als worked with the performer Justin Bond, on “Cold Water,” an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and videos by performers, at La MaMa Gallery. The next year he co-curated “Self-Consciousness,” at the Veneklasen Werner Gallery in Berlin. In 2010 Als also published “Justin Bond/Jackie Curtis,” his second book.
Als has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan, and Smith College.

Frank Bidart
FND 124B, 617/497-1226

bidart I write poetry, and have published several volumes; I teach poetry workshops and 20th century poetry, both "modern" and contemporary; I am editing a one-volume Collected Poems of Robert Lowell for his publisher, Farrar Straus & Giroux.

Kate Brogan
FND 111, x2588, kbrogan@wellesley.edu

broganI teach courses in modernism, contemporary American fiction and poetry, ethnic literature, and urban literature and photography. My book, Cultural Haunting: Ghosts and Ethnicity in Recent American Fiction, examines how ghost stories in ethnic literature reflect the way shared group histories are recalled and reshaped.
I am now working on a study of how cities are depicted in American literature
and art.

Bill Cain
FND 113, x2586, wcain@wellesley.edu

Scholarly interests: Nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature; modernism in the arts; African American literature; slavery and abolition; literary theory and criticism; Shakespeare.  Publications include William Lloyd Garrison and the Fight Against Slavery:  Selections from The Liberator (1995); Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance: A Critical and Cultural Edition; Henry David Thoreau  (2000), in the Oxford Historical Guides to American Authors series ; and (as co-editor) The Norton Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism (1st ed., 2001; 2nd ed., forthcoming). Recent published work includes essays on Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Ralph Ellison, and the painter Mark Rothko.

Margaret Cezair-Thompson
FND 112, x2574, mcezaire@wellesley.edu

cezair Teaching/scholarly/literary interests: Late 19th through 20th century British poetry and fiction; African and West Indian literature; Shakespeare; drama; film; colonial, postcolonial, and gender issues in literature; the Atlantic Slave Trade and African diaspora in literature; the presence (explicit and implicit) of colonialism, racial stereotypes, and images of Africa and the Caribbean in nineteenth century English literature; creative writing.

I've written and published in several genres: fiction, screenplays, literary criticism, and journalism, including The Pirate's Daughter, a novel (2007), The True History of Paradise, a novel ( 1999).

Writers/books I most enjoy re-reading/working on: Thomas Hardy (poetry and novels); V.S. Naipaul; Thackeray, Vanity Fair; Derek Walcott; Jean Rhys; Yeats; Wallace Stevens; Emily Dickinson; Shakespeare's tragedies; the critic, Alfred Kazin; James Joyce, Dubliners; and I am an avid reader of the King James Bible, the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha.

Dan Chiasson
FND 101, x2541, dchiasso@wellesley.edu

chiasson I received my Ph.D. in English from Harvard in 2002. I have published two books of poetry: The Afterlife of Objects (University of Chicago, 2002) and Natural History (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005); a third, Where's the Moon, There's the Moon, will be published by Knopf in Fall 2009. I am author of a critical book on American poetry, One Kind of Everything: Poem and Person in Contemporary America (Chicago, 2006) and serve as a poetry critic for The New Yorker and The New York Times Book Review. I teach poetry workshops and courses on American poetry here at Wellesley.

Paul Fisher
G430B, x2542, pfisher@wellesley.edu

My teaching interests include a range of 19th and 20th century American literature, especially poetry and fiction, featuring a fascination with cultural history and gender. I also teach lesbian and gay literature and courses in the Writing Program. I have degrees in medieval literature, French literature, and American Studies as well as English and American literature.
My main research has been on the high-cultural construction of American literature in the late nineteenth century and early 20th century and its relation to gender, ethnicity, and class in the American culture of the period. An expanded and revised version of my doctoral thesis, on Americans who made literary careers by writing about art in Europe, was recently published and is entitled Artful Itineraries: European Art and American Careers in High Culture, 1865-1920. My current research investigates the relation between high-cultural and bohemian communities in the same period, especially focusing on articulations of gender and sexuality. I have also written lately on writers as diverse as Emily Dickinson and Sophocles.

Elisabeth Ford
FND 116, x2972, eford1@wellesley.edu

ford I recently received my Ph.D. in English; my doctoral thesis, entitled "Black Metropolis: African American Urban Narrative in the Twentieth Century," explores the relationship between narrative, scholarly discourses, and material culture in a wide variety of contemporary texts. My primary scholarly interests are American and African American literature, culture, and film I am currently writing on topics such as racial masquerade and the documentary impulse in (among others) Herman Melville, Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, and Walter Mosely, as well as in contemporary genre films.

Alison Hickey
FND 104, x2572, ahickey@wellesley.edu

My main field of research is Romanticism; my teaching interests center on English Romantic-period poetry and extend forwards in time to contemporary English, American, and Irish poetry and back as far as Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert, Marvell, and other 17th-century writers. I regularly teach Romantic Poetry, Victorian Poetry, and Writing 125/Critical Interpretation. From time to time, I make a foray into Comparative Literature (my own fondly-remembered undergraduate major). At the 300-level, I have taught Love, Sex, and Imagination in Romantic Poetry; Keats and Shelley; New Romantic Canons; Romantic Collaboration; Languages of Lyric; and Seamus Heaney.

I recently completed an essay on Wordsworth’s Prelude and Excursion for the forthcoming Cambridge History of English Poetry, edited by Michael O’Neill. Other scholarly publications include a book on Wordsworth (Impure Conceits, Stanford 1997) and critical articles on “Romantic collaboration,” defined broadly to include the many kinds of literary relationships--such as joint authorship, intertextual dialogue, parody, quotation, address, influence, editing, sharing, and plagiarism -- that manifest themselves in texts from the Romantic period.

Yu Jin Ko
FND 103C, x2638, yko@wellesley.edu

koMy teaching interests center on Shakespeare, with a special focus on performance and boy actors. However, being a casual apologist for humanist studies, I do venture out of the English Renaissance into European drama and narrative. I also have an interest in Asian-American literature, contemporary poetry, and pulp fiction.
Recent publications: "Othello," Shakespeare Bulletin Mutability and Division on Shakespeare’s Stage, (University of Delaware Press, 2004).

Yoon Sun Lee
FND 124C, x2561, ylee@wellesley.edu

My teaching and research interests fall into two categories: 18th- and 19th-century British literature and Asian-American literature. I also teach in the Writing Program and in the American Studies Program.
My first book, Nationalism and Irony: Burke, Scott, Carlyle (Oxford UP, 2004), examines the political and literary uses of irony by conservative non-English writers in Romantic and early Victorian Britain. My second book, currently in progress, focuses on the construction of the everyday in Asian Pacific American literature and history.

Kathryn Lynch, dean of faculty affairs

GRN 345, x3583, klynch@wellesley.edu

lynch In our department, I do all things medieval, from Beowulf to the Brťton lai. My particular focus is the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer, and I have become increasingly interested recently in the period boundary between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. I also am working on the role that food plays in medieval poetry, right now in a book about food and drink in Chaucerís Canterbury Tales. Other scholarly interests in recent years have included the medieval dream-vision genre, Chaucer and Shakespeare, and medieval cultural geography (how the Middle Ages understood and constructed the non-European world). In 2000, I published a book on Chaucerís dream-vision poetry, while in 2002 I edited a collection of essays entitled Chaucerís Cultural Geography and in 2006 a Norton Critical edition of Chaucerís Dream Visions and Other Poems.

Susan Meyer
FND 124D, x2644, smeyer@wellesley.edu

meyerMy interests include 19th-century British fiction, literature and imperialism, and early 20th-century American literature.  I also write children’s fiction, and I teach in all of these areas.  I was an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins and received my Ph. D. from Yale University.  My book, Imperialism at Home: Race and Victorian Women’s Fiction examines the use of race as a metaphor for the relationship between men and women in the fiction of the Brontës and George Eliot.  I co-edited The New Nineteenth Century, and I’ve authored articles on a range of subjects—from the way antisemitism is used in the service of social critique in Charles Dickens, to the response in L. M. Montgomery’s fiction to public health movements aimed at combating tuberculosis, to the role of head shape and craniometry in the fiction of Willa Cather.  My recent novel for children, Black Radishes, inspired by my father’s experiences as a Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied France, won the Sydney Taylor silver medal in 2010 and was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book in 2011.  I am currently working on Willa Cather and writing a new novel.

James Noggle, department chair
FND 100, x2578, jnoggle@wellesley.edu

noggleMy intellectual interests include: poetry and the history of aesthetics, particularly in 18th century English literature; the philosophy of mind; the history of skepticism; the origins and development of the novel; literary theory; Restoration comedy; ordinary-language philosophy; and film.

I was born and raised in California, educated as an undergraduate at Columbia and Cambridge universities, and in 1994, got a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley. My scholarly focus in recent years has been on relations between philosophy and literature in 18th-century British writing. My book The Skeptical Sublime: Aesthetic Ideology in Pope and the Tory Satirists was published in 2001 by Oxford University Press. I am editor, with Lawrence Lipking, of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, volume 1C: the Restoration and Eighteenth Century. My scholarly work has been supported by grants from American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society. I am currently completing my second book, on the temporality of taste in 18th-century British discourse.

Tim Peltason
x2592, tpeltaso@wellesley.edu

Photo of T. Peltason I teach 19th century and early 20th century British literature; also 20th century and late 19th century American literature; also Shakespeare; and a sampling of the department's 100-level offerings, including Critical Interpretation, Reading Fiction, and others. I have written about Victorian literature-Tennyson, Dickens, Mill, Ruskin, Arnold, Wilde, and others; about Shakespeare; and about the state of the profession. I am currently at work on a book about the need to restore questions of aesthetic judgment to a central place in the practice of academic literary criticism. In addition to teaching in the English department, I have served as the Director of the Newhouse Center for the Humanities. I am happy now to be back to full time teaching in the English Department.

Lisa Rodensky
FND 121B, x2537, lrodensk@wellesley.edu

I focus on 19th- and 20th-century British literature. My book, The Crime in Mind: Criminal Responsibility and the Victorian Novel (Oxford 2003), attends in particular to the interdisciplinary study of law and literature. I am also the editor of Decadent Poetry from Wilde to Naidu (Penguin 2006). Currently, I am working on a book-length manuscript entitled Novel Judgments: Critical Terms of the 19th- and 20th- Century Novel Review that explores the vocabulary of reviewing. This study moves between two genres – the novel and the periodical review –, and considers the development of key critical terms in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The novel reviews of the 19th and early 20th centuries played a central role in shaping literary-critical terms, and my chapters analyze uses of particular terms in this vital context. "Popular Dickens" -- one chapter of this ongoing work -- will be published in Victorian Literature and Culture. In addition to my work on reviewing, I am editing The Oxford Handbook of the Victorian Novel as well as SirJames Fitzjames Stephen's The Story of Nuncomar and the Impeachment of Sir Elijah Impey (also for Oxford). The latter work is a late Victorian legal history in which Stephen takes up both the 18th-century trial (and execution) of Nuncomar (an Indian who worked for the East India Company) and the subsequent impeachment proceedings for judicial murder brought against Elijah Impey, one of the judges who tried Nuncomar.

Larry Rosenwald
FND 103D, x2634, lrosenwa@wellesley.edu

rosenwaldWhat I write about as a scholar: diaries, translation, the relation between words and music, and -- in the last fifteen years this has been my big project -- how American writers, both in English and other languages, depict encounters between languages.

I've also written a number of personal essays -- on war tax resistance and Henry David Thoreau, on translation, on eating breakfast in luncheonettes. I'm a translator from several languages, and a performing musician, both in concerts and on recordings; I've written and performed numerous verse scripts for early music theater pieces; I recently published my first poem, a sestina in memory of my mother, called "On the Streets of Glencoe."

I also teach in the Peace and Justice Studies program at Wellesley.

Some favorite publications and translations:
            Multilingual AmericaLanguage and the Making of American Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
            “Sestina:  On the Streets of Glencoe (In Memoriam Charlotte Heitlinger Rosenwald, 1921-2004), Colorado Review 34: 1, Spring 2007
            From the Yiddish of Lamed Shapiro,” New Yorkish,” in Leah Garrett ed., The Cross and Other Jewish Stories (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 198-212
            “Notes on Pacifism,” Antioch Review 65:1 (Winter 2007)
            “Burning Words,” in Askold Melnyczuk ed., Conscience, Consequence:  Reflections of Father Daniel Berrigan (Boston: Arrowsmith Press, 2006)
            “On Not Reading in Translation,” Antioch Review 62:2 (Spring 2004)
            “Orwell, Pacifism, Pacifists,” in Thomas Cushman and John Rodden eds.,  George Orwell Into the 21st Century (Boulder: Paradigm, 2004)
            “Four Theses on Translating Yiddish in the 21st Century,” Pakn-Treger 38 (Winter 2002)
            “On Nonviolence and Literature,” Agni 54 (Fall 2001)
            "Thoreau's Essay on Civil Disobedience: Sources, Argument, Influence," in William Cain ed., A Historical Guide to Henry David Thoreau (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2000)
            From the German of Jeannette Lander:   A Summer in the Week of Itke K. (Chapter II),  Antioch Review 58:2 (Spring 2000)
            “Poetics as Technique,”  Barbara Thornton and Lawrence Rosenwald, in Ross Duffin ed., A Performer’s Guide to Medieval Music (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000)
             From the German of Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, with Everett Fox:  Scripture and Translation, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994)
            "On Prejudice and Early Music," Historical Performance, Fall 1992
            "On Wartax Resistance," Agni 35 (1992)
            Emerson and the Art of the Diary (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988)

Margery Sabin

FND 114, x2636, msabin@wellesley.edu

In recent years I have becoming increasingly involved in teaching modern and contemporary literature in English, especially in relation to the periods of British imperialism, anti-colonial nationalism and postcolonial independence. My courses in Irish literature and in Indian literature engage with the dynamic literary responses to these historical forces. These interests inform my recent book, Dissenters and Mavericks: Writings about India in English, 1765-2000. I also continue to pursue broader interests in nineteenth and twentieth-century English and comparative literature through courses in Victorian and modern fiction and poetry, and courses focused on major writers, such as James Joyce and Henry James. These teaching interests also have been at the core of my two previous books: The Dialect of the Tribe: Speech and Community in Modern Fiction (1987) and English Romanticism and the French Tradition (1976). Recent publications also include articles and reviews about a variety of topics, including the increasing phenomenon of writers migrating between nations, languages, and social class.

In the midst of these new interests, I continue to enjoy introducing students to reading and writing about poetry in the introductory course, Critical Interpretation.

Matthew Sergi
F 103B, x3847, msergi@wellesley.edu

sergiI'm drawn to medieval English literature (defined broadly: from the earliest examples of Old English through Chaucer to the end of the fifteenth century -- or, in parts of the English North, as far as the end of the sixteenth century).  My research and teaching center on early English text in performance (mystery plays; miracle plays; morality plays; mummings; interludes; sagas; oral poetry).  I also study and teach the History of the English Language.

At the moment, my primary scholarly project concerns the community-based biblical play-cycles produced and performed by local guilds in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Chester (in northwest England).  My upcoming book, Play Texts and Public Practice in the Chester Cycle, 1422-1607, investigates how that cycle's scripted action engages with the unscripted local revelry and festivity that surrounded it on the holidays that occasioned its performances.  And it has given me occasion to research early English gambling, wrestling, feasting, boozing, shopping, and tourism.


Vernon Shetley
FND 115, x2637, vshetley@wellesley.edu

shetleyMy research concentrates mainly on American poetry and film. I've also written on dance and on literary theory. My book on contemporary poetry, After the Death of Poetry, appeared in 1993. I’m currently at work on a book about film noir from the 1970s to the present. Two sections of this study have appeared in print, one, on Roman Polanski's Chinatown, in MLN, the other, on David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, in Raritan. My article on Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, which appeared in Science Fiction Studies, was coauthored with a former student of mine, Alissa Ferguson Phillips, and is based on a paper she wrote while she was an undergraduate at Wellesley. In recent years, I've been pursuing a new research interest, in the implications of cognitive science for the humanities.

Marilyn Sides
FND 118, x2571, msides@wellesley.edu

Photo of M. SidesMy teaching ranges from creative writing (fiction and travel writing) to the study of and critical writing about literature, both poetry and fiction. My first published story, "The Island of the Mapmaker's Wife," appeared in the 1990 O. Henry Prize Stories collection. A collection of stories, The Island of the Mapmaker's Wife and Other Tales, appeared in 1996 (Harmony) and my first novel, The Genius of Affection (Harmony) was published in August 1999.

Terry Tyler
FND 124E, x2573, ltyler1@wellesley.edu

Teaching: I have not been able to give a useful ranking to my teaching interests. In recent years I've had the chance to teach critical theory, Milton, eighteenth-century literature from Dryden to Burke, Romantic poetry, literature of the so-called "White South" (from Faulkner to Dorothy Allison), and medieval literature (Langland, the Gawain-poet, Wyclif, and Chaucer); beyond that, several years of teaching the survey course have made me a somewhat useful amateur on Spenser, seventeeth century poetry, Joyce, Larkin, Heaney, and Angela Carter.
Research: I'm writing about a "conservatism" in literary theory from Edmund Burke through Coleridge to the Southern New Critics.

Sarah Wall-Randell
FND 103B, x2585, swallran@wellesley.edu

My teaching and research interests center on Renaissance literature and its medieval heritage.  I’m intrigued by the definitions and practices of literary genre in the Renaissance (mostly because early modern writers themselves were obsessed with genre, its rules, and bending those rules), especially the heterogeneous body of texts that participate in the romance tradition.  I am also interested in the cultural history of books as objects, and the real and imaginary uses to which they have been put.  My interest in English drama in performance spans periods and is practical as well as theoretical: I’ve served as a dramaturg for amateur and small professional theater companies in Boston.

I'm currently working on a book called The Immaterial Book in Early Modern England, about representations of books and reading in Renaissance literature, and on an evolving project about literary manifestations of the prophetic Sibyls in medieval and Renaissance culture.  I've published articles about John Foxe's monumental history of the Protestant church, the self-writings of the 1540s martyr Anne Askew, books in Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus, and “reading oneself” in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline and Wroth’s Urania.

My degrees are from Wellesley (BA), Oxford (MPhil), and Harvard (PhD).

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Lisa Easley
Last Modified: September 2011

Creative Writing Courses