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David Kurnick

Associate Professor, Department of English, Rutgers University

Fellow, Society of Fellows, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (2006–2007)

Headshot of David Kurnick

Professor Kurnick’s research and teaching focus on the history of the novel, narrative theory, sociology and literature, and sexuality and gender. He is the author of Empty Houses: Theatrical Failure and the Novel (Princeton, 2012). The book examines the theatrical ambitions of major novelists (William Makepeace Thackeray, George Eliot, Henry James, James Joyce, and James Baldwin) better known for their narrative explorations of domestic and psychological interiors, tracing the novelistic aftermath of these failed theatrical projects to claim that these writers’ pioneering narrative techniques for representing interiority grew out of a frustrated appetite for collectivity. The book argues that the novel, frequently taken as a proponent of inwardness, in fact prompts us to public ways of imagining the psyche, intimacy, and sexuality.

Professor Kurnick’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in ELH, PMLA, Raritan, Victorian Studies, NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, Victorian Literature and Culture, The Henry James Review, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, The Oxford History of the Novel in English, Vol. 3: 1820-1880, and Literature Compass. His book for Columbia University Press's "Rereadings" series, The Savage Detectives Reread (Columbia UP, 2022), analyzes Roberto Bolaño's landmark 1998 novel and the continuing controversies surrounding its reception.