Karen Chase

Karen Chase

Professor Emeritus


19th C British, Novel


  • Ph.D. Stanford University, 1979
  • M.A. Stanford University, 1977
  • B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) University of California, Los Angeles, 1973



  • “Bleak House, Liquid City: Climate to Climax in Dickens” A Global History of Literature and the Environment, eds. John Parham and Louise Westling (Cambridge University Press, 2017): 201-217
  • “Where to Breathe in Gissing’s London,” Proceedings from International Conference on Modernist Literature, (Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, forthcoming).
  • “[E]motion in the Nineteenth Century: A Culture of Fidgets” 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteeth-Century 19 (2014). [Peer Reviewed, digital publication].
  • “Betwixt and Between: Mrs. Gummidge’s ‘homely rapture,’” Victorian Review 39.2 (2013): 68-71.
  • “Senile Sexuality,” in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ageing in Nineteenth-Century Culture, eds. Katharina Boehm, Anna Farkas, and Anne Zwierlein (Routledge, 2013): 132-146.
  • “'Happiness is Not a Potato:' The Victorian Cultivation of Happiness,” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 33.2 (May 2011): 161-169.
  • “The Coming of Age II,” Journal of Victorian Culture 16.1 (April 2011): 128-131.
  • "Green Dickens," (co-author Michael Levenson) Essays in Honor of Steven Marcus, ed. Eileen Gillooly (The Ohio State University Press, 2009): 131-151.
  • “Love, Guilt and Reparation,” in What Should I Read Next? Eds. Jessica Feldman and Robert Stilling (The University Press of Virginia, 2008)
  • "Mayhew, The Prince and the Poor: The Great Exhibition" (co-author Michael Levenson) Victorian Prism, Eileen Gilooly et al., eds. (University Press of Virginia, 2006).
  • "Queen Victoria," (co-author Michael Levenson) entry for the Encyclopedia of British Literary History, ed. Nancy Armstrong (Oxford University Press, 2005).
  • "George Eliot and the Woman Question"; "George Eliot and Feminist Approaches" Oxford Reader's Companion to George Eliot, ed. John Rignall, Oxford University Press (1998).
  • "On the Parapets of Privacy," (co-author Michael Levenson) in A Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture, ed. Herbert Tucker (Blackwell's, 1998).
  • "I never saw a man so frightened: The Young Queen and the Parliamentary Bedchambers" in Queen Victoria and the Making of Victorian Cultures, ed. M. Homans and A. Munich, Cambridge University Press, (1998) (co-author Michael Levenson).
  • "Jane Eyre's Interior Design," reproduced from Eros and Psyche in New Casebook on Jane Eyre, (Macmillan, 1997).
  • "'Bad was My Commentary': Propriety, Madness, Independence in Feminist Literary History," in Victorian Connections, ed. Jerome McGann (1989).
  • "The Kindness of Consanguinity: Family History in Henry Esmond," Modern Language Studies (Summer, 1986).
  • "The Modern Family and the Ancient Image in Romola," Dickens Studies Annual 14 (Fall 1985).
  • "The Literal Heroine: A Study of Gissing's The Odd Women," Criticism 26 (Summer 1984), pp. 231-244.

Lectures and Presentations

  • “Shaping Eyre”: A Discussion of Adaptations of Jane Eyre, with Patricia Park and Barbara Heritage, Rotunda, University of Virginia, March 23, 2017
  • “The Vagaries of Wink,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies Conference, Philadelphia, March 16-19, 2017
  • “Wynkin, Blynkin, and Nod” Medicine and Modernity, St. Anne’s College, Oxford University, September 10-11, 2016.
  • “A Touch of the Fidgets,” Victorian Tactile Imagination Conference, Birkbeck College, London, July 19-20 2013
  • “Aging Senses, Heightened Sensibilities: The Shape of Late Life,” Endowed Chair Lectures, University of Virginia, April 16, 2013
  • “Dickens and The Comedy of Humours,” Pain and Old Age, Birkbeck College, London, November 27, 2012 (Podcast: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/history/our-research/birkbeckpainproject/events)
  • “Celebrating Dickens at 200” Smithsonian Institute (with Michael Levenson), September 20, 2012
  • “Partial, Partial Portraits,” Picturing the Nineteenth Century, INCS, University of Kentucky, March 2012
  • “Beginning with the Middle and the Muddle,” Dickens Panel, MLA, Seattle, January 2011
  • “Senile Sexuality,” Keynote speaker, The Cultural Politics of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, University of Regensburg (Germany), November 2011
  • “Whose/Who is Jane Eyre? A New Look” William and Mary, April 14, 2011
  • “Usury Re-used: Two (or more) Scrooges in Our Time,” MLA, Los Angeles, January 2011
  • “Dickensian Adaptations,” guest lecture, Literature and Economics, February 17, 2011
  • The Diane Rehm Show: “Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities,” October 20, 2010 (WAMU 88.5 FM)
  • “The Ghosts of Dickens’s Carol” (with Michael Levenson), Dickens Society Conference, Aix-en-Provence, France, June 3-5, 2010
  • “Dickensian Economics,” University of Sichuan, China, May 25, 2010
  • “Wishes are Children”: Inheriting the Future According to George Eliot,” Interdisciplinary Nineteeenth-Century Studies Conference, University of Texas at Austin, March 25-28, 2010
  • “Dickensian Fidgets” (with Michael Levenson), Annual Dickens Society Symposium, Providence College, August 6-9, 2009
  • “‘Happiness is not a potato’: The Victorian Cultivation of Happiness,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, ‘The Pursuit of Happiness,’ Skidmore College, April 24-26, 2009
  • “Objects and Subjects: The Aging ‘I’ Among Ancient Groves,” CUNY Graduate Center, New York, May 1, 2008
  • “Growning Old in the Nineteenth Century – A Science of Terrors,” Cambridge University, March 6, 2007
  • “Faces and Spaces: Locating Age in Dickens’s London,” King’s College, London, February 26, 2007
  • “Who’s/Whose Jane Eyre,” Keynote Speaker, opening of the Rare Book School Exhibition, “Heir Apparent; An Exhibition Celebrating Bronte's
    Classic Novel” Rotunda and RBS, December 9, 2005
  • Panel Chair: “Generations II: Elders” NAVSA Conference, University of Virginia, October 2005 Contemporary Fiction in Context: Writing the Immigrant Experience, Teaching Initiative, Virginia Beach, August 15-16, 2005 (With Michael Levenson)
  • “Paper Traces; Dickens, Mayhew and the Circulation of Waste,” (with Michael Levenson) London, Monuments and Dust Annual Symposium, June 28, 2004
  • “The Fixed Period,” Modern Language Association December 2003
  • “Body Shock: What to Do with the Dying?” (with Michael Levenson), Modern Language Association, December 2003
  • “Where to Breathe in Gissing’s London,” (with Michael Levenson) London, Monuments and Dust Annual Symposium, July 9-10, 2003
  • “Country Mouse and the City of Cats: Dickensian Age in the Heart of Mid-London” (with Michael Levenson) London, Monuments and Dust Annual Symposium, July 16-17, 2002
  • “Ha Jin’s The Bridegroom: Stories,” Literature From the Pacific Rim, Teaching Initiative, Virginia Beach, March 15-16, 2002
  • “Close Readings,” Panel on Pedagogy, University of Virginia, November 16, 2001
  • “London Through the Aged,” (with Michael Levenson)Annual Conference -- Dickens Society, Roanoke, Va., October 12-14, 2001
  • Panel Chair, Crystal Palace, Locating the Victorians Conference, London, July 12-15, 2001
  • “Mayhew’s palace,” (with Michael Levenson), London, Monuments and Dust Annual Symposium, July 10-11, 2001
  • “Crystal palace in a Muddy London” (with Michael Levenson), Conference on ‘The Great Exhibition’, CUNY, May 2001
  • “Teaching Fiction,” Teaching Literature Series, University of Virginia, Department of English, November 3, 2000
  • “The Place of Age,” (with Michael Levenson), London, Monuments and Dust Annual Symposium, July 3, 2000
  • “Student Performance in the Classroom,” (with Michael Levenson) Conference on Teaching, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, January 2000
  • Moderator, “Victorian Spectacles and Spectators,” Millennial Histories and Prophecies: Literary Truth and Scientific Method, Graduate Student Conference, University of Virginia, April, 2000
  • “The One-Room Solution: Architectural Designs of Robert Kerr,” (with Michael Levenson), Monuments and Dust: The Culture of Victorian London, July 1999
  • “Oliver Twist’s London,” guest lecture, The Culture of London Program, Regent’s College, London, June 1999
  • “The Aging Queen and the Youth of Culture,” (with Michael Levenson), Modern Language Association, December 1998
  • “The Crystal Palace, plc; or How a Prince Married His Public and Reinvented a Nation” (with Michael Levenson), Conference on Victorian Collaborations, Graduate Center, CUNY, May 1998
  • "The Dying Wife, The Strolling Bloomer and the Nightingale: Pleasures as Perils at the Victorian Fireside," (with Michael Levenson), University of Warwick, December 1996
  • "Caroline Norton: A Woman's Poet," Re-Thinking Woman's Poetry Conference, Birkbeck College, July 1995
  • "Caroline Norton, The Prime Minister, and the Press," Modern Language Association, December 1994
  • "Was That An Angel in the House? Rethinking Victorian Domesticity," (with Michael Levenson), Faculty Colloquium, University of Virginia, Fall 1993
  • "The English Gentleman's House," (with Michael Levenson), Union College, Fall 1992
  • "The Problem of Reputation in George Eliot's Middlemarch," Union College, Fall 1992
  • "Middlemarch and the Victorians," Union College, Fall 1992
  • "Studies in Dostoevsky's The Brother's Karamazov," Monroe Hill College, guest lecturer 3 weeks, Spring 1992
  • "After Incest: Family Structure in the Victorian Novel," Modern Language Association annual convention, 1986
  • "Propriety, Madness, Independence: The Goals of Feminist Literary History" Conference on Feminist Criticism, University of Virginia, September 1986
  • "Literalism as Heroism in George Gissing," Modern Language Association annual convention, 1983
  • "Subjects and Objects: A Study in Bronte's Villette"(with Michael Levenson) Modern Language Association annual convention, 1977

Editorial Positions

  • Co-Editor, Virginia Victorian Studies Series, The University Press of Virginia, 1990-2000
  • Chair, Board of Directors, The University Press of Virginia, 1992-3
  • Member, Board of Directors, The University Press of Virginia, 1989-1993
  • Trustee, The Dickens Society, 1989-1991
  • Editorial board, Victorians Institute Journal


  • IMP Society Faculty Award for Most Distinguished Teaching, 2001
  • Cavalier Chair of Distinguished Teaching, 2000
  • Lamont Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature, Union College, Fall 1992