Michael Levenson

William B. Christian Professor

434 Bryan Hall

Office Hours: M 2-3pm, W 2-4 pm
Class Schedule: MW 11:00-11:50, 1:00-1:50

19th C British, 20th C American, 20th C British, Modernism


Ph.D. Stanford, 1979
B.A. Harvard, 1973


The Humanities and Everyday Life, Oxford University Press, 2017
Modernism, Yale University Press, 2011
Modernism and the Fate of Individuality, Cambridge University Press, 2005
The Spectacle of Intimacy, Princeton University Press, 2000
The Cambridge Companion to Modernism, Cambridge University Press, 1999

Digital Projects


  • “Marclay in the Middle: Stopped Time and Narrative Torsion in “The Clock” ,” essays in honor David Trotter, Critical Quarterly (2020)
  • “Jean Genet and Jean-Paul-Sartre: Writing in Resistance and the Practice of Theory,” in Dissident Aesthetics, ed. Brinda Bose (Bloomsbury, 2020)
  • Man into Woman: A Modernist Experimental Genre” in Man into Women, ed. Pamela Caughie (Bloomsbury, 2019)
  • “Pain, Cruelty, Humiliation: T.S. Eliot’s Poetry of Violence and Reprisal,” Annual Journal of the T.S. Eliot Society (2019)
  • “Habit, Labour and Desire” Philosophy and the Condition of Modernism, ed. Ana Falcato (Palgrave, 2018)
  • “Dickens and the Environment,” (co-author Karen Chase) A Global History of Literature and the Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
  • “The 1920s,” in The Cambridge History of Modernism, ed. Vincent Sherry (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
  • "Form and Voice: The Avant-Garde and Eliot’s Poetic Revolution," in The Cambridge Companion to The Waste Land ed. Gabrielle McIntire (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • “Modernism,” The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism (Wiley-Blackwell 2014)
  • “Narrative Perspective in To the Lighthouse” in The Cambridge Companion to To the Lighthouse ed. Alison Pease (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  • “Auto-Heroic Conrad: Glamour and Self-Representation” in Modernist Autobiography,” in Modernism and Autobiography, ed. Maria DiBattista (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  • “The European Avant-Gardes,” in Blackwell Companion to Modern Poetry, ed. David Chinitz and Gail McDonald (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014)

Lectures and Conferences

  • "Superpower Modernism,” keynote address, Proceedings of the International Conference on Modernist Literature, Institute of Literary Studies, Shanghai International Studies University (2017)
  • “Paper Traces: The Circulation of Waste in Mayhew’s London,” Monuments and Dust: The Culture of London, annual conference (co-author Karen Chase), July 2004
  • “The Future of English,” South Atlantic MLA convention, November 2004
  • “Psycho-geography after Empire: Peter Ackroyd, Iain Sinclair, and the Question of London,” paper delivered at the MLA convention, December 2003
  • “Bodyshocks: What to do with the dying?” paper delivered at the MLA convention (co-author Karen Chase), December 2003
  • “Where to Breathe in Gissing’s London,” Monuments and Dust: The Culture of London, annual conference (co-author Karen Chase), July 2003
  • “The Avant-Garde at War: Teaching the Violence in Modernism,” paper delivered at the MLA convention, December 2002
  • "The Country Mouse and the City of Cats: Dickensian Age in 'The Heart of Mid-London'" Monuments and Dust: The Culture of London, annual conference (co-author Karen Chase), July 2002
  • “Making Room for Modernism,” Harvard University, November 2001
  • “London through the Aged,” Annual Conference of the Dickens Society, (co-author Karen Chase), Roanoke Virginia, October 2001
  • “Mayhew in Two,” Monuments and Dust: The Culture of London, annual conference, (co-author Karen Chase), July 2001
  • “A Crystal Palace in a Muddy London,” City University of New York, Conference on the Crystal Palace, April 2001
  • “Where Was Modernism?” University of North Carolina, Greensboro, March 2001
  • “The Fate of Reading in the Screen Age,” paper delivered at the MLA convention, December 2000
  • Invited Panelist, “Modernism and the Emotions,” Modernist Studies Association, October 2000
  • “The Place of Age,” Monuments and Dust: The Culture of Victorian London, annual conference (co-author Karen Chase), July 2000
  • Chair and Presenter, “The City of Modernism,” “‘Petals on a Wet, Black, Bough’: the Flaneur, the Crowdmaster and the Modernist,” Modernist Studies Association, Penn State, Oct 1999
  • “Does “The Waste Land” Have a Politics,” York University, June 1999
  • “A One-Room Solution,” paper delivered at second annual conference on “Monuments and Dust: The Culture of Victorian London” (co-author Karen Chase), July 1999
  • “The Aging Queen and the Youth of Culture,” (co-author Karen Chase) MLA convention, December 1998
  • "What was London?" keynote address, Mid-Atlantic British Studies Conference, New York, April 1998
  • "Crystal Palace, plc," conference on Victorian Collaboration,(co-author Karen Chase) Graduate Center, CUNY, April 1998
  • “Their London, Our Emergency: The Conditions of the Humanities and the Recovery of the Metropolis,” keynote address, James Madison University graduate conference, April 1998
  • "'Unreal City': London from the Parish to the Fetish,"Harvard University, October 1997
  • "On the Parapets of Privacy," Harvard University, October 1997
  • "Give, Sympathize and Control: Does The Waste Land have a politics?" The Waste Land after Seventy-five Years, MLA convention, December 1997.
  • “Repopulating London,” Mid-Atlantic British Studies Conference, New York, April 1997
  • "What was the Avant-Garde? Koons, Kitsch and Post-Modernity," Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, April 1996
  • “The Dying Wife, The Strolling Bloomer and the Nightingale: Pleasures as Perils at the Victorian Fireside,” University of Warwick, (co-author Karen Chase) December 1996
  • "The History of a Secret: Conrad's 'Secret Sharer' and the Crisis of Modernity," University of Kent, United Kingdom, July 1995
  • "Lost in London," Centre College, April 1995
  • "Joyce and Pound: Contesting Modernisms within a Literary Cousinship," Chair, MLA panel, San Diego, 1994
  • "'Lords over Fact': The Aesthetics of Pound's Fascism," MLA annual convention, 1993
  • "Did Human Nature Change in 1910? The Ambitions of an Avant-garde," The Croll Lecture, Gettysburg College, April 1993
  • "Home Truths, Family Values, and Other Embers in the Victorian Hearth," Union College, October 1992
  • "God's Politics: Eliot's Late Politics", MLA annual convention, 1991
  • "From the Epic To the Lighthouse," Yale University, April, 1989
  • "Letters Home: E.M. Forster and A Passage to India," MLA annual convention, 1988
  • "T.S. Eliot: The End of Tradition and the Beginning of History," Miami University, Oxford Ohio, June 1988
  • "The Political Aesthete," University of Chicago, May 1986
  • "Conrad and Arnold," Queens College, April 1982
  • "Impressionism" The Grammar of a Literary Concept," MLA annual convention, 1980
  • "Subjects and Objects: A Study in Bronte's Villette" (co_author, Karen Chase),MLA annual convention, 1977


  • “Institutions of Modernism,” Lingua Franca (March 2000)
  • "The Unquiet Englishman," review of The Life of Graham Greene, vol. 2, 1939-1955, by Norman Sherry and Graham Greene: The Enemy Within, by Michael Shelden, The New Republic (December 11, 1995)
  • "To Catch a Thief," review of Genet: A Biography by Edmund White, The New Republic, (February 21, 1994)
  • Review of Strong Representations by Alexander Welsh, Victorian Studies, vol. 36, no. 4. (summer 1993)
  • "The Religion of Fiction," review of Angels & Insects by A.S. Byatt, The New Republic, (August 2, 1993; rpt. as concluding essay in A.S. Byatt, Degrees of Freedom, 1994)
  • Review of " English Music," by Peter Ackroyd, The New Republic, January 18, 1993
  • "Lust and Logic," review of The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell: Volume One -- The Private Years (1884-1914), ed. Nicholas Griffin, The New Republic, August 17, 1992
  • "Sons and Fathers," review of Ever After, by Graham Swift, The New Republic, June 22, 1992
  • "Flaubert's Parrot," review of Talking It Over, by Julian Barnes, The New Republic, December 16, 1991
  • "Harold Pinter," The New Republic, February 11, 1991
  • "Between the Acts," review of Letters of Leonard Woolf, ed. by Frederic Spotts, The New Republic, February 12, 1990
  • "Necessary Fictions," review of Wallace Stevens: The Later Years, 1923-1955, by Joan Richardson, The New Republic (December 19, 1988)
  • "Let us Advert Then, You and I," review of England Their England, by Denis Donoghue, New York Times Book Review (December 25, 1988)
  • "Liberals in Love," review of The Book and the Brotherhood, by Iris Murdoch, The New Republic (June 6, 1988)
  • "Budding Brooke," review of The Neo-Pagans: Rupert Brooke and the Ordeal of Youth, by Paul Delany, The New Republic (August 31, 1987)
  • "The Nayman of Noland," review of The Beckett Country, by Eoin O'Brien; Four Dubliners, by Richard Ellmann; On Beckett, by S.E. Gontarski; Beyond Minimalism, by Enoch Brater, The New Republic, (July 6, 1987)
  • "Humble Pies," Harper's 249 (November, 1974)
  • "The Irony and the Ecstasy," Harper's 249 (September, 1974)

Honors and Memberships

  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University (year to be arranged)
  • Fellow, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, 1997-1998
  • Fellow, Teaching Technology Initiative, 1995-1996
  • Director, NEH Summer Seminar, The Culture of London, 1850-1925, summer 1995
  • Lamont Professor of Ancient and Modern Languages, Union College, Fall 1992
  • Member, MLA Division Executive Committee, Late-Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century English Literature, 1995-1998
  • Chair (1995) and member (1994) of the judging panel for the Margaret Church Modern Fiction Studies Memorial Prize