literary theory

Jean-Marie Apostolidès


106 Pigott Hall
650 723 4460

Professor Apostolidès was educated in France, where he received a doctorate in literature and the social sciences. He taught psychology in Canada for seven years and sociology in France for three years. In 1980 he came to the United States, teaching at Harvard and then Stanford, primarily French classical literature (the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) and drama. He is interested in avant-garde artistic movements such as dada, surrealism, and situationist international; as well as the theory of image, literary theory, and Francophone literature. He is also a playwright, whose work has been staged in Paris, Montreal, and New York.

Professor Apostolidès has served as chair of the Department of French and Italian and as executive editor of the Stanford French Review and the Stanford Literature Review.

His literary criticism focuses on the place of artistic production in the French classical age and in modern society. Whether it be the place of court pageantry during the reign of King Louis XIV (Le Roi-Machine, 1981), or the role of theater under the ancien régime (Le Prince Sacrificié, 1985), or even the importance of mass culture in the 1950s (Les Métamorphoses de Tintin, 1984), in each case Professor Apostolidès analyzes a specific cultural product both in its original context and in the context of the contemporary world. His most recent books are Les Tombeaux de Guy Debord in 1999, L'Audience in 2001, Traces, Revers, Ecarts in 2002, Sade in The Abyss in 2003, Héroïsme et victimisation in 2003, Hergé et le mythe du Surenfant in 2004. The tools required for such analysis are borrowed from literary criticism and from the social sciences, particularly psychoanalysis, anthropology, and sociology.

In his books, Professor Apostolidès interprets the works of the past as witnesses of our intellectual and emotional life. His examination of the distant or near past seeks to make us more sensitive to the social changes that are taking place now, in order to improve our understanding of the direction in which contemporary society is moving.

Click here to read Professor Apostolides' Montreal interview with Alexandre Trudel.


Ramón Saldívar


Building 460, Room 322
Phone: 650 725 1213

Ramón Saldívar's teaching and research areas at Stanford have concentrated on the areas of cultural studies, literary theory, modernism, Chicano narrative, and Post-colonial literature. He is also interested in the history of the novel and nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British and American comparative studies. With a degree in Comparative Literature, his publications reflect the variety of his interests. His first book, Figural Language in the Novel: The Flowers of Speech from Cervantes to Joyce (1984), was a study of the authority of meaning in selected canonical European and American novels. His second book, Chicano Narrative: The Dialectics of Difference (1990), is a history of the development of Chicano narrative forms. His most recent book, titled The Borderlands of Culture: Américo Paredes and the Transnational Imaginary (2006), is a study of the modern American borderlands, transnationalism and globalism and their role in creating and delimiting agents of history.

Saldívar has served on the Board of Governors of the University of California Humanities Research Institute, on the Editorial Board of American Literature, and Modern Fiction Studies and on the national council of the American Studies Association. He is a past recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a National Council on Chicanos in Higher Education grant, a Danforth Doctoral Fellowship and various University of Texas Research Institute Faculty Awards. At Stanford, he has received Irvine and Bing curriculum development grants. He is the 1994 recipient of the Lillian and Thomas B. Rhodes Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at Stanford, the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contribution to Undergraduate Education in 1998, and is the Hoagland Family Professor of Humanities and Sciences and Milligan Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education.


1977: Ph.D., Yale University
1975: M.Phil., Yale University
1972: B.A., University of Texas, Austin

Patricia Parker


Building 460, Room 324
Phone: 650 723 1818

Office Hours: 
Winter quarter: Tuesday/Thursday 5:05-6:00pm, or by appt.

Patricia Parker received her M.A. in English at the University of Toronto, before leaving in 1968 to teach for three years in Tanzania, during the period when President Julius Nyerere was translating Shakespeare into Kiswahili. After returning to complete her Ph.D. at Yale, in Comparative Literature, in 1975 she joined the faculty in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto, where she received tenure and was promoted to Full Professor. First invited to Stanford as a Visiting Professor in 1986, she joined the Departments of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford in 1988. She has also taught as a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley and as a part of the core faculty at the School of Criticism and Theory. She is the author of three books: Inescapable Romance, a study of romance from Ariosto to Wallace Stevens; Literary Fat Ladies: Rhetoric, Gender, Property; and Shakespeare from the Margins; and co-editor of five collections of essays on criticism, theory, and cultural studies, including Shakespeare and the Question of Theory and Women, Race and Writing in the Early Modern Period. She has lectured widely, in France, Germany, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, and other parts of the world, as well as at Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Chicago, Oxford, Cambridge, the Sorbonne, and other universities, as Gauss Seminar lecturer at Princeton, and as the Shakespeare's Birthday lecturer at the Folger Shakespeare Library; and has served on the Advisory Board of the English Institute. In 2003-4, she organized an international conference and public festival at Stanford devoted to “Shakespeare in Asia” (details and photos at and worked with students to create performance-based programs in the community. She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Shakespeare, the Bible, Epic and Empire, and early modern writing on the Muslim world. In addition to completing three book projects, on Shakespeare, race, religion and gender in the early modern period, she is currently editing Norton Critical editions of Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night and a new Arden edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream; and serving as General Editor of a major international Shakespeare Encyclopedia.


1967: B.A., University of Manitoba
1968: M.A., University of Toronto
1976: Ph.D., Yale University

David Palumbo-Liu

portrait: David Palumbo-Liu

Building 260, Room 229
Phone: 650 725 4915

Curriculum Vitae: 

David Palumbo-Liu’s fields of interest include social and cultural criticism, literary theory and criticism, East Asian and Asia Pacific American studies. His most recent book, The Deliverance of Others: Reading Literature in a Global Age (Duke, 2012) addresses the role of contemporary humanistic literature with regard to the instruments and discourses of globalization, seeking to discover modes of affiliation and transnational ethical thinking; he is also co-editor with Bruce Robbins and Nirvana Tanoukhi of Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World: System, Scale, Culture (Duke, 2011).  Palumbo-Liu is most interested in issues regarding social theory, community, race and ethnicity, justice, globalization, ecology, and the specific role that literature and the humanities play in helping us address each of these areas.  He is the founding editor of Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (found on Arcade) and blogs for Truthout, The Boston Review, The Huffington Post, and Al Jazeera America. He is also a Contributing Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and on the HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science & Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) Steering Committee and the Academic Steering and Advocacy Committee of the Open Library of the Humanities.

Please visit his web site for more information, essays, blogs, events:


1988: Ph.D. (Comparative Literature), University of California, Berkeley

Professional Activities: 

Contributing Editor, Los Angeles Review of Books

Steering Committee, HASTAC

Academic Steering and Advocacy Committe, Open Library of Humanities

Blogs in Truthout, Arcade, Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books

Amir Eshel

portrait: Sylke Tempel
Pigott Hall 219
Phone: 650 723 0413
Fax: 650 725 8421
Curriculum Vitae: 

Amir Eshel is Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies, Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature; an Affiliated Faculty at The Europe Center and CISAC at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. His research focuses on the contemporary novel in a global dimension, twentieth century German culture, German-Jewish history and culture, and modern Hebrew literature. He is interested in the literary and cultural imagination as it addresses modernity’s traumatic past for its contemporary philosophical, political and ethical implications.

Recently, Amir Eshel completed a new book, Futurity: Contemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past (The University of Chicago Press in 2013). The German version of the book, Zukünftigkeit: Die zeitgenössische Literatur und die Vergangenheit appeared in 2012 with Suhrkamp Verlag. Together with Yfaat Weiss he co-edited a book of essays on Barbara Honigmann, Kurz hinter der Wahrheit und dicht neben der Lüge: Zum Werk Barbara Honigmanns (Fink Verlag (2013)). He is also the author of Zeit der Zäsur: Jüdische Lyriker im Angesicht der Shoah (1999), and Das Ungesagte Schreiben: Israelische Prosa und das Problem der Palästinensischen Flucht und Vertreibung (2006). In recent years, he also published essays on writers such as Franz Kafka, Hannah Arendt, Paul Celan, W.G. Sebald, Günter Grass, Alexander Kluge, Durs Grünbein, Barbara Honigmann, Dan Pagis, S. Yizhar, and Yoram Kaniyuk.

Before joining the Stanford faculty in 1998 as an Assistant Professor of German Studies, he taught at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Amir Eshel is a recipient of fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt and the Friedrich Ebert foundations and received the Award for Distinguished Teaching from the School of Humanities and Sciences. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. in German literature, both from the University of Hamburg.


1998 Ph.D. University of Hamburg, Germany
1994 M.A. University of Hamburg, Germany


Margaret Cohen

portrait: Beverly Allen

Building 260, Room 211
Phone: 650 724 0106

Office Hours: 
Tues 3:00-4:00 (sign-up sheet at room 260-211) or by appointment

Please email to schedule a meeting with Professor Cohen or ask questions regarding the undergraduate major/minor.

Margaret Cohen’s most recent book is The Novel and the Sea (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), which was awarded the Louis R. Gottschalk Prize from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the George and Barbara Perkins Prize from the International Society for the Study of the Narrative. She is also the author of Profane Illumination: Walter Benjamin and the Paris of Surrealist Revolution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993) and The Sentimental Education of the Novel (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), which received the Modern Language Association's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione prize in French and Francophone literature. In addition, Margaret Cohen coedited two collections of scholarship on the European novel: The Literary Channel: The Inter-National Invention of the Novel with Carolyn Dever (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), andSpectacles of Realism: Body, Gender, Genre with Christopher Prendergast (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995). She edited and translated Sophie Cottin's best-selling novel of 1799, Claire d'Albe (New York: Modern Language Association, 2003), and has edited a new critical edition of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary that appeared with W.W. Norton in 2004.


1988: Ph.D., Yale University
1982: M.A., New York University

1980-81: Universität Konstanz
1980: B.A., Yale University


John Bender


Building 460, Room 341
Phone: 650 723 3052

John Bender's research and teaching focus on the eighteenth century in England and France. His special concerns include the relationship of literature to the visual arts, to philosophy and science, as well as to the sociology of literature and critical theory. He is also on the Comparative Literature faculty. Bender is the author of Spenser and Literary Pictorialism (1972), and Imagining the Penitentiary: Fiction and the Architecture of Mind in 18th-Century England (1987), which received the Gottschalk Prize of the American Society for 18th-Century Studies. He has published articles on Shakespeare, Piranesi, Hogarth, Hume, Goldsmith, Blake, Godwin, and on theoretical issues including fictionality and scientific inquiry. He is co-editor of The Ends of Rhetoric: History, Theory, Practice (1990), Chronotypes: The Construction of Time (1991), The Columbia History of the British Novel (1994), the Oxford World Classics edition of Tom Jones (1996), and Regimes of Description: In the Archive of the Eighteenth Century (2005).


1967: Ph.D., Cornell University
1962: B.A., Princeton University

Roland Greene

portrait: Roland Greene

Building 260, Room 215
Phone: 650 725 1214

Office Hours: 
On leave 2013-14
Focal Group(s): 
Focal Group(s): 
Workshop in Poetics
Roland Greene is a scholar of Renaissance culture, especially the literatures of England, Latin Europe, and the transatlantic world, and of poetry and poetics from the sixteenth century to the present. His most recent book is Five Words: Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes (Chicago, 2013). He is the editor in chief of the fourth edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (2012).
His other books include Unrequited Conquests: Love and Empire in the Colonial Americas (Chicago, 1999), which argues that the love poetry of the Renaissance had a formative role in European ideas about the Americas during the first phase of the colonial period; Post-Petrarchism: Origins and Innovations of the Western Lyric Sequence (Princeton, 1991), a transhistorical study of lyric poetics; and, edited with Elizabeth Fowler, The Project of Prose in Early Modern Europe and the New World (Cambridge, 1997).
Greene is the general editor of a series of critical volumes titled World Literatures Reimagined. The first three volumes in the series, Earl Fitz's Brazilian Narrative Traditions in a Comparative Context, Azade Seyhan's Tales of Crossed Destinies: The Modern Turkish Novel in a Comparative Context, and Kirsty Hooper and Manuel Puga Moruxa's Contemporary Galician Studies, are in print.
The directions of Greene's research are reflected in the three working groups he oversees with colleagues and graduate students, two of which are formal Focal Groups in the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. In 2004 he established Renaissances: A Research Group in Early Modern Literatures, which presents younger scholars from around the U.S. and elsewhere working on topics of long-term significance (for 2012-14, the topic is "Nodes, Networks, Names"). In 2006 he created the Stanford Poetics Workshop, which includes a regular membership of faculty members, advanced graduate students, and fellows at the Humanities Center. A group on Transamerican Studies, co-chaired with Ramón Saldívar, began meeting in the autumn of 2009 and is currently on hiatus. These groups invite both Stanford scholars and visitors to present research in progress, and serve to assemble the community of Ph.D. students currently working in these areas.
Greene is the Director of Arcade, a digital salon for literature and the humanities.
At Stanford he is actively involved with the Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities, which brings postdoctoral scholars to campus, with the Bing Overseas Studies Program, and with the Program in Structured Liberal Education (SLE), of which he is a former director.
Greene is currently Second Vice President of the Modern Language Association of America; he will serve as President in 2015.

1985: Ph.D., Princeton University

1979: A.B., Brown University


Future Lectures and Conference Papers:

"The Semantics of the Baroque: How Seventeenth-Century Poets and Artists Understood (and Translated) the Terms for a Baroque Aesthetic," Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto, November 19, 2013

"Cervantes in Shakespeare in Theobald: Three Stages of Literary History in One Artifact," Double Falshood (1727) and Cardenio (1613): Theobald, Fletcher, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies and William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles, January 2014

"Institutions and the Vernacular," Renaissance Society of America, New York, March 2014

Roundtable, Sidney and Spenser Studies in Tribute to T. P. Roche, Renaissance Society of America, New York, March 2014

Roundtable, Transgressing Boundaries: Comparative Epic and Drama, Renaissance Society of America, New York, March 2014

"Auerbach's Universals," Reading Mimesis Chapter 13, Shakespeare Association of America, St. Louis, April 2014


Ph.D. students:

Rhiannon Lewis, ""One Word My Whole Years Work": Time, Use, and Labor in Renaissance Poetry," Department of English, in progress

Ryan Haas, "The Draggled Muse: Early Modern Literature and the Poetics of Triviality," Department of English, in progress

Lucy Alford, "Unfolding Presence: Poetic Attention through the Lens of the Twentieth Century," Department of Comparative Literature, in progress

Talya Meyers, "'Streight Course' and 'Wandring Eye': Reconsidering the Epic," Department of English, in progress

Noam Pines, "The Poetics of Dehumanization in Jewish Literature," Department of Comparative Literature, in progress

Virginia Ramos, "The Modern Lyrical Novel," Department of Comparative Literature, in progress

Bronwen Tate, "Putting it All In, Leaving it All Out: Expansion and Compression in Post-War Poetry," Department of Comparative Literature, in progress

Colin Moore, "Communicative Situations in Early Modern European Fiction," Department of Comparative Literature, in progress

Christopher Donaldson, "The Local Poet in the Romantic Tradition," Department of Comparative Literature, 2012. Now Literary Research Associate, Spatial Humanities Project, Lancaster University.

Kathryn Hume, "The Performance of Analysis in Seventeenth-Century Literature and Science," Department of Comparative Literature, 2012. Now Marketing Content Specialist, IntApp.

Anton Vander Zee, "'The Final Lilt of Songs': Late Whitman and the Long American Century," Department of English, 2012. Now Assistant Professor of English, College of Charleston.

Frederick L. Blumberg, "Literature and Its Rivals, 1500-1660," Department of Comparative Literature, 2011. Now Assistant Professor of English, University of Hong Kong.

Fabian Goppelsröder, "Kalendergeschichte and fait divers: The Poetics of Circumscribed Space," Department of Comparative Literature, 2011. Now Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Potsdam.

Harris Feinsod, "Fluent Mundo: Inter-American Poetry, 1939-1973," Department of Comparative Literature, 2011. Now Assistant Professor of English, Northwestern University.

Stephanie Schmidt, "Foundational Narratives, Performance and the City," Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures, 2011. Now Assistant Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature, University of Tulsa.

David Marno, "Thanking as Thinking: The Poetics of Grace in John Donne's Holy Sonnets," Department of Comparative Literature, 2011. Now Assistant Professor of English, University of California, Berkeley.

Anne Marie Guglielmo, "Contested Genealogies in Early Modern Mediterranean Literature," Department of Comparative Literature, 2010

Ema Vyroubalová, "Linguistic Alterity and Foreignness in Early Modern England, 1534-1625," Department of English, 2010. Recipient of the department's Alden Prize for best dissertation, 2011. Now Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature, Trinity College, Dublin.

Claire Seiler, “Between Pole and Tropic: Poetry and Fiction, 1945-1955," Department of English, 2010. Now Assistant Professor of English, Dickinson College.

Enrique Lima, "Forms of Conquest: Indian Conflict and the Novel in the Americas," Department of Comparative Literature, 2006. Now Assistant Professor of English, University of Oregon.

David Colón, "Embodying the Ideogram: Orientalism and the Visual Aesthetic in Modernist Poetry," Department of English, 2004. Now Assistant Professor of English, Texas Christian University.

Jillanne Michell, "The Ethics of Toleration in English Renaissance Literature," Department of English, University of Oregon, 2004. Now Professor of English and Department Chair, Umpqua Community College.

Carolyn Bergquist, "Worlds of Persuasion," Department of English, University of Oregon, 2003. Now Director of Composition, University of Oregon.

Kate Jenckes, "Allegories of Writing / History: Borges, Benjamin, and Buenos Aires," Program in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, 2001. Now Associate Professor of Spanish, University of Michigan.

Miles Taylor, "Nation, History, and Theater: Representing the Past in the Drama of Early Modern England," Department of English, University of Oregon, 2000. Now Associate Professor of English, Le Moyne College.

Nina Chordas, "Utopian Poetics: The Praxis and Discourse of Utopia in England and America, 1516-1637," Department of English, University of Oregon, 1998. Now Associate Professor of English and Department Chair, University of Alaska Southeast.

Jaspal Singh, "Maddening Inscriptions: 'Madness' as Resistance in Postcolonial African and South Asian Women's Fiction and Film," Program in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, 1998. Now Professor of English, Northern Michigan University.

Karen Piper, "Territories of the Novel: Borders, Identities, and Displacements in Twentieth-Century Fiction," Program in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, 1996. Now Professor of English, University of Missouri, Columbia.

Marilyn G. Miller, "Miscegenation and the Narrative Voice," Program in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, 1995. Now Associate Professor of Spanish, Tulane University.

Professional Activities: 

Syndicate content