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Faculty & Staff

Michael Gorra

Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English Language & Literature

email Send E–mail office Office: Seelye Hall 401 phone Phone: 585–3305

Office hours for Fall 2014: M 1:30-2:30, Th 1:30-2:30 & by appt.

Michael Gorra came to Smith in 1985, after getting his A.B. at Amherst and his Ph.D. at Stanford, and works primarily with 19th and 20th century fiction. His upper-division courses include the Victorian Novel, Modern British Fiction, a class on contemporary fiction called The Novel Now, a 200-level class on William Faulkner, and seminars on George Eliot's Middlemarch and the work of Henry James. In the Comparative Literature program he has offered classes on travel writing and on the 19th century short story. He has taught two First Year Seminars: Reading the Civil War, and a course on the 19th century European novel called Ambition and Adultery.

His most recent book, Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of An American Masterpiece (2012) was a finalist for several prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. Earlier books include The Bells in Their Silence: Travels through Germany (2004); After Empire: Scott, Naipaul, Rushdie (1997); and The English Novel at Mid-Century (1990).

As editor Gorra has put together volumes of stories by Joseph Conrad and Henry James for Penguin, along with the Norton Critical Editions of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation, along with a National Book Critics Circle award for his work as a reviewer. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Review of Books, the TLS, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Book Review, among others. His travel essays have twice been included in the annual volumes of Best American Travel Writing, and in 2014 he was a judge for the National Book Award in fiction.