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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 Spring 2014: M 2:40-4:00, F 11:00-12:00 & by appt.

Michael Gorra came to Smith in 1985, after getting his A.B. at Amherst and his Ph.D. at Stanford. He works primarily with 19th and 20th century fiction, concentrating on the history and development of novelistic form. 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 taught classes on travel writing and the 19th century short story. He has taught two First Year Seminars: Rereading 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: the Pulitzer Prize in Biography, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Britain’s James Tait Black Memorial Prize. 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 compiled a Penguin volume called The Portable Conrad (2007) and the Norton Critical Editions of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (2009) and The Sound and the Fury (forthcoming.) 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 New York Times Book Review, The Hudson Review, Travel + Leisure, Slate, BookForum, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast, and his travel essays have twice been included in the annual volumes of Best American Travel Writing.