John Kucich
Distinguished Professor of English
(848) 932-7172


Theory, Victorian

Victorian Literature
Empire Studies
Narrative Theory

John Kucich is the author of four books on Victorian literature and culture: Excess and Restraint in the Novels of Charles Dickens (Georgia, 1981), Repression in Victorian Fiction (California, 1987), The Power of Lies: Transgression in Victorian Fiction (Cornell, 1994), and Imperial Masochism: British Fiction, Fantasy, and Social Class (Princeton, 2007). He has edited, with Dianne F. Sadoff, Victorian Afterlife: Postmodern Culture Rewrites the Nineteenth Century (Minnesota, 2000), and he is the editor of Fictions of Empire (Houghton-Mifflin, 2002). He also co-edited Volume Three, 1820-1880 (Oxford, 2011), in Oxford University Press's landmark project, The Oxford History of the Novel in English, a twelve-volume series that is likely to be the standard reference work for decades. He has written dozens of articles on Victorian literature and culture, which have appeared in the top journals in his field as well as in the most eminent generalist journals in literary studies. One of these, an essay on Rudyard Kipling, was awarded the 2005 Donald Gray Prize as the best essay of the year in Victorian studies by the field's flagship organization, the North American Victorian Studies Association. He serves on the advisory boards of several top journals in his field and has served on the Editorial Board of PMLA. He has won major fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Humanities Center. His areas of expertise include Victorian studies, empire studies, narrative theory, psychoanalysis, and multi-media heritage adaptation.

Office / Office Hours

Murray Hall, Room 203C, College Ave Campus

Thursday, 1:30-2:30 PM


  • “Psychoanalytic Historicism: Shadow Discourse and the Gender Politics of Masochism in Ellis, Schreiner, and Haggard” 
    PMLA 126 (2011)
  • “The Unfinished Historicist Project: In Praise of Suspicion”
    Victoriographies (2011)
  • "Melancholia and Victorian Masculinity" 
    The Cambridge Companion to Wilkie Collins
  • "Sadomasochism and the Magical Group: Kipling's Middle-Class Imperialism"
    Victorian Studies
     46, 2003
  • "Masochism, Omnipotence, and Olive Schreiner: Strategies of a Preoedipal Politicals" 
    NOVEL: A Forum On Fiction 36, 2002
  • "The Ascendancy of Science" 
    A Companion to the Victorian Novel
  • "Introduction" 
    Fictions of Empire: 'Heart of Darkness,' 'The Man Who Would Be King,' and 'The Beach at Falesá
    ' (2002)
  • "Melancholy Magic: Masochism, Sevenson, Anti-Imperialism" 
    Nineteenth-Century Literature
     56, 2001
  • "Intellectual Debate and the Victorian Novel: Religion, Science, and the Professional" 
    The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel
  • "Introduction: Histories of the Present" 
    Co-authored with Dianne F. Sadoff. Victorian Afterlife: Postmodern Culture Rewrites the Nineteenth Century (2000)

Courses Taught

  • Cultural Logics: Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern
  • History of Literary Theory II: Romanticism to Present
  • Issues and Problems in Literary Theory
  • Twentieth-Century Literature of British Imperialism, 1880-1980
  • Close-Reading the Classics: Our Mutual Friend and Middlemarch
  • Seminar: Nineteenth-Century Organic Social Formations
  • Seminar: Genre Study: Domestic Novel, Political Novel

Awards and Affiliations

  • Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research, 2012
  • Donald Gray Prize, Best Essay in Victorian Studies, North American Victorian Studies Association, for “Sadomasochism and the Magical Group,” 2005
  • Distinguished Faculty Recognition Award, University of Michigan, 2004
  • Ayrshire Foundation Award, University of Michigan, 2003
  • National Humanities Center Fellowship, 2003
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 1987
  • NEH Fellowship, 1985
  • Advisory Board, Nineteenth-Century Literature, 1995-
  • Advisory Board, NOVEL: A Forum On Fiction, 2008-
  • Member, Modern Language Association
  • Member, Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association
  • Member, North American Victorian Studies Association


PhD, University at Buffalo
MA, University at Buffalo
BA, University of California, Santa Cruz

Other Information of Interest