David Kurnick
Associate Professor of English
Director of Graduate Studies
(848) 932-7977
Gender & Sexuality, Hemispheric, Theory, Translation, Twentieth Century, Victorian

Nineteenth-century British literature; modernist literature, the novel and narrative theory, gender and sexuality, sociology and literature, the modern Latin American novel.

Professor Kurnick’s research and teaching focus on the history of the novel, narrative theory, sociology and literature, and sexuality and gender. He is the author of Empty Houses: Theatrical Failure and the Novel (Princeton, 2012). The book examines the theatrical ambitions of major Anglophone novelists (William Makepeace Thackeray, George Eliot, Henry James, James Joyce, and James Baldwin) better known for their narrative explorations of domestic and psychological interiors, tracing the novelistic aftermath of these failed theatrical projects to claim that these writers’ pioneering narrative techniques for representing interiority grew out of a frustrated appetite for collectivity. Kurnick argues that the novel, frequently taken as a proponent of inwardness, in fact prompts us to public ways of imagining the psyche, intimacy, and sexuality.

In addition to his research on the Victorian and modernist novel, Professor Kurnick has worked on modern Latin American fiction. He has published essays on the contemporary writers César Aira and Roberto Bolaño and translated Julio Cortázar’s 1975 novella Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires (Semiotext[e], 2014). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in boundary 2ELH, PMLA, Raritan, Victorian Studies, NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, Victorian Literature and Culture, The Henry James Review, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, The Oxford History of the Novel in English, Vol. 3: 1820-1880, Literature Compassand Public Books.

Murray Hall, Room 205A, College Ave Campus

Graduate Office
  • The Nineteenth-Century British Novel
  • Genres of the City
  • Victorian Literature and Culture
  • Promiscuity and Fidelity in the Novel
  • Thinking Sexuality: Queer Theories
  • The Uses of History in Queer Culture
  • Principles of Literary Study: Introduction to Narrative
  • The Realist Novel in Nineteenth-Century Europe
  • Introduction to Science Fiction
  • The Social Imagination of the Nineteenth-Century Novel
  • George Eliot
  • The Novel and Totality
  • Backgrounds to Contemporary Theory and Historical Method
  • Henry James
  • Queer Theory (Literary Critics and Others)
  • Empty Houses short-listed for Modernist Studies Association book prize, 2013.
  • Empty Houses co-winner of Sonia Rudikoff Prize for best first book in Victorian Studies, Northeast Victorian Studies Association, 2012.
  • Margaret Bundy Scott Visiting Professor, Williams College Department of English. Fall 2013.
  • Faculty Fellow, “Formalisms," Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University, 2012-13.
  • Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence, 2012.
  • Faculty Fellow, “New Media Literacies,” Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers, 2008-09.
  • Columbia Society of Fellows, 2006-07.
  • Leon Edel Prize for best essay on Henry James by a beginning scholar, 2005.
  • W.M. Keck Foundation Fellowship, Huntington Library, Pasadena, 2005.
  • Modern Language Association
  • North American Victorian Studies Association
  • Northeast Victorian Studies Association
  • Society for the Study of Narrative Literature
  • American Literature Association
  • Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies
  • Henry James Society
  • American Comparative Literature Association
  • Latin American Studies Association

PhD, Columbia University
M. Phil. Columbia University
AB, Harvard College