Contact Information

Rabb 211
office hours: EMERITA

See Professor Lanser's Faculty Guide page for more information.


Susan S. Lanser

The Sexuality of History:  Modernity and the Sapphic 1565-1830 (2014) Lanser


Professor Emerita
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison

Research Interests

British and Continental European History and Literature 1650-1830, Narrative Theory and the Novel, The French Revolution, History of Gender and Sexuality, Feminist Theory.

Selected Publications


The Sexuality of History:  Modernity and the Sapphic 1565-1830 Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2014.

  • Finalist for the Lammy Award in LGBT Studies
  • Winner of the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize via the American Historical Association
  • Honorable Mention for the Louis D. Gottschalk Prize

Narrative Theory Unbound: Queer and Feminist Interventions, coedited with Robyn Warhol.   Columbus:  Ohio State University Press, 2015.

  • Honorable Mention, The Barbara Perkins and George Perkins Prize, International Society for the Study of Narrative, 2017
  • Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2015

Letters Written in France
Broadview Press. Coedited with Neil Fraistat, 2001
Women Critics 1660-1820: An Anthology.
Senior editor with Folger Collective on Early Women Critics.
Indiana University Press, 1995
Fictions of Authority: Women Writers and Narrative Voice
Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992.
The Narrative Act: Point of View Prose Fiction
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981.

Representative Essays  

“Sex, Gender, and the Limits of Enlightenment.”  A Cultural History of Women in the Age of Enlightenment.  Ed. Ellen Pollak.  Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2013, 45-69 (notes, 216-220).

“Gender and Narrative.”  Living Handbook of Narratology.  Ed.  Peter Hühn et al. Hamburg University Press, 2013.

“Of Closed Doors and Open Hatches:  Heternormative Plots in Eighteenth-Century (Women’s) Studies” The Eighteenth-Century Theory and Interpretation 53 (2012):     273-290.        

“The Implied Author:  An Agnostic Manifesto.”  Style 45:1 (2011):   161-168.

“Sapphic Dialogics: Historical Narratology and the Sexuality of Form.”  In Postclassical Narratology: Approaches and Analyses, ed. Monika Fludernik and Jan Alber.   Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2010, 186-205.

“Mapping Sapphic Modernity.”  Comparatively Queer: Crossing Time, Crossing Cultures, ed. Jarrod Hayes, Margaret Higonnet, and William Spurlin.   London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 69-89.

“Tory Lesbians: Economies of Intimacy and the Status of Desire.”  Lesbian Dames:  Sapphism in the Long Eighteenth Century ed. John Beynon and Caroline Gonda.  Farnham, Surrey, and Burlington, Vermont:  Ashgate, 2010, 173-189.   

“Novel (Lesbian) Subjects: The Sexual History of Form.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction,   42:3 (2009): 497-503. 

“’Put to the Blush’: Romantic Irregularities and Sapphic Tropes.”  Romantic Praxis, a (January 2006),

“The Novel Body Politic.”  In The Eighteenth-Century Novel:  Companion to Literature and Culture, ed. Paula Backscheider and Catherine Ingrassia.  Oxford:  Blackwell, 2005, 481-503.

“The ‘I’ of the Beholder.”  The Blackwell Companion to Narrative Theory.  Oxford: Blackwell, 2005, 206-219. 

“Eating Cake:  The (Ab)uses of  Marie Antoinette.”  Afterword to Marie Antoinette:  Portraits of a Queen, ed. Dena Goodman and Thomas E. Kaiser.  London:  Routledge, 2003,  273-89.

“’Queer to Queer’: The Sapphic Body as Transgressive Text.”  In Lewd and Notorious: Female Transgression in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Katharine Kittredge.  Ann Arbor:  University of Michigan Press, 2003, 21-46.

“Bluestocking Sapphism and the Economies of Desire.”  Huntington Library Quarterly 65:1-2 (2003): 257-75. 

“Sapphic Picaresque, Sexual Difference, and the Challenges of Homoadventuring.” Textual Practice 15:2 (November 2001): 1-18.

“’Au sein de vos pareilles’:  Sapphic Separatism in Late-Eighteenth-Century France.”  Journal of Homosexuality, 41:3-4 (2001):  105-16.
"Befriending the Body: Female Intimacies as Class Acts." Eighteenth Century Studies 32:2 (Winter, 1998-99), 179-98.

"Compared to What?  Global Feminism, Comparatism, and The Master's Tools."  In Borderwork:  Feminist Engagements with Comparative Literature, ed. Margaret Higonnet.  Ithaca:  Cornell University Press, 1994, 280-300.

"Burning Dinners:  Feminist Subversions of Domesticity," in Feminist Messages:  Coding in Women's Folk Culture, ed. Joan N. Radner.  Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 1992, 36-53. 

Introduction to Ladies Almanack by Djuna Barnes. (New York University Press, 1992), xv-li.
"Feminist Criticism: 'The Yellow Wallpaper,' and the Politics of Color in America." Feminist Studies 15:3 (Fall, 1989), 415-41.
"Toward a Feminist Narratology." Style 20:3 (Fall, 1986), 341-63.

Current Projects

“Negative Plotting” – essay in progress

Early Modern Lesbian Subjects, for The Cambridge Companion to Lesbian Literature

“Rewriting the Revolution:  Fictions of Liberty 1814-2014” book in progress

Selected Honors and Awards

Second Vice President of the American Society of 18th Century Studies
President-Elect, International Society for the Study of Narrative, 2013-16                  
Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar Grant  (with Jane Kamensky), 2012-14
Great Teachers Honoree, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2012                         
Innovative Course Design Award, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (with Jane Kamensky), 2012
Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, 2004-05
Crompton-Noll Essay Award, Modern Language Association Lesbian-Gay Caucus, 1999
NEH Folger Institute Library Fellowship, 1998-99
Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award, University of Maryland, 1992
National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship, 1987-88
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 1984
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 1981

Selected Courses Taught

Gender and the Genealogy of the Novel: 1680-1800 (ENG 254a)
A Novel Nation: The Making of English Fiction 1680-1860 (ENG 220b)
Jane Austen (ENG 145b)
Gender and the Rise of the Novel in England and France (ENG 114b)
Fictions of Liberty: Europe in a Revolutionary Age (COML 115b)
How Fiction Works: Narrative in Theory and Practice (ENG 111a)
Women in Culture & Society: A Multidisciplinary Perspective (WMNS 5a)