Professor of English


Ph.D., Cornell University

Field of Specialty

Poetry, including poetic form, Renaissance. Romanticism. Theory. Literature and Philosophy. Film, Behavioral Economics, Cognitive Studies, Shakespeare, psychology of literature, Evolutionary psychology.

Contact Information

Rabb Graduate Center 139

Personal Web Page

William Flesch

I work on the nature of literary experience, from Homer through present day movies, and on what an accurate description of literary experience can offer evolutionary psychologists and cognitive theorists.


Flesch, William. "Extravagance." Oxford Literary Review 42. 1 (2020): 52-75. (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "Intertemporal bargaining and literary experience." Oxford Handbook for Cognitive Approaches to Literature. Ed. Lisa Zunshine., 2012 (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "Intertemporal bargaining and narrative theory." Theory Aside. Ed. Jason Potts. Duke University Press, 2012 (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "N/A." Rev. of Cain; The Life of Things, by Jose Saramago. Los Angeles Review of Books 2012 (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "N/A." Rev. of The Magic of Reality; Pathological Altruism, by Richard Dawkins; Barbara Oakley, et al.. Los Angeles Review of Books 2012 (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "Narrative and non-causal bargaining." Novel: A Forum on Fiction (2012). (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "Other memes, other minds." Early Modern Culture (2012) (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "Punishment, Justification and Personal Identity [in Milton]." Milton's Rival Hermeneutics: “Reason Is But Choosing”. Ed. Margaret Thickstun and Richard DuRocher. Duquesne University Press, 2012 (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "Reductive Antireductionism." Early Modern Culture (2012) (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "What makes someone a character in Shakespeare?." Shakespeare's Sense of Character, Viewed on the Page and from the Stage. Ed. Yu Jin Ko. Ashgate, 2012 (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "“Shelley’s Clarity”." The Wordsworth Circle (2012). (forthcoming)

Flesch, William. "Notre Dame de Paris by Gerard de Nerval." First Things February-March 2020: 34.

Flesch, William. "Notre Dame, 2015." First Things 34.

Flesch, William. "On Harold Bloom." n+1 October 2020.

Flesch, William. "One Feels a Malady: On Robert N. Watson’s “Cultural Evolution and its Discontents”." LA Review of Books June 7, 2019

Flesch, William. "Ordered Peers." Essays in Criticism 70. 1 (2020): 130-138.

Flesch, William. "“The Death of Cordelia and the economics of preference in eighteenth century moral psychology"." Theories of the Self in the Long 18th Century. Ed. John Baker and and Marion LeClair. Manchester: Manchester U.P., 2019. 95-113.

Flesch, William. ""Set Theory for Poets, Poetry for Set Theorists"." Logic Around the World. Ed. Massoud Pourmahdian and Ali Sadegh Daghighi. Tehran, Iran: A.F.J. Publishing, 2018

Flesch, William. "Facing Fictions." Poetics Today 37. 4 (2016): 539-571.

Flesch, William. ""Reading and Bargaining." Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies. Ed. Zunshine. Oxford, 2014. 369-390.

Flesch, William. "Acting Together." Rev. of Theatre and Mind, by Bruce McConachie. Times Literary Supplement September 20, 2013: 29.

Flesch, William. "An Honest Ghost." Rev. of An Honest Ghost, by Rick Whitaker. Los Angeles Review of Books 2014

Flesch, William. "“Intertemporal bargaining and narrative theory”." Theory Aside. Ed. Jason Potts and Daniel Stout. Duke University Press, 2014. 199-215.

Flesch, William. "A Biocultural Approach to Literary Theory and Interpretation." Rev. of A Biocultural Approach to Literary Theory and Interpretation, by Nancy Easterlin. Times Literary Supplement 2013: 26.

Flesch, William. "Cain and The Life of Things." Rev. of Cain and The Life of Things, by Jose Saramago. Los Angeles Review of Books 2013

Flesch, William. "Lightning Rods." Rev. of Lightning Rods, by Helen DeWitt. Los Angeles Review of Books 2013

Flesch, William. "The Critical Pulse." Rev. of The Critical Pulse, by Jeffrey J. Williams and Heather Steffen, eds.. Times Literary Supplement 2013: 31.

Flesch, William. "These Dreams of You." Rev. of These Dreams of You, by Steve Erickson. Times Literary Supplement 2013: 27.

Flesch, William. "N/A." Rev. of Distrust That Particular Flavor, by William Gibson. Times Literary Supplement 2012: 27.

Flesch, William. "N/A." Rev. of Hollywood Westerns and American Myth; The Fugitive in Flight, by Robert Pippin,;Stanley Fish. Los Angles Review of Books October 4, 2011

Flesch, William. "The Magic of Reality and Pathological Altruism." Rev. of The Magic of Reality; Pathological Altruism, by Richard Dawkins and Barbara Oakley et al.. Los Angeles Review of Books 2012

Flesch, William. "“Bishop and Merrill, “ contribution to a forum called “Who’s in / Who’s out?”." American Book Review July-August, 2011

Flesch, William. "The Burning Boy." Bedeutung (2011).

Flesch, William. "Vindication and Vindictiveness." Evolution and Literary Studies: A Reader. Ed. Brian Boyd, Joseph Carroll, and Jonathan Gottschall. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. 360-66.

Flesch, William. "“Satire and subjectivity”." The Blackwell Companion to Romantic Poetry. Ed. Charles Mahoney. Oxford: Blackwell, 2011. 95-106.

Flesch, William, under pseudonym Martin Browning. "The Burning Boy." Bedeutung Magazine (2010).

Flesch, William. "The Bounds of the Incidental: Shakespeare's view of Accuracy." Something Understood. Ed. Nick Halpern and Stephen Burt. Charlottesville: Univesity of Virginia, 2010. 83-104.

Flesch, William. Facts on File Companion to Nineteenth Century British Poetry. 1 ed. New York: Facts on File, 2009.

Flesch, William. Comeuppance: Altruistic Punishment, Costly Signaling and other Biological Components of Fiction. 1st ed. Cambridge: Harvard U.P., 2008.

Flesch,William. "Personal Identity and Vicarious Experience in Shakespeare's Sonnets." Blackwell Companion to Shakespeare's Sonnets. 1st ed. vol. 1 Ed. Michael Schoenbaum. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. 383-401.

Flesch,William. Generosity and the Limits of Authority: Shakespeare. Herbert, 1992.

Courses Taught

ECS/ENG 110a Thinking about Infinity
ENG 11a Close Reading: Theory and Practice
ENG 21a Young Adult Literature
ENG 33a Shakespeare
ENG 61b Philosophical Approaches to Film Theory
ENG 89a English and Creative Writing Internship
ENG 104a Eighteenth-Century British Poetry, from Dryden to Blake
ENG 120a Thirties Movies
ENG 125a Romanticism I: Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge
ENG 133a Advanced Shakespeare
ENG 133b Imagining Money: Literature and Economics from Barter to Bitcoin
ENG 147a Film Noir
ENG 173a Spenser and Milton
ENG 180a The Modern American Short Story
PHIL 182a Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations