Department of English

Susan S. Lanser

Susan LanserProfessor Emerita of English; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies; and Comparative Literature
PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Research Interests

Eighteenth-Century Literature, Culture, and History, Narrative Theory and the Novel, The French Revolution, Gender and Sexuality, Israel-Palestine Studies

Selected Publications

BooksThe Sexuality of History book cover

  • "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", coedited with Neil Fraistat. Broadview Press, 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

“Second Sex Economics: Race, Rescue, and the Heroine’s Plot,” ECTI: Eighteenth Century Theory and Interpretation, 61:2 (2020): 227-44.

“ASECS at 50: Interview with Susan S. Lanser.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 53:3 (Spring 2020): 351-58. 

“Marie Antoinette in Maine: Royalty, Revolution, and the Fictions of History,” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 49 (2020): 3-24.

“Narratology at the Checkpoint: The Politics and Poetics of Entanglement,” with Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Narrative 27 (October 2019): 245-69. Honorable Mention for the Phelan Prize for the year’s outstanding essay in Narrative.

“Changing the Ways of the World: Sex, Youth, and Modernity in Benserade’s Iphis et Iante.

In Ovidian Transversions: Iphis and Ianthe 1350-1650, ed. Valerie Traub, Patricia Badir, Peggy McCracken.  Edinburgh:  Edinburgh University Press, 2019, 261-78.

“Aging With Austen,” PMLA 133 (2018): 654-660.

“Queering Narrative Voice,” Textual Practice 32 (2018): 923-37.

1928:  Sapphic Modernity and the Sexuality of History,” In Modernism/Modernity: Journal of the Modernist Studies Association, October 2016.

“Side by Side: Israeli-Palestinian Narratives and the Politics of Form” (with Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan), European Journal of English Studies, 20:3 (2016): 310-325.  

Comparatively Lesbian:  Queer/Feminist Theory and the Sexuality of History.” State of the Discipline of Comparative Literature (2014-2015 Report): Paradigms.

Reprinted (with slight revisions) in:  Futures of Comparative Literature, ed. Ursula Heise, London:  Routledge, forthcoming 2017.

“Bedfellowes in Royaltie”: Early/Modern Sapphic Representations. In The Cambridge Companion to Lesbian Literature, ed. Jodie Medd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, 93-106.

“Toward (a Queerer and) More (Feminist ) Narratology.” In Narrative Theory Unbound: Queer and Feminist Interventions ed. Robyn Warhol and Susan S. Lanser. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2015, 23-42. 

“A Prince for All Seasons, With Notes toward the Delineation of a New Yorker Narratee.” Narrative 22:3 (October 2014): 289-97.

"Sex, Gender, and the Limits of Enlightenment." In "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." In "Living Handbook of Narratology". Ed. Peter Hühn et al. Hamburg University Press, 2013.

"Of Closed Doors and Open Hatches: Heteronormative Plots in Eighteenth-Century (Women's) Studies." In "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." In "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." In "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." In "Romantic Praxis", 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." In "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.


Selected Honors and Awards

  • Wayne C Booth Lifetime Achievement Award, International Society for the Study of Narrative
  • Past President, American Society of 18th Century Studies
  • Past President, International Society for the Study of Narrative 
  • Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar Grant (with Jane Kamensky)
  • Great Teachers Honoree, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
  • Innovative Course Design Award, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (with Jane Kamensky)
  • 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
  • Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1980-82
  • 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)