Emily Steinlight specializes in nineteenth-century British literature, with a focus on the relationship between political thought and literary form, as well as the history and theory of the novel, mass politics, the Victorian natural and social sciences, and critical theory. She received her Ph.D. from Brown University, where she held a Graduate Fellowship at the Cogut Center for the Humanities and the Roland G. D. Richardson Fellowship in the Department of English. Prior to joining the Penn faculty, she taught at Trinity University and, before that, at the University of Chicago, where she was a Harper-Schmidt Fellow and Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities.
She is the author of Populating the Novel: Literary Form and the Politics of Surplus Life (Cornell University Press, 2018), which won the Sonya Rudikoff Prize for best first book in Victorian studies. Her current book project, "Unmanageable Thoughts," examines the interplay of Victorian psychological theory and the social division of labor in order to consider why consciousness emerges as one of the defining problems of the nineteenth century. Steinlight’s essays appear in such journals as ELH, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, and Narrative.