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Emily Steinlight

Associate Professor of English

Fisher-Bennett Hall 116

Office Hours

spring 2023

Tues. 1:15–3:15

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, labor, 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.



News & Events

Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Alex Millen "Novel Aspirations: Social Imperialism and the Remaking of the English Working Class, 1848-1914"


Zach Fruit "The Lie of the Land: Landscape Aesthetics and British Realism"


Riley McGuire "Figures of Speech: The Relational and Generic Forms of Vocal Disability in Nineteenth-Century Culture"


Tim Chandler "Vestures of the Past: The Other Historicisms of Victorian Aesthetics"

Courses Taught

fall 2024

ENGL 1045.001 Romantic Poetry  
ENGL 2050.301 What is Realism?  

spring 2024

ENGL 0310.301 Reading the City  

fall 2023

ENGL 2403.401 Marx’s Century canceled  
ENGL 6000.301 Proseminar  

spring 2023

ENGL 0531.401 Reproductive Fictions  

fall 2022

fall 2021

ENGL 0055.001 Victorian Fiction  

spring 2021

ENGL 560.401 Theories of the Novel  

fall 2020

ENGL 390.401 Reproductive Fictions canceled  

spring 2020

ENGL 753.401 What was Victorian Studies?  

spring 2019

ENGL 571.301 Thinking Work  

fall 2018

ENGL 016.303 Life After Darwin  
ENGL 311.301 English Honors Program  

spring 2018

ENGL 016.303 Life after Darwin canceled  
ENGL 753.401 Realisms  

fall 2017

ENGL 055.001 Victorian Fiction  
ENGL 251.301 Distraction  

spring 2016

ENGL 051.001 Sensing the City  

fall 2015

ENGL 101.002 Dickens and Film  
ENGL 800.301 Pedagogy  

spring 2015

fall 2014

ENGL 390.401 Reproductive Fictions  

spring 2014

ENGL 255.301 Dickens  

fall 2013