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Wendy Steiner

Richard L. Fisher Professor of English

Wendy Steiner is the Richard L. Fisher Professor of English.

Trained at McGill (B.A.) and Yale (Ph.D.), Dr. Steiner teaches 20-21st-century literature and critical theory, and specializes in interrelations between visual and verbal art. Among her many books are The Scandal of Pleasure: Art in an Age of Fundamentalism (among the "NY Times 100 Best Books of 1996"), Venus in Exile: The Rejection of Beauty in 20th-Century Art (2001), and The Real Real Thing: The Model in the Mirror of Art (2010). Dr. Steiner has received awards from the Guggenheim and Mellon Foundations among others, and her cultural reviews have appeared widely in U. S. and British periodicals, including the New York Times and the London Review of Books.  At Penn, she has served as Chair of the English Department, Founding Director of the Penn Humanities Forum, Master of Modern Languages College House, and director of the King's College Program in London.  She also writes opera librettos, one of which, The Loathly Lady, had its premiere at Irvine Auditorium in 2009.


Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Rafael Walker "Realism after Liberalism: Women, Desire, and the Modern American Novel"


John P. Heon "The Dionysia of Science: Humor, Rational Madness, and Comic Experimental Methods in the Works of Bruce Nauman and Thomas Pynchon"


Jeannine DeLombard ""Eye-witness to the Cruelty": Literary Abolitionism and the Antebellum Culture of Testimony"


Cynthia Fuchs "Gazing: Gender, Performance, and Representation in Film"


Laura Tanner "Speaking in Forms: The Discourse of Violence in 20th Century Fiction"


David Heddendorf "William James and the Rhetoric of Popular Philosophy"
Thomas E. Yingling "Hart Crane and the Homosexual Text"

Courses Taught

spring 2012

fall 2011

ENGL 104.401 The 20th Century  
ENGL 295.301 Adaptation  

spring 2010

fall 2009

ENGL 591.401 The Model  

spring 2009

fall 2008

fall 2007

ENGL 571.401 Literary Theory  

spring 2007

ENGL 261.301 Controversies in the Arts  

fall 2006

spring 2006

fall 2005

ENGL 016.301 Topics in Literature  

spring 2005

fall 2004

spring 2004

fall 2002

spring 1998

fall 1996

ENGL 201.306 Major British Writers  

spring 1996

ENGL 104.001 The Twentieth Century  

spring 1995

fall 1994

ENGL 104.001 The Twentieth Century  

fall 1979

ENGL 010.001 Great Novels  
ENGL 084.001 American Writers from 1900