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Michael Trask
Guy M. Davenport Professor in English

I work at the intersection of social theory and traditional literary criticism.  Although I mainly teach and write on 20th-century American Literature, I also teach courses on 19th-century British literature (Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, the Victorian Triple-Decker).  I earned my Ph.D. in English from Johns Hopkins in 1998 and my B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1990.  My most recent book, Ideal Minds: Raising Consciousness in the Antisocial Seventies (Cornell UP, 2020), considers a variety of post-1970 social and intellectual trends and their literary resonances, including the ethical turn in political theory, animal liberation, deep ecology, and libertarianism.  I am currently working on a book of close readings of 21st-century novelists (Tao Lin, Ben Lerner, Alex Kleeman, Ben Fountain, Sheila Heti, Rachel Cusk, Colson Whitehead). Some day I hope to write a short book on the long novels of Anthony Trollope, refracted through a Kantian prism. 


Contact Information
1263 Patterson Office Tower
Ph.D. The Johns Hopkins University (1998)
B.A. Wesleyan University (1990)
Research Interests
  • Twentieth and Twenty-First Century American Literature and Culture
  • Women's Literature and Gender Studies
  • Literature and Philosophy
  • Animal Studies
  • Ecocriticism
  • English
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Social Theory