Erin Penner, Ph.D. – Asbury University
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Associate Professor

Department: English

Office: Morrison 300B

Phone Extension: 2198

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Biographical Information

Dr. Erin Penner joined the English Department at Asbury after a research fellowship at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, and doctoral work at Cornell University.  She specializes in British and American modernism, though other areas of interest include African-American literature, literature of mourning, and literature of the American South. 

Her first book, Character and Mourning: Woolf, Faulkner, and the Novel Elegy of the First World War, was recently published by the University of Virginia Press.  A second project traces African-American literature of mourning, ranging from W. E. B. Du Bois to Toni Morrison.  A third project, begun recently, concerns the long-term effects of trench talk on both soldiers and civilians in England and the United States.  That ought to keep her out of trouble for a while.


  • Ph.D., English, Cornell University
  • M.A., English, Cornell University
  • B.A., English, Yale University, magna cum laude

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of English, Asbury University, Wilmore, KY 2018–
Assistant Professor of English, Asbury University, Wilmore, KY, 2013-2018
Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellow, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, 2012



Character and Mourning: Woolf, Faulkner, and the Novel Elegy of the First World War. University of Virginia Press, 2019. 


“Reading the Portable Faulkner through Digital Yoknapatawpha: Recovering the ‘Problems’ and ‘Difficulties’ of ‘Compson Appendix 1699-1945.’” In Digitizing Faulkner: Yoknapatawpha in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Theresa Towner. University of Virginia Press, 2022. 

“More than Running: Redefining Movement in Go Down, Moses.” In Faulkner and Slavery: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2018. Ed. Jay Watson. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2021. 91-104.

“Modernist Moonlight: Illuminating the Post-War Dread of Flags in the Dust.” Mississippi Quarterly 72.4 (2020): 503-520.

“Grounding ‘Pantaloon in Black’ in Faulkner Country.” Teaching Faulkner 38 (Fall 2020).

“‘Curse This War’: Virginia Woolf and the Politics of Profanity.” Modernism/modernity 26.4 (2019): 849-868.

“A Response to Addie Bundren: Restoring Generosity to the Language of Civil Discourse in Marilynne Robinson’s Lila.” Studies in the Novel 50.2 (Summer 2018): 277-298.

“For Those ‘Who Could Not Bear to Look Directly at the Slaughter’: Morrison’s Home and the Novels of Faulkner and Woolf.” African-American Review 49.4 (Winter 2016): 343-359. 

“Fighting for Black Grief: Exchanging the Civil War for Civil Rights in Go Down, Moses.” Mississippi Quarterly 67.3 (Summer 2014): 403-427. 

“The Order of a Smashed Window-Pane: Novel Elegy in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves.” Twentieth-Century Literature 61.1 (2015): 63-91.

“Speaking of the Dead and the Speaking Dead.” Journal of American Studies 49.1 (2015): E2.

“Making No Apologies for Difficulty: Putting Modernist Form at the Center of Classroom Discussions.” Journal of Modern Literature 37.2 (Winter 2014): 1-19.

“Mapping the Search for Consolation in Mrs. Dalloway.Virginia Woolf Miscellany 83 (2013): 23-25.

“Crowding Clarissa’s Garden.” Virginia Woolf and the Natural World: Selected Papers from the Twentieth International Conference on Virginia Woolf. Ed. Kristin Czarnecki and Carrie Rohman. Clemson, SC: Clemson University Digital Press, 2011. 

Digital Humanities Projects

Senior collaborating editor, Digital Yoknapatawpha. Directed by Stephen Railton. University of Virginia. (2012-)

Book Reviews

Review of Michele Aaron, Death and the Moving Image: Ideology, Iconography and I. Journal of American Studies 49.2 (May 2015): E35.

Review of Michelle Balaev, The Nature of Trauma in American Novels. Modern Fiction Studies 60.4 (Winter 2014): 874-877.

Recent Presentations

“The Digital Topography of Post-War Dread in Flags in the Dust.” Faulkner’s Modernisms: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference (July 2022)

“Meaning that Does Not Travel: Profanity as a Litmus Test for Global Modernism.” Modernist Studies Association (April 2022)

“Watch Your Language: Black Writers and the Power of a Curse.” Asbury University (September 2021)

DY When You Only Know One Faulkner Story.” Faulkner, Welty, Wright: A Mississippi Confluence (July 2021)

“The Sharp Edge of a Jest: Blackness and the Language of the Trenches.” Race in the Space Between, 1914-1945 (June 2021)

“Abandoning the Desire for ‘Wholeness’: Digital Yoknapatawpha and the ‘Compson Appendix.’” Faulkner’s Families: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference (July 2019)

“Reading the War: Haldane’s Narrative Persona and Theories of Time.” Modernist Studies Association (November 2018)

“The Rhetoric of Redeeming Technology: the To-day and To-morrow Series.” Modernist Studies Association (November 2018)

“Turning Back to Predict the Future: Scientific Projections from a Century Ago.” Asbury University (October 2018)

“More than Running: Redefining Movement in Go Down, Moses.” Faulkner and Slavery: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference (July 2018)

“Not Sticks, Stones, or Deeds: the Words of Women’s Suffrage.” Intersections of Resistance in the Space Between, 1914-1945 (June 2018)

“Building a Future on Profanity: Robert Graves’s Lars Porsena: Or the Future of Swearing.” Memory and Prophecy in the Space Between, 1914-1945 (May 2017)

“The Impious and Impolite: The Real Poetry of Profanity.” David Jones: Dialogues with the Past (July 2016)

“The Curse of the War.” Virginia Woolf Conference: Virginia Woolf and Heritage (June 2016)

“Crossing Genres and Genders: The Voice of the Dead in Dickinson and Faulkner.” William Faulkner Society, American Literature Association (May 2015)

“‘Living Literature’ and the ‘Shock (Mild)’ of the Modernist Short Story.” Modernist Studies Association (November 2014)

“Selling Sensationalism, but Inculcating Modernism: Arthur Morrison’s Slum Fiction.” Modernist Studies Association (November 2014)

“‘Why are you making my life difficult?’: Formally Complex Literature and the Classroom.” Asbury University (November 2014)

“Beyond Sorrow Songs: Articulating an African-American Literature of Mourning.” New Perspectives on Violence and Revolution in the African Diaspora, Penn State (April 2014)

“An Unhappy Education: Doubled Bodies and Racial Consciousness in Du Bois and Faulkner.” Faulkner and the Black Literatures of the Americas: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference (July 2013)

“‘The solitude of the seeker for a belief’: Morrison, Faulkner, Woolf.” Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford (November 2012)

“Swearing by Ford.” Ford Madox Ford’s Parades End: Modernism and the First World War (September 2012)

“Song and Silence: Unproductive Mourning in Go Down, Moses.” Fifty Years After Faulkner: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference (July 2012)

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