Erin Penner

Assistant Professor
MO 300B
(859) 858-3511 ext. 2198


Dr. Erin Penner joined the English Department at Asbury in the fall of 2013 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 of Mourning: Woolf, Faulkner, and the Novel Elegy of the First World War, is under contract with 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.


Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor of American Literature, Asbury University, Wilmore, KY, 2013-

Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellow, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, 2012



Ph.D., English, Cornell University

M.A., English, Cornell University

B.A., English, Yale University, magna cum laude




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



“A Response to Addie Bundren: Marilynne Robinson’s Lila and the Shape of Public Discourse.” Studies in the Novel. Forthcoming.

“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.

“Digital Yoknapatawpha.” University of Virginia Digital Media Lab and the Sciences, Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives. Collaboration headed by Stephen Railton.

“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. 


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

 “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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