Janine Utell, PhD
- Chair of English
- Professor of English
- Gender & Sexuality
- Arts & Culture
- Communications & Marketing
Programs I Teach
- PhD, British Literature and 20th Century Studies (2003)
I teach our first-year writing courses Reading, Thinking, Writing and Literature and Critical Writing, as well as courses in film, life writing, graphic narrative, and 19th-20th century British fiction. I also lead our Senior Seminar for English majors every few years, with a focus on James Joyce's novel Ulysses. What connects all of these is an interest in narrative, how it works, and the importance of storytelling in modern life across media and genres. I am also committed to ensuring that the humanities and liberal arts play an essential role in undergraduate education and in our society. In addition to teaching and writing, I am the editor of the journal, The Space Between: Literature and Culture 1890–1945, and I blog for Inside Higher Ed.
I try in each of my courses and in all of my interactions with students to foster a love of literature and the humanities and to model both the rigor and the excitement available to those who ask big questions confronting us as human beings and as citizens. I ask not only what a story means, but what it means for us as people, as thinkers, as friends, as workers, and as members of our society. I want my students to feel nurtured by a professor who cares about their well-being, challenged by a professor who insists they ask hard questions, made a little uncomfortable by a professor who refuses to give the "right" answer, and excited by a professor who is always looking for something new. And I want to be that professor who is made to feel the same way by her students and who works to create opportunities for all of these things to happen in every course she teaches.
My research interests include narrative theory, literature and philosophy (especially ethics), gender, modernism, and the intersections thereof. My specific projects concentrate on the representation of intimate life in narrative; I am working on two books, one analyzing the use of narrative technique in fiction, nonfiction, and film about couplehood, and the other an introduction to the study of narrative, forthcoming from Routledge.
- Utell, Janine. "The View from the Sickroom: Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Wordsworth, and Writing Women's Lives of Illness." Life Writing (2014): 1–19. Web.
- Utell, Janine. "Game Changing: Moneyball, Adaptation, and the Inspirational Sports Movie." Aethlon (2013): 1–20. Web.
- Utell, Janine. James Joyce and the Revolt of Love: Marriage, Adultery, Desire. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Print.
Professional Affiliations & Memberships
Modernist Studies Association (MSA), International Society for Study of Narrative (ISSN), The Space Between
- Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, Lindback Foundation/Widener University (2014)
- College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Widener University (2014)
- Miller Award for Best Article Published in the CEA Critic, College English Association (2013)
Janine Utell, professor and chair of English, recently wrote a book "Literary Couples and 20th-Century Life Writing," which was published by Bloomsbury. Exposing how modernist and late-modernist writers tell the stories of their intimate relationships though life writing, the book engages with the process by which these authors become subjects to a significant other, a change that subsequently becomes narrative within their works. Looking specifically at partners in a couple, Utell focuses on such literary pairings as Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland, Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, and Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.