Rebecca L. Walkowitz is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department and an affiliate faculty member in the Comparative Literature Program at Rutgers University. She writes and teaches courses about modernism, twentieth-century British and Anglophone fiction, the contemporary novel, translation, world literature, and transnational approaches to literary history. She served as President of the Modernist Studies Association in 2014-2015.
Professor Walkowitz was a faculty member at the Institute for World Literature in 2016 and will be the Hurst Family Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis in 2017. Upcoming keynote lectures include a conference on “Comparative World Literature” at Kenyon College in April 2017; a symposium on comparative European literary histories at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, in June 2017; the Wolfgang Iser Lecture at the University of Konstanz, Germany in July 2017; and a conference on “The Idea of Prose Style” in Sydney, Australia in December 2017.
In 2015, she published Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature. You can read interviews about the book here and here.
Born Translated received Honorable Mention for the first annual Matei Calinescu Prize from the MLA and has been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement, World Literature Today, and Public Books, as well as academic journals. Parts of the book have been translated into Danish and Hungarian. In this study, Walkowitz considers how the idea of world literature, as a network of multilingual editions and audiences, has changed the aesthetic strategies and formal properties of contemporary writing. Born Translated recasts literary history as a series of convergences and divergences and builds a much-needed framework for reading translation’s effects on fictional works.
Her first book, Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation (2006), was awarded Honorable Mention for the Perkins Prize from the International Society for the Study of Narrative.
She is the editor or coeditor of eight books, including, with Eric Hayot, A New Vocabulary for Global Modernism, which was published in 2016. A New Vocabulary shows how the intellectual paradigms we've long associated with modernism are transformed, and how new paradigms emerge, when modernism's archive extends beyond the European center. The book also explores how our methodologies change when we approach modernism comparatively and when we draw out modernism's own engagement with ideas of the world. She has also edited Immigrant Fictions: Contemporary Literature in an Age of Globalization (2007), Bad Modernisms (with Douglas Mao, 2006), and The Turn to Ethics (with Marjorie Garber and Beatrice Hanssen, 2000).
Recent essays include "Reading in a World of Wonderlands" in The Los Angeles Review of Books, "The Persistence of Books" in World Literature Today, "Will the Man Booker International Prize Challenge English's Dominance as a World Language?" for the Columbia University Press blog, "Future Reading" in the ACLA Report on the Discipline, and "Translating the Untranslatable: An Interview with Barbara Cassin" in Public Books.
From 2008-2012, she was an editor of the journal Contemporary Literature. She has served on the advisory board of the American Comparative Literature Association; as Program Chair of the Modernist Studies Association; and as Chair of the MLA Divisions on Prose Fiction and Twentieth-Century English Literature. At Rutgers, Walkowitz directs a research group on Modernism & Globalization.
With Sarah Cole at Columbia, she is co-organizer of the NYNJ Modernism Seminar. Walkowitz is also editor, with Matthew Hart (Columbia University) and David James (Queen Mary, University of London), of Literature Now, a book series published by Columbia University Press. Literature Now is the first series to welcome studies of contemporary literature that are transnational and comparative as well as national and regional in approach.
Professor Walkowitz is the recipient of several major national and university fellowships, including a Marshall Scholarship, a Javits Fellowship, an ACLS Fellowship, the Hurford Family Fellowship at the National Humanties Center, the Walter Jackson Bate Fellowship in World Literature at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and three teaching prizes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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