Susan David Bernstein

Title
Professor, English, Gender and Women's Studies, Center for Jewish Studies / Director of Graduate Studies (English)
Office
7195F Helen C. White Hall (Director of Graduate Studies)
Alternate Office
6115 Helen C. White Hall
E-mail
E-mail Susan David Bernstein
Alternate E-mail
dgs@english.wisc.edu
Interests
Victorian literary studies, gender studies, print culture and the history of the book

Degrees and Institutions

PhD, Brandeis University, 1990

Selected Publications

Books

Selected Articles

  • “Reading Room Geographies of Late-Victorian London: The British Museum, London and the People’s Palace, Mile End,” 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 13 (2011), special issue on “Revisiting the Victorian East End,” edited by Emma Francis and Nadia Valman.
  • “Transatlantic Sympathies and Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing, ” The Cambridge History of American Women’s Writing. Ed. Dale M. Bauer.  Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 256-72.
  • “Amy Levy’s Recycling Poetics,” Nineteenth-Century Studies 24 (2010): 101-22.
  • “Sensation and Science.”  The Blackwell Companion to Sensation.  Ed. Pamela Gilbert. Oxford: Blackwell, 2011. 466-80.     
  • “'Mongrel Words’: Amy Levy and Jewish Vulgarity,” Amy Levy: Critical Essays. Eds. Nadia Valman and Naomi Hetherington. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2010. 135-56.
  • “Transparent.” Trans. Special Issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly. 36.3-4 (Fall/Winter 2008). 271-78.
  • “Radical Readers at the British Museum: Eleanor Marx, Clementina Black, Amy Levy.” Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies. 3.2 (Summer 2007).

 

Interests

During the past decade my interests have ranged from Victorian literature and culture, literature and science, gender studies, Jewish studies, “posthuman” studies (animals, things, environment), history of the book and print culture, and, most recently, digital humanities. I am currently finishing a book titled Roomscape: Women Readers at the British Museum from George Eliot to Virginia Woolf about the significance of London’s national library and its reading room as a networking space for women seeking careers as writers and readers; the book also develops a theory of exteriority.   I have embarked on the “Victorian Serialization Experiment” where we are investigating Victorian novels through a digital analysis of data organized by serial installments. The project is designed to visualize seriality, and its relationship to other spatial components of novels including chapters and volumes.  Through this research I am affiliated with the Humanities Research Bridge.  I am book review editor for Nineteenth- Century Gender Studies, and co-organizer of the North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA) Conference, held in Madison in September 2012.

Recent Courses

Seriality

 

 

 

 

Transatlantic Networks

Victorian Things and Theories

Middle Modern London

Nineteenth-Century Literature, Science, and Culture (co-taught with Prof. Lynn Nyhart, Department of the History of Science)

George Eliot

Victorian Marriage Plots

Recent Books

  • Book Cover for

    Roomscape: Women Writers in the British Museum from George Eliot to Virginia Woolf

    Susan David Bernstein

    Edinburgh University Press

    2013

    Susan David Bernstein argues not only that the British Museum Reading Room facilitated various practices of women's literary traditions, she also questions the overdetermined value of privacy and autonomy in constructions of female authorship, a principle generated from Woolf's feminist manifesto. Rather than viewing reading and writing as solitary, individual events, Roomscape considers the meaning of exteriority and the public and social and gendered dimensions of literary production.

  • Book Cover for

    Victorian Vulgarity: Taste in Verbal and Visual Culture

    Susan David Bernstein & Elsie B. Michie, Eds.

    Ashgate

    2009

    Originally describing language use and class position, vulgarity became, over the course of the nineteenth century, a word with wider social implications. Variously associated with behavior, the possession of wealth, different races, sexuality and gender, the objects displayed in homes, and ways of thinking and feeling, vulgarity suggested matters of style, taste, and comportment.

  • Book Cover for

    The Romance of a Shop, by Amy Levy

    Susan David Bernstein, Ed.

    Broadview Press

    2006

    The Romance of a Shop is an early "New Woman" novel about four sisters, who decide to establish their own photography business and their own home in central London after their father's death and their loss of financial security. In this novel, Amy Levy examines both the opportunities and dangers of urban experience for women in the late nineteenth century who pursue independent work rather than follow the established paths of domestic service.

  • Book Cover for

    Reuben Sachs, by Amy Levy

    Susan David Bernstein, Ed.

    Broadview Press

    2006

    Reuben Sachs, the story of an extended Anglo-Jewish family in London, focuses on the relationship between two cousins, Reuben Sachs and Judith Quixano, and the tensions between their Jewish identities and English society. The novel’s complex and sometimes satirical portrait of Anglo-Jewish life, which was in part a reaction to George Eliot’s romanticized view of Victorian Jews in Daniel Deronda, caused controversy on its first publication. 

  • Book Cover for

    Confessional Subjects: Revelations of Gender and Power in Victorian Literature and Culture

    Susan David Bernstein

    University of North Carolina Press

    1997

    Susan Bernstein examines the gendered power relationships embedded in confessional literature of the Victorian period. Exploring this dynamic in Charlotte Bronta's Villette, Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret, George Eliot'sDaniel Deronda, and Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, she argues that although women's disclosures to male confessors repeatedly depict wrongdoing committed against them, they themselves are viewed as the transgressors.