Caroline Levine

7187 (Chair) and 6137 Helen C. White Hall
(608) 263-3765 (Chair) and (608) 262-7835
E-mail Caroline Levine
Victorian literature and culture, formalism, narrative theory, world literature, aesthetics and politics, and public humanities

Degrees and Institutions

PhD, University of London, 1996

AB, Princeton University, 1992

Selected Publications


Some Recent Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Victorian Realism,” for the Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).
  • “The Shock of the Banal: Mad Men’s Progressive Realism,” in Mad World (Duke University Press: forthcoming).
  • “Rhythms, Poetic and Political,” Victorian Poetry (forthcoming, 2011)
  • “Thing, Feeling, Form,” review essay for Novel (forthcoming, 2011)
  • “Infrastructuralism, or the Tempo of Institutions,” in On Periodization: Selected Essays from the English Institute, ed. Virginia Jackson (ACLS Humanities E-Book, 2010)
  • “Narrative Networks: Bleak House and the Affordances of Form,” Novel 42:3 (fall 2009): 517-23.
  • “Reading at the Time,” ELN 46 (spring/summer 2008): 135-46.
  • “Formal Pasts and Formal Possibilities in Victorian Studies,” Literature Compass (May 2007).
  • “Strategic Formalism: Towards a New Method in Cultural Studies,” Victorian Studies 48 (summer 2006): 625-57. Honorable mention for the Donald Gray Prize. 

Works Online


My research and teaching interests include Victorian literature and culture, formalism, narrative theory, world literature, aesthetics and politics, and public humanities. I am currently working on a book called Strategic Formalism: Shape, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network, and I have recently become an editor for The Norton Anthology of World Literature. I write about Victorian novels and poetry, and also about television (The Wire and Mad Men, in particular) and contemporary art. Both my published work and my teaching aim to bridge the gap between historical-political approaches to culture and the more traditional techniques of literary formalism. I am a co-organizer of the Andrew Mellon World Literatures Research Workshop, founder of the Creative Arts and Design Residential Learning Community, and was a co-organizer of the North American Victorian Studies Association conference in Madison in 2012.

Selected Courses

  • Detective Fiction
  • Work and Art in the Nineteenth Century
  • Victorian Liberalism After 9/11
  • Art on Trial: Rebellious Artists, Free Speech, and Democratic Society
  • Nineteenth-Century Literature as World Literature
  • British and Anglophone Literature, 1750-present
  • What Are We Doing Here? Education in Literature and Theory
  • Victorian Poetry
  • The Brontës
  • The Brownings
  • Representing Culture in an Age of Networks: The Wire and Others (faculty development seminar co-taught with Lewis Friedland)

Recent Books

  • Norton Anthology of World Literature (3rd Edition)

    Caroline Levine, Ed.

    W.W. Norton and Co.


    A classic, reimagined.

    Read by millions of students since its first publication, The Norton Anthology of World Literature remains the most-trusted anthology of world literature available.

  • Narrative Middles: Navigating the Nineteenth-Century Novel

    Caroline Levine & Mario Ortiz-Robles, Eds.

    Ohio State University Press


    In this groundbreaking collection of essays, Narrative Middles: Navigating the Nineteenth-Century British Novel, nine literary scholars offer innovative approaches to the study of the underrepresented middle of the vast, bulky nineteenth-century multiplot novel. 

  • Provoking Democracy: Why We Need the Arts

    Caroline Levine



    This ground-breaking book provides a provocative and compelling exploration of the complex relationship between democracy and the arts. It analyses the roles of dissenting and unpopular artists, such as Jackson Pollock, Bertolt Brecht, D. H. Lawrence, and 2 Live Crew in twentieth century society.

  • The Serious Pleasures of Suspense: Victorian Realism and Narrative Doubt

    Caroline Levine

    University of Virginia Press


    The Serious Pleasures of Suspense argues that a startling array of nineteenth-century thinkers—from John Ruskin and Michael Faraday to Charlotte Brontë and Wilkie Collins —saw suspense as the perfect vehicle for a radically new approach to knowledge that they called "realism."

  • From Author to Text: Re-reading George Eliot’s Romola

    Caroline Levine & Mark W. Turner, Eds.

    Ashgate Press


  • The Children of Athena: Athenian Ideas About Citizenship and the Division Between the Sexes, by Nicole Loraux

    Caroline Levine, Trans.

    Princeton University Press


    In these essays, the renowned French Hellenist Nicole Loraux examines the implication of various Greek origin myths as she explores how Athenians in the fifth century forged and maintained a collective identity.