Jennifer Spitzer

Jennifer Spitzer

Assistant Professor, Department of English
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences
Faculty, Women's and Gender Studies

Specialty:Late 19th and 20th-Century Literature; Transatlantic Modernism; Gender and Sexuality
Phone:(607) 274-7056
Office:305 Muller Center
Ithaca, NY 14850

I write and teach at the intersection of transatlantic modernism, theories of mind, psychoanalysis, modern spiritualism, and gender and sexuality. I have taught at New York University (where I completed my Ph.D. in 2012), The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and more recently at Harvard University, as a Lecturer in History and Literature. 

My research explores the discursive rivalries between modernism and psychoanalysis during the first half of the twentieth century in Britain.  Pursuing an interdisciplinary and expanded historical framework for modernism, my book in process, Secret Sharers, examines psychoanalysis as a crucial context for literary modernism by anchoring modernist arguments about aesthetic autonomy, literary form, literary interpretation, and the role of the critic in specific debates between modernists and psychoanalysts during the early decades of the twentieth century. Rather than use psychoanalysis as an interpretive lens to access modernist texts or argue on behalf of the modernist complexion of psychoanalysis, as previous studies have done, Secret Sharers reanimates the contentious intertextual dialogues between modernists and psychoanalysts with an eye to how such dialogues were crucial to field formation—to modernism as a cultural and intellectual field and to an emergent literary and cultural criticism that grew out of the modernist moment. Focusing on the work of D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry, and W.H. Auden, and key mid-century critics of modernism, such as Susan Sontag and Theodor Adorno, as well as greater and lesser-known psychoanalysts, Secret Sharers reconstructs a cross-disciplinary matrix of modernist creation while tracking current debates in literary studies back to this early twentieth-century moment.   

I have served on the board of Women's and Gender Studies at Ithaca College for four years. Alongside Professor Chris Holmes, I co-organized The Global Modernism Symposium at Ithaca College in 2014, and the Global Modernism speaker series in 2017. I have directed honors theses on Margaret Atwood, Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, and the Spice Girls.


 "'I Find My Mind Meeting Yours': Rebecca West's Telepathic Modernism," Studies in the Novel, 50. 4 (Winter 2018).  

 “On Not Reading Freud: Amateurism, Expertise, and the ‘Pristine Unconscious’ in D.H. Lawrence,” Modernism/modernity, 21.1, (January 2014).   

 “Unveiling the Dance of the Seven Veils: Oscar Wilde and the Power of Myth-Making,” Special Issue on Oscar Wilde’s Salome, Oscholars, (Fall 2012).

 Review of the 2012 Cornell School of Criticism and Theory Program, In Theory, (Fall 2012).


Engendering Modernity: 20th-Century Women Writers (Spring 2014)

Modernism and Its Global Inheritors (co-taught with Professor Chris Holmes, Spring 2014)

Studies in the Novel: Woolf, Forster, Lawrence (Fall 2014)

Banned Books and Censorship Trials: Obscenity in the 20th Century (Fall 2014)

Approaches to Literary Study (Spring 2015)

Twentieth-Century British Novel (Spring 2015)

Modernism and Its Global Inheritors (co-taught with Professor Chris Holmes, (Spring 2017)

Approaches to Literary Study (Spring 2017)

Engendering Modernity: Twentieth-Century Women Writers (Fall 2017)


Ph.D. New York University (2012)

M.A. New York University (2008)

B.A. Wesleyan University, with honors (2002)

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