Bill Brown (critical theory)

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Bill Brown is a professor of English at the University of Chicago. He occupies the named chair previously held by Wayne Booth and has served as the chair of the University's English Language and Literature Department. His work focuses on American literature, with his second book, A Sense of Things, looking at the representation of objects in 19th-century American literature. His interests have since progressed to modernism. He also has a long-standing interest in popular culture, and has written about Toy Story and Westerns, among other facts of American life.

His major theoretical work is on Thing theory, which borrows from Heidegger's object/thing distinction to look the role of objects that have become manifest in a way that sets them apart from the world in which they exist. He edited a special issue of Critical Inquiry on this subject, which won awards for best special issue of an academic journal in 2001. His essay, "The Dark Wood of Postmodernity (Space, Faith, Allegory)," which treats religious themes in the work of Marxian cultural theorist Frederic Jameson and in postmodern culture generally, was awarded the Modern Language Association's William Riley Parker Prize in 2005.[1]

Prof. Brown has a B.A. from Duke University and a Ph.D. from Stanford University's Modern Thought and Literature program.[2][3]

Selected publications[edit]

  • "Object Relations in an Expanded Field," differences (Fall 2006)
  • "Reification, Reanimation, and the American Uncanny," Critical Inquiry (Winter 2005)
  • "The Dark Wood of Postmodernity (Space, Faith, Allegory)," in PMLA (May 2005)
  • "The Matter of Dreiser's Modernity," in The Cambridge Companion to Theodore Dreiser (2004)
  • A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature (University of Chicago Press, 2003)
  • "The Secret Life of Things: Virginia Woolf and the Matter of Modernism," Aesthetic Subjects (Minnesota, 2003)
  • Things, a special issue of Critical Inquiry (Fall 2001)
  • "How To Do Things With Things-A Toy Story," in Critical Inquiry (Summer 1998)
  • Reading the West: An Anthology of Dime Novels (1997)
  • "Global Bodies / Postnationalities: Charles Johnson's Consumer Culture," Representations (Spring 1997)
  • The Material Unconscious: American Amusement, Stephen Crane, and the Economies of Play (1996)
  • "Science Fiction, the World's Fair, and the Presthetics of Empire, 1910-1915," Cultures of U.S. Imperialism (Duke, 1993)
  • "The Meaning of Baseball in 1992 (With Notes on the Post-American," Public Culture (Fall 1991)

External links[edit]


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