Brian McHale

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For the American politician, see Brian K. McHale.

Brian G. McHale is an American academic and literary theorist who writes on a range of fiction and poetics, mainly relating to postmodernism and narrative theory. He is currently Distinguished Humanities Professor of English at Ohio State University. His area of expertise is Twentieth-Century British and American Literature.[1]

Background and education[edit]

McHale was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. degree from Brown University in 1974 and his DPhil from Merton College, Oxford in 1979, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.[1]


He has taught at Tel Aviv University and West Virginia University; he was visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Freiburg (Germany), and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). McHale was a visiting professor, from 2009 to 2011, at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. He was for many years associate editor, and later co-editor, of the journal Poetics Today. He is co-founder, with James Phelan and David Herman, of Project Narrative, an initiative based at Ohio State University. He is the past President (2011) of The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present.

He is the author of Postmodernist Fiction (1987), Constructing Postmodernism (1992), and The Obligation toward the Difficult Whole (2004). He is co-editor with Randall Stevenson of The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Literatures in English (2006), and co-edited The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature with Joe Bray and Alison Gibbons (2012) and The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Pynchon with Inger H. Dalsgaard and Luc Herman (2012).

He has written about the cultural resonance of Alice in Wonderland, whom he regards as a symbol of post-modernism, and is a popular speaker on the subject.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Faculty page". Ohio State University. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Ince, Deborah (September 12, 2011). "Speaker shares ‘Alice’ mythology". The Daily Beacon (University of Tennessee). Retrieved 4 August 2013.