Michael Warner

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For the Canadian football offensive lineman, see Michael Warner (gridiron football)
Michael Warner
Occupation Professor
Known for Literary Criticism and Theory

Michael Warner is a literary critic, social theorist, and Seymour H. Knox Professor of English Literature and American Studies at Yale University. He also writes for Art Forum, The Nation, The Advocate, and The Village Voice. He is the author of Publics and Counterpublics, The Trouble With Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life, The English Literatures of America, 1500-1800, Fear of a Queer Planet, and The Letters of the Republic. He also edited The Portable Walt Whitman and American Sermons: The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Earlier in his career, Warner taught at Northwestern University and then at Rutgers University. He received his Ph.D. in English from Johns Hopkins University in 1985.

Warner, who is gay,[1] is highly influential in the fields of Early American literature, social theory, and queer theory. His first book, The Letters of the Republic: Publication and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America, established him as a leading scholar in Early American literature, print culture, and public sphere theory. He later became a public figure in the gay community for his book The Trouble with Normal, in which Warner contended that queer theory and the ethics of a queer life serve as critiques of existing social and economic structures, not just as critique of heterosexuality and heterosexual society. His most recent work, Publics and Counterpublics is a collection of essays on the politics of communication in advanced capitalistic societies, or Habermasian public sphere theory.

Warner is currently working on the history of secularism in early America, from the early eighteenth century to the Civil War, culminating with the work of Walt Whitman, a writer on whom many of his interests converge.

Warner is, along with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Lauren Berlant, and Judith Butler, considered one of the founders of queer theory.

He lives in New York City; New Haven, Connecticut; and Barton, Vermont.


  • The Portable Walt Whitman, Edited by Michael Warner (New York: Penguin, 2003).
  • Publics and Counterpublics (Cambridge: Zone Books, 2002).
  • The Trouble with Normal (New York: The Free Press, 1999; Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 2000).
  • American Sermons: The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: Library of America, 1999).
  • The English Literatures of America (Routledge, 1997) with Myra Jehlen.
  • Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993).
  • The Letters of the Republic: Publication and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990).


  1. ^ Robinson, Paul A. (2005). Queer Wars: The New Gay Right and Its Critics. University of Chicago Press. p. 93. ISBN 0-226-72200-7. 

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