Rita Felski is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English at the University of Virginia, and editor of New Literary History. Felski is a prominent scholar in the fields of aesthetics and literary theory, feminist theory, modernity and postmodernity, and cultural studies. She is the author of Beyond Feminist Aesthetics: Feminist Literature and Social Change (Harvard UP, 1989), The Gender of Modernity (Harvard UP, 1995), Doing Time: Feminist Theory and Postmodern Culture (New York UP, 2000), and Literature After Feminism (Chicago UP, 2003). Her most recent book, the Blackwell’s manifesto Uses of Literature, was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education in December, 2008. She is also the editor of Rethinking Tragedy (Johns Hopkins, 2008). Her work in progress deals with the hermeneutics of suspicion. She has also published articles in numerous essay collections and in such scholarly journals as PMLA, Signs, New Literary History, Modernism/Modernity, Cultural Critique, Theory, Culture and Society, and New Formations.
Felski received an honors degree in French and German literature from Cambridge University and her PhD from the Department of German at Monash University in Australia. Before coming to the University of Virginia in 1994, she taught in the Program for English and Comparative Literature at Murdoch University in Perth. She served as Chair of the Comparative Literature Program at Virginia from 2004 to 2008.
From 2003–2007 Felski served as U.S. editor of Feminist Theory. She has also served on the editorial boards of Modernism/Modernity, Modern Fiction Studies, The International Journal of Cultural Studies, Criticism, and Echo: A Music-Centered Journal. Her work has been translated into Korean, Russian, Polish, Swedish, Hungarian, Italian, Croatian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish.
She has held fellowships at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, the Commonwealth Center for Literary and Cultural Change at the University of Virginia, and the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM) in Vienna, and was the recipient of an Australian Research Council Major Grant. In 2000, she was awarded the William Parker Riley Prize for the best essay in PMLA. In 2010, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
- “After Suspicion,” Profession, 2009.
- “Everyday Aesthetics,” Minnesota review 71, 2009.
- Uses of Literature. Blackwell, 2008.
- Rethinking Tragedy, Editor. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2008.
- Literature After Feminism. Chicago University Press, 2003.
- “Modernist Studies and Cultural Studies,” Modernism/Modernity, 10, 3 (2003)
- Doing Time: Feminist Theory and Postmodern Culture. New York University Press, 2000.
- "Nothing to Declare: Identity, Shame and the Lower Middle Class," PMLA 115:1, 2000.
- "The Invention of Everyday Life," New Formations 39, 1999/2000.
- "The Doxa of Difference," Signs 23:1, 1997.
- The Gender of Modernity. Harvard University Press, 1995.
- Beyond Feminist Aesthetics: Feminist Literature and Social Change. Harvard University Press, 1989.
- "Literary Experience and Literary Studies," The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 20, 2008.
- Rita Felski's Faculty Page at the University of Virginia
- New Literary History Homepage
- A Manifesto of Positive Aesthetics: Review of Uses of Literature
- Understanding Reading: Review of Uses of Literature