Jay Clayton (critic)

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Jay Clayton (born July 11, 1951 in Dallas, Texas, as John B. Clayton, IV) is an American literary critic who specializes in contemporary American fiction and Victorian literature. He has written on literature and digital technology, the representation of genetics in fiction and film, and literary theory. He is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.

Academic career[edit]

Clayton attended the Hill School, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania before going to Yale University. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1979. He taught English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison before moving to Vanderbilt University in 1988. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1999. As Chair of the English department at Vanderbilt from 2003 to 2010, he helped recruit renowned professors to the university.[1]

His first book Romantic Vision and the Novel, published by Cambridge University Press in 1987, compared Victorian realist fiction with romantic poetry. His book on multiculturalism in American fiction and theory, Pleasures of Babel: Contemporary American Literature and Theory, published by Oxford University Press in 1993, was selected by Choice as An Outstanding Academic Book for 1995. His most recent volume, Charles Dickens in Cyberspace: The Afterlife of the Nineteenth Century in Postmodern Culture was published by Oxford University Press in 2003. It won the Suzanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship in 2005.[2]


  1. ^ Vanderbilt Rising, Inside Higher Ed (May 22, 2006).
  2. ^ Glasscock Prize Winners The Melbern Glasscock Center for the Humanities.