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William Veeder completed his undergraduate studies at Notre Dame, and then spent two years at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts. Veeder received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1969, and joined the faculty at the University of Chicago that same year.
William Veeder’s critical methodology is primarily rooted in psychoanalysis and gender theory, but he is also a strong advocate of close reading, a critical approach whereby “one gets to content through form”. He is guided by a quote from an art criticism essay written by Henry James, in which James asserted, “In the arts, feeling is always meaning.” Veeder begins his classes with this quote, usually underlining the words “always” and "meaning” and capitalizing the word “always.”
Veeder's publications include:
- Henry James, the Lessons of the Master: Popular Fiction and Personal Style in the Nineteenth Century. U of Chicago P, 1975.
- The Woman Question: Society and Literature in Britain and America, 1837–1883, Volume 1: Defining Voices. Elizabeth K. Helsinger, Robin Lauterbach Sheets, William Veeder. U of Chicago P, 1989, c1983.
- The Woman Question: Society and Literature in Britain and America, 1837–1883, Volume 2: Social Issues. Elizabeth K. Helsinger, Robin Lauterbach Sheets, William Veeder. U of Chicago P, 1989, c1983.
- Mary Shelley & Frankenstein: the Fate of Androgyny. U of Chicago P, 1986.
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: After One Hundred Years. Edited by William Veeder and Gordon Hirsch. U of Chicago P, 1988.
- Art of Criticism. Edited by William Veeder and Susan M. Griffin. U of Chicago P, 1988.
His essays have appeared in:
- The Henry James Review
- New essays on The portrait of a lady. Edited by Joel Porte. Cambridge University Press, 1990.
- Henry James: the shorter fiction, reassessments. Edited by N.H. Reeve. St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
- American gothic: new interventions in a national narrative. Edited by Robert K. Martin & Eric Savoy. University of Iowa Press, c1998.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Edited and introduced by Harold Bloom.
- Gavacs, Jenny (9 March 2005). "A Conversation with William Veeder". Otium. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
- Yoe, Mary Ruth (2007). "What the governess knew: English professor William R. Veeder leads his class through the twists and turns of a gothic tour de force". University of Chicago Magazine. University of Chicago. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
- Rowe 1977, pp. 121-124.
- Janowitz 1989, pp. 938–939.
- Swingle 1988, pp. 140–142.
- Stewart 1988, p. ?
- McCracken-Flesher 1994, pp. 232–235.
- Janowitz, Anne F. (1989). "Rev. of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein by William Veeder". The Modern Language Review. 84 (4).
- McCracken-Flesher, Caroline (1994). "Multiplying Doubles: Rev. of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after One Hundred Years by William Veeder and Gordon Hirsch". Novel: A Forum on Fiction. 24 (2).
- Rowe, John Carlos (1977). "Rev. of Henry James-the Lessons of the Master by William Veeder". Nineteenth-Century Fiction. 32 (1).
- Stewart, D.H. (1988). "Rev. of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after One Hundred Years by William Veeder and Gordon Hirsch". South Central Review. 5 (4).
- Swingle, L.J. (1988). "Rev. of Mary Shelley & Frankenstein". South Atlantic Review. 53 (1).