Prof Kasia Boddy, Fitzwilliam



Biographical Information

I have a MA in English and Philosophy from Edinburgh University and a PhD from Cambridge University where I wrote a thesis on late-twentieth-century American short fiction. Before joining the English Faculty in 2012, I taught at the universities of York and Dundee and, for many years, at University College London.

Research Interests

My research focuses primarily on American literary and cultural history. One strand considers the perpetual back and forth between short and long fictional forms. Having written extensively on short stories, I am now completing a book about the history and idea of the Great American Novel. Building on this, I have also started work on a project about US literature's engagement with the decennial census. Another strand of my research explores the imaginative resources offered by objects and activities such as sport, plants, and razor blades which have become ubiquitous to the point of saturation in modern life, but which for the most part enter only obliquely into literature. I am a member of the Faculty research groups in American Literature, Contemporaries and Plant Life

Areas of Graduate Supervision

Largely US fiction and cultural history, mainly since c.1900.  You can get an idea of my interests from the publication list below.

Selected Publications

‘New Narrative Now’, a special issue of Textual Practice, vol. 35, no. 8 (2021), co-edited with Diarmuid Hester

‘The American Short Story and the Dicennial Census’, Studies in the American Short Story, 2, no. 1 (2021), 1-19.

Blooming Flowers: A Seasonal History of Plants and People (Yale University Press, 2020)

‘Reconstructing the American Novel: The Theory and Practice of John W. De Forest’, Cambridge Quarterly, 49. 4 (2020), 333–356.

‘“Working-Class Black Some Days, Black Working Class Others”: Caryl Phillips’s Friction Points’, Cambridge Quarterly, 48.1 (2019), 1–17.

‘Making It Long: Men, Women, and the Great American Novel Now’, Textual Practice, 2 (2019), 318-337, rep. in After Postmodernism: The New American Fiction, eds. Christopher K. Coffman & ‎Theophilus Savvas (Routledge, 2021)

‘Henryk Sienkiewicz and the Great American Novel’, in Ideas Crossing the Atlantic, ed. Waldemar Zacharasiewicz (Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2019)

‘ “Well, what was it really like?”: George Plimpton, Norman Mailer and the Heavyweights’, in The Cambridge Companion to Boxing, ed. Gerald Early (Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 236-45.

‘American Girl: The Iconographies of Helen Wills’, Historical Social Research, Special Issue on ‘Sports, Bodies and Visual Sources’, 43, no. 2 (2018), 109-28.

'Family’, in American Literature in Transition: 1900-2000, ed. Stephen Burn (Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp.312-28.

‘Rabbit and the news’, in European Perspectives on John Updike, ed. Susan Norton and Larry Mazzeno (Camden House, 2018), pp.181-95.

“The Last Interview” (1997), in Kathy Acker: The Last Interview and Other Conversations, ed. Amy Scholder and Douglas A. Martin (Melville House, 2018), pp. 201-26.

‘ “A Job to Do”: Saunders on, and at, Work’, in George Saunders: Essays, ed. Philip Coleman and Steve Ellerhoff (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), pp.1-22.

‘You Believe the Census, Nick?’: The Great American Novel and ‘the fiction of the census’ in Writing, Machine, Code, ed. Sean Pryor and David Trotter (Open Humanities Press, 2016), pp.52-66  

‘Making History: Life Guardsman Shaw at Waterloo’, Critical Quarterly, 57, no.4 (2015), 1-44

' "No Stropping, No Honing": Modernism's Safety Razors'Affirmations: of the Modern, 2.2. (2015), 1-54.

‘"Fighting Words": Ralph Ellison and Len Zinberg’, American Studies, 54, no.3 (2015), 23-34.

‘Sports at the New Yorker’, in Writing  for The New Yorker, ed. Fiona Green (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), 188-208.

 ‘ “Variety in Unity, Unity in Variety”: The Liminal Space of the American Short Story Anthology’, in Liminality and the Short Story: Boundary Crossings in American, Canadian, and British Writing, eds. Jochem Achilles and Ina Bergmann (Routledge, 2015), 145-56.

‘Weissnix: Lore Segal and Her First American’, in Narratives of Encounters in the North Atlantic Triangle, eds. Waldemar Zacharasiewicz and David Staines (Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2015), 309-323.

Geranium (Reaktion Books, 2013)

‘ “Response is Good”: Girl with Curious Hairin Context’, in A Companion to David Foster Wallace Studies, eds. Stephen J. Burn and Marshall Boswell (2013)

‘Bloomsbury in Bloom’, the UCL Bloomsbury Project (2010) 

Editor, The Short Story, a special issue of Critical Quarterly, 52.2 (July 2010)

Co-editor (with Ali Smith and Sarah Wood), Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off: Lovers’ Quarrels from Anton Chekhov to ZZ Packer (Penguin, 2009)

‘Regular Lolitas?: The Afterlives of an American Adolescent’, in American Fiction of the 1990s, ed. Jay Prosser (2008)

Editor, The New Penguin Book of American Short Stories (2011)

‘ “A staight left against a slogging ruffian”: National boxing styles in the years proceeding the First World War', The Journal of Historical Sociology, 24.4 (2011)

‘ “Under the Queensberry Rules, So to Speak”: Some Versions of a Metaphor', Sport in History, 31.4 (2011)

'Lynne Tillman and the Great American Novel', electronic book review (July 2011); repr. in Post-Digital: Dialogues and Debates from electronic book review, ed. Joseph Tabbi (Bloomsbury, 2020), pp. 181-98.

The American Short Story Since 1950 (Edinburgh University Press, 2010)

'Roth's Great Books: A Reading of The Human Stain', Cambridge Quarterly, 39.1 (March 2010)

 ‘Potting’, in Restless Cities ed. Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart (2010)

Editor of Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Penguin Classics, 2008)

Boxing: A Cultural History (Reaktion Books, 2008)