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

'Modernizing the American Short Story’, in The Cambridge History of American Modernism, ed. Mark Whalan (Cambridge University Press, 2023), pp. 253-67. (Contributor to podcast discussion of the book.)

'Are You Still Living?' (review essay on Don Bouk's Democracy's Data: The Hidden Stories in the US Census), London Review of Books, 19 October 2023

‘I want to be the baby’ (review essay on Donald Barthelme’s Collected Stories), London Review of Books, 18 August 2022

‘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)

'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.

Geranium (Reaktion Books, 2013)

‘ “Response is Good”: Girl with Curious Hair in 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)

'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)

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

Boxing: A Cultural History (Reaktion Books, 2008)