Margaret Homans

Margaret Homans's picture
Bird White Housum Professor of English and Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Ph.D., Yale University, 1978
B.A., Yale University, 1974

As I have practiced feminist (and, more recently, queer) literary criticism in fields ranging from Romantic poetry to the contemporary novel, my goal has been to mediate between sometimes polarized views of human identity: is gender the core or essence of any human subject, or is gender mutable and socially and culturally constituted? In my courses and publications on Victorian, modern, and contemporary literature, I have focused on women writers who explore questions of gender, sexuality, power, and identity. My current research is on narratives about adoption, which raises questions about what constitutes the human in the contexts of race, ethnicity, nationality, and class as well as gender and sexuality.

Selected Publications

- Bearing the Word: Language and Female Experience in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986)

- Royal Representations: Queen Victoria and Victorian Culture 1837-1876 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998)

- “ ‘Racial Composition:’ Metaphor and the Body in the Writing of Race,” in Female Subjects in Black and White: Race, Psychoanalysis, Feminism, ed. Elizabeth Abel, Barbara Christian, and Helene Moglen (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997)

- “Amy Lowell’s Keats: Reading Straight, Writing Lesbian,” The Yale Journal of Criticism 14 (2001)

- “Adoption Narratives, Trauma, and Origins,” Narrative 14:1 (Jan. 2006)


Undergraduate: George Eliot and Virginia Woolf; Virginia Woolf; History of Feminist Thought; Feminist and Queer Theory; The European Literary Tradition; Feminist Perspectives on Literature; Victorian Heroines; Gender and Power in Victorian Literature; World War I, Gender, and Literature; Reading and Writing the Modern Essay; Adoption Narratives

Graduate: Victorian Poetry, Feminist Criticism and Theory, George Eliot, Graduate Research Colloquium in Women’s & Gender Studies