Facebook pixel tracker

Suzanne Keen

Suzanne Keen
Suzanne Keen

Dean of Faculty and Professor of Literature and Creative Writing

Buttrick Hall

Suzanne Keen works on narrative empathy. Her work draws on novels, narrative theory, neuroscience, developmental and social psychology, and affective science. Since writing Empathy and the Novel (2007), she has expanded on her theory of narrative empathy in articles and chapters treating authorial strategic narrative empathy, readers’ dispositions, empathetic techniques in graphic narratives, and narrative empathy evoked by nonfiction. Her current work investigates narrative personal distress, an aversive response to reading, and empathic inaccuracy. As a critic of the Anglophone novel and teacher, her interests range from the nineteenth century to the contemporary period, including postcolonial fiction. Her most recent book, Thomas Hardy’s Brains: Psychology, Neurology, and Hardy’s Imagination (2014), was short-listed for Phi Beta Kappa’s Christian Gauss Award.

Research Interests

Contemporary British fiction, Victorian novels, postcolonial literature, narrative theory, the novel in English, narrative empathy.

Select Publications

  • “The Recovery of Genre in Postmodern British Fiction: Return of the Romance.” The Cambridge Companion to British Postmodernism. Ed. Bran Nicol. Cambridge UP, forthcoming.
  • “Ancient Characters and Contemporary Readers.” Special issue, “Cognitive Narratology and New Testament Narratives: Investigating Methodology Through Characterization,” ed. Jan Rüggemeier an Elizabeth Shively. Biblical Interpretation (Brill), forthcoming.
  • “Priorities,” an essay about need-blind admission. Hamilton Magazine (Winter 2020): 20.
  • “Twenty-First-Century Fictional Experiments in Emotion and Cognition.” New Approaches to the Twenty-First Century Novel. Ed. Sibylle Baumbach. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. pp. 59-77.
  • “British Psychology in the Nineteenth-Century.” Routledge Companion to Victorian Literature. Ed. Talia Schaffer and Dennis Denisoff, 2019. pp. 377-88
  • “Affect and Empathy Studies.” Oxford Companion to Law and the Humanities. Ed. Simon Stern, Maksymilian Del Mar, and Bernadette Meyler, 2019. pp. 181-97.
  • “Empathic Inaccuracy in Narrative Fiction.” Topoi 39.4 (Sept. 2020): 819-825. Published online 31 Jan. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-018-9622-9.
More... Less...
  • “Novels and Readers.” The Cambridge Companion to the Novel. Ed. Eric Bulson. Cambridge UP, 2018. pp. 138-51.
  • “Probable Impossibilities: Historical Romance Readers Talk Back.” A response to a target essay by James Phelan. Style 52. 1-2 (2018).
  • “Narrative and the Embodied Reader.” The Edinburgh Companion to Narrative Theories. Ed. Zara Dinnen and Robyn Warhol. Edinburgh UP, 2018, pp. 43-55.
  • “Empathy Studies.” A Companion to Literary Theory. Ed David H. Richter. John Wiley & Sons, 2018, pp. 126-38.
  • “Digital Humanities in the Teaching of Narrative.” Teaching Narrative. Teaching the New English series. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. pp. 139-54. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-71829-3_9
  • Contemporary Women's Writing, an Oxford University Press journal, co-editor 2012-18.
  • “Affective Trollope: Marshaling the Feelings in Orley Farm.” Routledge Research Companion to Trollope. Ed. Deborah Denenholz Morse, Margaret Marwick and Mark Turner. Routledge, 2017, pp. 166-76.
  • “Lifewriting and the Empathetic Circle.” Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 42.2 (Sept. 2016): 9-26.
  • “Pivoting towards Empiricism: A Response to Fletcher and Monterosso.” Narrative 24.1 (January 2016): 104-11.
  • Narrative Form: Revised and Expanded Second Edition. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • “Intersectional Narratology in the Study of Narrative Empathy.” Narrative Theory Unbound: Queer and Feminist Interventions. Ed. Robyn Warhol and Susan Lanser. Theory and Interpretation of Narrative Series, Ohio State UP, 2015, pp. 123-46.
  • “Human Rights Discourse and Universals of Cognition and Emotion: Postcolonial Fiction.” The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies. Ed. Lisa Zunshine. Oxford UP, 2015, pp. 347-65.
  • Thomas Hardy’s Brains: Psychology, Neurology, and Hardy’s Imagination. The Theory and Interpretation of Narrative. Ohio State UP, 2014. Shortlisted for Phi Beta Kappa’s Christian Gauss Award for Literary Scholarship or Criticism.
  • Co-authored with Monika Fludernik.”Introduction: Narrative Perspectives and Interior Spaces in Literature prior to 1850.” Style 48.4 (winter 2014). 453-60.
  • “Interior Description and Perspective in Deloney and Bunyan.” Narrative Perspectives and Interior Spaces in Literature prior to 1850. Style 48.4 (winter 2014): 496-512.
  • “Novel Readers and the Empathetic Angel of our Nature.” Rethinking Empathy Through Literature. Ed. Meghan Marie Hammond and Sue J. Kim. Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature. Routledge, 2014, pp. 21-33.
  • “Narrative Empathy.” Handbook of Narratology, 2nd. ed., 2 vol. Ed. Peter Hühn, Jan Christoph Meister, John Pier. Berlin: DeGruyter, 2014. Vol. 2., pp. 521-30.
  • Co-editor with Monika Fludernik, Style special issue, Narrative Perspectives and Interior Spaces in Literature prior to 1850. Style 48.4 (2014).
  • “Empathy in Reading: Considerations of Gender and Ethnicity.” Focus on Reception and Reader Response, Ed. Rüdiger Ahrens and Heinz Antor. Anglistik: International Journal of English Studies 24.2 (2013): 49-65.
  • “Personnage et tempérament: l'empathie narrative et les theories du personage.” Empathie. Ed. Alexandre Gefen. Paris: Éditions Hermann, 2013.
  • “Magical Values in Recent Romances of the Archive,” Literature, Libraries, and Archives. Ed. Sas Mays. Routledge, 2013. 115-29.
  • “'Altruism' Makes a Space for Empathy, 1852.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Web. July 2012.
  • “Narrative Empathy.” The Living Handbook of Narratology. Ed. Peter Hühn, et al. Hamburg: Hamburg UP. Web, 2012.
  • Chapter 45,”The Series Novel: A Dominant Form.” The Cambridge History of the English Novel. Ed. Robert Caserio and Clement C. Hawes. Cambridge UP, 2012, pp. 724-39.
  • “Response to Alan Palmer.” Style 45.2 (Summer 2011): 357-9.
  • “Readers' Temperaments and Fictional Character.” New Literary History 42.2 (Spring 2011): 295-314.
  • “Empathetic Hardy: Bounded, Ambassadorial, and Broadcast Strategies of Narrative Empathy.” Poetics Today 32.2 (Summer 2011): 349-89.
  • “Introduction: Narrative and the Emotions.” Poetics Today 32.1 (Spring 2011): 1-53.
  • “Fast Tracks to Narrative Empathy: Anthropomorphism and Dehumanization in Graphic Narratives.” SubStance #124. 40.1 (2011): 135-55.
  • Guest editor, Narrative and the Emotions (I). Poetics Today 32.1 (Spring 2011).
  • “Narrative Empathy.” Toward a Cognitive Theory of Narrative Acts. Ed. Frederick Aldama. Austin: U of Texas P, 2010, pp. 61-93.
  • “Psychological Approaches to Thomas Hardy.” Ashgate Research Companion to Thomas Hardy. Ed. Rosemarie Morgan. Ashgate, 2010, pp. 285-300.
  • “The Undergraduate Literature Classroom.” Teaching Narrative Theory. Eds. James Phelan, Brian McHale, and David Herman. MLA, 2010, pp. 19-32.
  • “Strategic Empathizing: Techniques of Bounded, Ambassadorial, and Broadcast Narrative Empathy.” Deutsche Vierteljahrs Schrift 82.3 (Sept. 2008): 477-93; in German translation in an edited collection, Empathie und Erzählung. [Empathy and Narrative], ed. Claudia Breger and Fritz Breithaupt. Freiburg/Breisgau: Rombach, 2009.
  • Empathy and the Novel. Oxford UP, 2007. Paperback edition, 2010.
  • Milk Glass Mermaid. Lewis Clark P, 2007.
  • “A Theory of Narrative Empathy.” Narrative (Fall, 2006): 207-36.
  • “The Fantasy Man: The Strange Brilliance of John Crowley.” Commonweal (11 August 2006): 13-16.
  • “The Historical Turn in British Fiction.” Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction. Ed. James English. Blackwell, 2005, pp. 167-87.
  • Victorian Renovations of the Novel: Narrative Annexes and the Boundaries of Representation. Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture 15. Ed. Gillian Beer and Catherine Gallagher. Cambridge UP, 1998. Paperback edition, 2005.
  • Narrative Form. Palgrave, 2003.
  • Romances of the Archive in Contemporary British Fiction. U of Toronto P, 2001. Paperback edition, 2003.
  • “'I cannot eat my words but I do': Food, Body and Word in the Novels of Jeanette Winterson.” Scenes of the Apple: Hunger and Appetite as Metaphor in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Women's Writing. Ed. Tamar Heller and Patricia Moran. SUNY P, 2003, pp. 167-79.
  • “Introduction.” Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd. Signet, 2002, pp. vii-xvi.
  • “Quaker Dress, Sexuality, and the Domestication of Reform in the Victorian Novel.” Victorian Literature and Culture 30.1 (2002): 211-36.
  • “The Risks of Enfranchisement: Reading Hardy's Mixen Lane.” Norton Critical Edition of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge. Ed. Philip Mallett. NY: Norton, 2000.
  • “The Condition of India: Hardyan and Trollopian Realism in Rohinton Mistry and Vikram Seth.” Days to Recollect: Essays in Honour of Robert Schweik. Ed. Rosemarie Morgan. New Haven: The Hardy Association Press, 2000, pp. 31-40.
  • “Peter Ackroyd and Catholic England: At Present, Living in the Past.” Catholic Writers Series. Commonweal (3 Nov. 2000): 14-19.
  • “Catching the Heart Off Guard: the Generous Vision of Seamus Heaney.” Catholic Writers Series. Commonweal (17 May 1996): 10-14.
  • “Ironies and Inversions: The Art of Anthony Burgess.” Commonweal (11 Feb. 1994): 9-12.
  • “Inescapable Responsibility.” Michael S. Harper Special Issue. Callaloo 13.4 (Fall 1990): 815-816.
  • “Narrative Annexes in Charlotte Bronte's Shirley.” Journal of Narrative Technique 20. 2 (Spring 1990): 107-119.

Appointed to the Faculty: 2018

Educational Background

Ph.D., Harvard University
M.A., Harvard University
A.M., Brown University
A.B., Brown University

Back to Top