Carolyn C. and David M. Ellis '38 Distinguished Teaching Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus (retired)
When forced into an academic self-definition, Rabinowitz describes himself as a narrative theorist with a strong interest in music. In fact, though, beyond his partiality for the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, he prefers to think of himself as a committed non-specialist. He has rarely written on the same author or composer twice, and even the few exceptions (Raymond Chandler, Shostakovich, Dostoevsky) hardly fall into any logical pattern. His interests range broadly, from Proust to hard-boiled fiction, from ragtime to opera, from Chekhov to the nearly forgotten E.D.E.N. Southworth. He is the author of Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and The Politics of Interpretation (1987); co-author (with Michael Smith) of Authorizing Readers: Resistance and Respect in the Teaching of Literature (1998); co-author (with James Phelan, David Herman, Brian Richardson and Robyn Warhol) of Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates (2012); and co-editor (with Phelan) of Understanding Narrative (1994) and A Companion to Narrative Theory (2005). Rabinowitz's academic essays have appeared in a wide variety of books and journals, including PMLA, Critical Inquiry, Black Music Research Journal and 19th-Century Music. Rabinowitz is also co-editor of the Ohio State University Press Series on Theory and Interpretation of Narrative. As a music critic, he writes extensively in non-academic venues as well. He is a contributing editor of Fanfare and was a regular contributor to International Record Review from its first issue to its last.
Recent Courses Taught
Literature and Ethics
Readings in World Literature II
The Comedy of Terrors
- Carolyn C. and David M. Ellis ’38 Distinguished Teaching Professor of Comparative Literature, 2013-present
- Sidney Wertimer Professor of Comparative Literature, 2012-13
- Hamilton College Career Achievement Award, 2010
- Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 1999
- William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Comparative Literature, 1994-97
- Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates [with David Herman, James Phelan, Brian Richardson, and Robyn Warhol] (Ohio State University Press, 2012).
- A Companion to Narrative Theory [co-edited with James Phelan] (Blackwell, 2005). [Chinese edition, translated by Dan Shen, et al: Peking University Press, 2007.]
- Authorizing Readers: Resistance and Respect in the Teaching of Literature [with Michael W. Smith] (Teachers College Press/NCTE, 1998).
- Understanding Narrative [co-edited with James Phelan] (Ohio State University Press, 1994). [Electronic edition, Ohio State University Press, 2008.]
- Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of Interpretation (Cornell University Press, 1987). [Reprinted Ohio State University Press, 1998; electronic edition Ohio State University Press, 2007. Excerpts reprinted in The Great Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends, 2nd ed., edited David H. Richter (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 1998), pp. 998-1013; The Great Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends, 3rd ed., edited David H. Richter (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 2007); Falling into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature, 2nd ed., edited by David H. Richter (Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 1999); Narrative Dynamics: Essays on Time, Plot, Closure, and Frames, edited Brian Richardson (Ohio State University Press, 2002), pp. 300-313.]
Articles and Book Chapters
- “‘Thanks to All and To Each One: Continuing the Conversation” [with Corinne Bancroft], Style 48, No. 1 (spring 2014): 94-111.
- “Euclid at the Core: Recentering Literary Education” [with Corinne Bancroft], Style 48, No. 1 (spring 2014): 1-35.
- “Toward a Narratology of Cognitive Flavor,” in Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies, edited by Lisa Zunshine (Oxford University Press, 2015): 85-103.
- “John Adams’s New Mythology: Doctor Atomic, Narrative Theory, and the Rhetorical Poetics of Music,” Anglistik: International Journal of English Studies, 24, No. 2 (2013): 51-61.
- “Twain, Huck, Jim, and Us: Or, the Ethics of Progression in Huckleberry Finn” [with James Phelan] in Narrative Ethics, edited by Jakob Lothe and Jeremy Hawthorne (Rodopi, 2013).
- Contribution to Narrative Theory and Poetics: Five Questions, edited by Peer Bundgaard, Henrik Skov Nielsen and Frederik Stjernfelt (Automatic/VIP Press, 2012).
- “Cats, Dogs, and Social Minds: Learning from Alan Palmer—and Sixth Graders” [with Corinne Bancroft], Style 45, No. 2 (Summer 2011): 333-338.
- “‘The Absence of Her Voice from That Concord’: The Value of the Implied Author,” Style 45 No. 1 (spring 2011): 99-108.
Appointed to the Faculty1974
Ph.D., The University of Chicago
M.A., The University of Chicago
B.A., The University of Chicago