Leonard Cassuto


Lots of writers say that writers’ lives are boring, and they’re right.

I got my BA from Columbia University and my PhD from Harvard, and I’ve been teaching at Fordham University since 1989, with the exception of half a year in Tanzania as a Fulbright lecturer. I live in New Jersey with my family, travel when I can, take notes when I do, and try to recognize good stories when they happen around me (or to me). But mostly I teach undergraduate and graduate students, and I write about books, ideas, and whatever else comes to mind.

I’ve written a lot of scholarly articles besides the ones that are collected elsewhere on this site under Other Writing. Here’s a partial list of my “Other Other Writing” for mostly academic audiences.


The Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We Can Fix It
(Harvard University Press, 2015).

Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Fiction
(Columbia University Press, October 2008).

The Inhuman Race: The Racial Grotesque in American Literature and Culture
(Columbia University Press, 1997).

Forthcoming book:

The New Ph.D. (with Robert Weisbuch). Under contract at Johns Hopkins University Press. Expected Publication date 2019.

Edited Volumes:

The Cambridge Companion to Baseball
(Co-edited with Stephen Partridge. Cambridge University Press, February 2011).

The Cambridge History of The American Novel
(Collection co-edited with Clare Virginia Eby and Benjamin Reiss. Forthcoming from Cambridge University Press, April 2011).

The Cambridge Companion to Theodore Dreiser
(Collection co-edited with Clare Virginia Eby. Cambridge University Press, 2004).

Edgar Allan Poe: Literary Theory and Criticism
(Selected, edited, annotated, and introduced edition; Dover Books, 1999).

Rereading Jack London
(Collection coedited with Jeanne Campbell Reesman; Stanford University Press, 1996).

Edited Journal:

Guest Editor, Pedagogy: Cluster on Graduate Education in English Studies 15.1 (Winter 2015), 13-172.

Edited ebook:

Surviving you Graduate Adviser (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2012)


Co-author (with Robert Weisbuch), "Reforming Doctoral Education, 1990 - 2015: Recent Initiatives and Future Prospects," a report prepared for the Mellon Foundation, January, 2016.

Contributer to the MLA Task Force Report on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion(2007). Our report was printed in PMLA Profession 2007 (9-72) and is available online here

Selected Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

"The Urban Gothic." The Cambridge Companion to the American Gothic, ed. Jeffrey Weinstock (Cambridge University Press, 2017), 156-168.

"Jack London, Suffering, and the Ideal of Masculine Toughness." The Oxford Handbook of Jack London, ed.James Williams (Oxford University Press, 2017), 549-561.

"University Service: The History of an Idea," in MLA Profession, November, 2016.

"My Lucky Life and Hard Times," in The Mentoring Continuum from Graduate School through Tenure, ed. Glenn Wright (Syracuse: The Graduate School Press, 2015), 249-259.

"The Family Plan: A Dialogue about Graduate Students, Babies, and the Unique Demands of the Adviser-Student Relation" (with Jane Van Slembrouck), in The Mentoring Continuum from Graduate School through Tenure, ed. Glenn Wright

"Freak," in Keywords for Disability Studies, ed. Rachel Adams, Benjamin Reiss, and David Serlin (NYU Press, 2015), 85-88.

"The Ph.D Dissertation: In Search of a Usable Future" (with Paul Jay), Pedagogy 15.1 (January, 2015), 81-92.

"The American Bestseller." The Oxford History of the Novel, vol.6, ed. Priscilla Wald and Michael A. Elliot (Oxford University Press, 2014), 319 - 335.

"Raymond Chandler." The Cambridge Companion to American Novelists, ed. Timothy Parrish (Cambridge University Press, 2013), 168-178.

"The Novel of Crime, Mystery, and Detection." The Blackwell Companion to the American Novel, ed. Alfred Bendixen (Blackwell, 2012), 291-308).

"A Father's Law, 1950s Masculinity, and Richard Wright's Agony Over Integration." Alice Mikal Craven and William Dow, eds., Richard Wright: New Readings in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 39-54.

"Babe Ruth, Sabermetrics, and Baseball's Politics of Greatness" (coauthored with mathematician David Grant). The Cambridge Companion to Baseball, ed. Leonard Cassuto and Stephen Partridge (Cambridge University Press, 2011), 33-44.

Interchapters: "Babe Ruth," "Walter O'Malley," "Pete Rose," and "Roberto Clemente & Ichiro." The Cambridge Companion to Baseball, ed. Leonard Cassuto and Stephen Partridge (Cambridge University Press, 2011), 45-48; 107-110; 168-170; 197-200.

Poe the Crime Writer: Historicizing 'Murders In the Rue'." Approaches to Teaching Poe's Prose and Poetry, ed. Tony Magistrale and Jeffrey A Weinstock (MLA Press, 2009), 33-38.

“The Real-Life Myth of the American Family,” American Literary History, 2008.

“The Silhouette and the Secret Self: Theorizing Biography In Our Times” (omnibus review essay) American Quarterly, 58 (4), December 2006, 1249-1261.

“Poe’s Force of Disorder: The Grotesque in Cultural Context,” Masques, Mysteries, and Mastodons: A Poe Miscellany, ed. Benjamin F. Fisher (Baltimore: The Edgar Allan Poe Society, Inc., 2006), 45-62.

“The Case of the Elusive Case,” Turnrow literary review 5.1 (Winter 2005-Spring 2006), 15-29. Available online at

“Sister Carrie,” American History through Literature, 1870-1920, ed. Tom Quirk and Gary Scharnhorst (Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006), 1046-1051.

“The Maltese Falcon and the Hard-Boiled Sentimental,” Clues 23.2 (special 75th anniversary issue on The Maltese Falcon), 2005, 33-49.

“Dreiser and Crime,” The Cambridge Companion to Theodore Dreiser, ed. Leonard Cassuto and Clare Virginia Eby (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 196-213.

“The Cultural Work of Serial Killers,” The Minnesota Review, Nos. 58-60, fall 2003, 219-229.

“Language and Knowing,” Across the Disciplines (Special issue of refereed online journal: Classrooms After the Events of September 11th); winter, 2003.

“Oliver Sacks and the Medical Case Narrative,” in Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities, ed. Sharon L. Snyder, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (MLA Press, 2002), 118-130.

“Oliver Sacks: The P.T. Barnum of the Postmodern World?” American Quarterly 52 (2), June, 2000, 76-83.

“Repulsive Attractions: ‘The Raft,’ the Vagina Dentata, and the Slasher Formula,” in Imagining the Worst: Stephen King and the Representation of Women, ed. Kathleen M. Lant and Theresa Thompson (Greenwood Press, 1998), 61-78.

“Who Is Burying the Dead White Guys?” The Boston Globe, 3/23/97, E7.

“The Covert Psychoanalysis of Native Son,” in Approaches to Teaching Wright’s Native Son, ed. James Miller (MLA Press, 1997), 89-94.

“Frederick Douglass and the Work of Freedom: Hegel’s Master-Slave Dialectic in the Fugitive Slave Narrative,” Prospects (annual; 1996), 229-259.

“‘What an object he would have made of me!’: Tattooing and the Racial Freak in Melville’s Typee,” in Freakery: Cultural Displays of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York University Press, 1996), 234-247.

“Chasing the Lost Signifier Down ‘The Sun-Dog Trail’,” The Jack London Journal (annual; 1995), 64-72.

“Dreiser’s Ideal of Balance,” in Jennie Gerhardt: New Essays on the Restored Text, ed. James L.W. West III (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995), 51-62.

“Lacanian Equivocation in Sister Carrie, The “Genius”, and An American Tragedy,” in Theodore Dreiser: Beyond Naturalism, ed. Miriam Gogol (New York University Press, 1995), 112-133.

“Jack London’s Class-Based Grotesque,” in Modern Images of the Grotesque, ed. Michael Meyer (Rodopi, 1995), 113-128.

“The Seduction of American Religious Discourse in Foster’s The Coquette,” in Reform and Counterreform: The Dialectics of the Word in Western Christianity Since Luther, ed. John C. Hawley (Mouton de Gruyter, 1994), 105-118.

“‘Keeping Company’ With the Old Folks: Unravelling the Edges of McTeague’s Deterministic Fabric,” American Literary Realism 25 (2), Winter 1993, 46-55.

“‘[Un]Consciousness Itself Is the Malady’: Edgar Huntly and the Discourse of the Other,” Modern Language Studies 23 (4), Fall 1993, 118-130.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger Meets John Calvin,” The Fourth R, 1992 (2), 12-14.
Review essay: “From the 1890s to the 1990s: Sister Carrie on the Modern Stage,” Dreiser Studies 1991 (2), 26-32.

“The Coy Reaper: Unmasque-ing the Red Death,” Studies in Short Fiction, 1988 (3), 317-321.

Forthcoming articles and book chapters:

"We Gotta Get Out of this Place. Literary Criticism in the Academic Workplace." Forthcoming as part of a special forum in American Literary History 31.2 2019.

"Managing the Adviser-Student Relationship" (with James Van Wyck). Forthcoming in The New Normal: Navigating the Twenty-First Century Ph.D., ed. LeeAnn Horinko, Jordan Reed, and James Van Wyck (Rutgers University Press, 2020).

“Frank Cowperwood: Dreiser’s Manchild of Desire,” forthcoming in The Genders of Naturalism, ed. Andrew Furer (under contract to Duke University Press).

Encyclopedias and Guides:

American National Biography (Oxford University Press online project); entry on Jim Thompson; posted April, 2003:

The Encyclopedia of Literature and Science, ed. Pamela S. Gossin (Greenwood Press, 2002). [Four signed entries.]

The Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing in English, ed. Lorna Sage (Cambridge University Press, 1999). [Twelve signed entries.]

The Real Guide to Graduate School (Lingua Franca, 1997). [English chapter.]

All contents © 2008-2018 Leonard Cassuto. All rights reserved.