Jennifer Spitzer

Associate Professor, Literatures in English
Phone: 607-274-7056
Office: Muller Faculty Center 305, Ithaca, NY 14850
Speciality: Late 19th and 20th-Century Literature; Transatlantic Modernism; Gender and Sexuality

I write and teach at the intersection of transatlantic modernism, philosophy of mind, psychoanalysis, modern spiritualism, the medical humanities, and gender and sexuality. Before coming to Ithaca College in 2013, I taught at New York University (where I completed my Ph.D. in 2012) and at Harvard University, as a Lecturer in History and Literature. I am completing a book manuscript entitled Secret Sharers: The Intimate Rivalries of Modernism and Psychoanalysis, (forthcoming from Fordham UP), which illuminates the ways in which the perceived threat of psychoanalysis as an adjacent discipline mediated the aesthetic and discursive concerns of Anglo-American modernism. My project examines psychoanalysis as a crucial context for literary modernism by anchoring modernist arguments about aesthetic autonomy, literary form, literary interpretation, and the role of the critic in debates between modernists and psychoanalysts during the first half of the twentieth century. I am also currently preparing a special issue on the literary "detail" with Shirley Lau Wong (Westfield State) for Modern Language Quarterly. One of our goals for the project is to expand the horizons of the detail, which has been historically linked to nineteenth-century literature and realism. The articles in our special issue investigate the mechanisms of literary detail in colonial ethnography, ethnic American literature, experimental modernist novels, and postcolonial memoir. 

In addition to seminars on modernism and 20th-century literature, I teach the introductory course for the major and courses on banned books, coming-of-age fiction, and women's literature. I have served on the board of Women's and Gender Studies at Ithaca College for six years. Alongside Professor Chris Holmes, I co-organized The Global Modernism Symposium at Ithaca College in 2014, and the Global Modernism speaker series in 2017. I have directed honors theses on Margaret Atwood, Ford Madox Ford and William Faulkner, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, Jean Rhys and Sam Selvon, and Faulkner and Steinbeck. I also directed a summer scholars project on the contemporary legacies of poststructuralism.


"The Heterodox Psychology and Queer Poetics of Auden in the 30s," Journal of Modern Literature, 42.3 (Spring 2019). 

 "'I Find My Mind Meeting Yours': Rebecca West's Telepathic Modernism," Studies in the Novel, 50. 4 (Winter 2018).  

 “On Not Reading Freud: Amateurism, Expertise, and the ‘Pristine Unconscious’ in D.H. Lawrence,” Modernism/modernity, 21.1, (January 2014).   

 “Unveiling the Dance of the Seven Veils: Oscar Wilde and the Power of Myth-Making,” Special Issue on Oscar Wilde’s Salome, Oscholars, (Fall 2012).

"Me and Mrs Dalloway: On Losing My Mother to Covid-19," Los Angeles Review of Books, Avidly (July 2020).

Forthcoming Essays and Chapters:

"Modernism's Small Details," for "The Detail, Revisited," MLQ.

"Rebecca West, Modern Spiritualism, and the Problem of Other Minds", The Edinburgh Companion to Modernism, Spiritualism, and Religion (Eds. Suzanne Hobson and Andrew Radford) 2021.

Courses Offered:

Making It New: British and American Modernism

Banned Books and Censorship Trials

Approaches to Literary Study 

20th and 21st-Century British Novel

Modernism and Its Global Inheritors (co-taught with Professor Chris Holmes)

Engendering Modernity: Twentieth-Century Women Writers 


Ph.D. New York University (2012)

M.A. New York University (2008)

B.A. Wesleyan University (2002), with honors, Phi Beta Kappa