Julia Prewitt Brown



BA, Barnard College
MA, PhD, Columbia University

Room 544
For CV click here

While the main focus of my teaching and research has been nineteenth century British literature, I am drawn to authors who live on the edges of that century—Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde –and in recent years I’ve developed an interest in film. I’m currently working on a book on the Bildungsroman and its afterlife in film, and have developed a particular interest in the films of John Schlesinger. In addition to standard courses in nineteenth century British literature, I recently developed two courses that continue to engage me: “The Question of the Real in Fiction and Film”, which explores conceptions of the ‘real’ in both highly realistic and fantastical works of fiction (Chekhov, Poe, Tolstoy, Kafka) together with German Expressionist and Italian Neoreal films, and “Home and World,” a course that considers the changing relations between home and world in a wide selection of works including the paintings of Vermeer, major English novelists, films about cosmopolitanism such as Satyajit Ray’s “The Stranger,” and contemporary fiction with global concerns, such as that of Mohsin Hamid. Last but not least, I’m interested in developing a more critical awareness of the state of the academy today—for example, its growing dependence on informational apparatuses, such as the one you are now reading, rather than on intellectual inquiry.

Selected Publications
  • The Bourgeois Interior: How the Middle Class Imagines Itself in Literature and Film (2008)
  • Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art (1997)
  • A Reader’s Guide to the Nineteenth Century English Novel (1985; Japanese translation, 1987),
  • Jane Austen’s Novels: Social Change and Literary Form (1979)
  • “Robinson Crusoe’s ‘Tent Upon the Earth,’” Journal of Architecture (Vol. 13, no. 4, 2008)
  • “The Everyday of Emma,” Approaches to Teaching Austen’s Emma (2004)
  • “Jane Austen: In Search of Time Present, Persuasions (No. 22, 2000)
  • “Public and Private in Persuasion,” Jane Austen’s Business: Her World and Her Profession (1996)
  • “The Social History of Pride and Prejudice,” Pride and Prejudice: Approaches to Teaching Masterpieces of World Literature, (1993)
  • “The Feminist Depreciation of Jane Austen,” Novel (Spring 1990)
Work in Progress
  • A book on the Bildungsroman and its afterlife in film
Honors, Grants, Awards
  • North American Scholar Award, Jane Austen Society
  • Mellon Foundation Grant, Harvard University
  • Humanities Foundation Grant, Boston University
  • Student Legacy Gift Honoree, Boston University
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Barnard College
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