Leland Monk


Associate Professor

BA, University of California, Santa Cruz
MA, PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Room 313

For CV click here

I came to the Boston University English department trained in the study of the novel, especially the Victorian and modern British novel.  I’ve taught undergraduate courses in the Brontës, George Eliot, James Joyce, and the Bloomsbury group.  I’ve taught graduate seminars in narrative theory, the historical novel, and Joyce.  My book Standard Deviations: Chance and the Modern British Novel examines the novelistic interest in chance phenomena from George Eliot to James Joyce, demonstrating how British novelists’ paradoxical efforts to include chance events in their meaningful plots gave rise to narrative innovations and contributed to modernist aesthetics.  I’ve also published essays on Jane Austen’s Emma as murder mystery; Walter Scott’s The Heart of Midlothian as Foucauldian prison structure; and the sense of nothingness in E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India.

I have pursued my interest in gender and sexuality studies while at BU, offering a course in gay and lesbian literature (later incorporating film) every three years since the 1990s, so every generation of students has the opportunity to study such material.  I’ve taught graduate courses in queer theory and published an essay on homosexual panic in Henry James.

Currently I mostly teach courses in film, usually in conjunction with literature and always with a literary sensibility.  I’ve taught undergraduate courses in Roman Polanski, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, Max Ophuls, film noir, the horror film, Hollywood genre films, and Shakespeare on film.   I regularly offer a graduate seminar in film theory.  I’ve published essays on Michael Haneke’s two versions of Funny Games; Max Ophuls’ interest in the way people care for each other; and (forthcoming) film adaptations of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula.  I am now working on two film-based projects:  “Hollywood Ending,” about closure in classical American cinema; and “Psycho-Paths,” a study of the cinematic precursors and progeny of Alfred Hitchcock’s game-changing 1960 film.

Selected publications
  • Standard Deviations: Chance and the Modern British Novel (Stanford UP, 1993)
  • “Hollywood Endgames” in The Blackwell Companion to Michael Haneke, ed. Roy Grundmann (Blackwell, 2010)
  • Entry on “John Addington Symonds” in Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia, ed. George E. Haggerty (New York: Garland, 2000)
  • “A Terrible Beauty is Born: Henry James, Aestheticism, and Homosexual Panic” in Bodies of Writing, Bodies in Perfor­mance, ed. Thomas Foster, Carol Siegel, and Ellen E. Berry, Genders 23 (New York UP, 1996)
  • “Apropos of Nothing: Chance and Narrative in Forster’s A Pass­age to India,Studies in the Novel, 26: 4 (Winter, 1994)
  • “The Novel as Prison: Scott’s The Heart of Midlothian,” Novel,  27:3 (Spring, 1994)
  • “Murder She Wrote: the Mystery of Jane Aus­ten’s Emma,” The Journal of Narrative Tech­nique, 20:3 (Fall, 1990)
Work in progress
  • “Hollywood Ending,” a study of closure in commercial American cinema