Laura Korobkin

Associate Professor, English, Director of Graduate Admissions; College of Arts & Sciences

Laura Korobkin’s scholarship and teaching focus primarily on 19th century American fiction, with a special interest in women writers, intersections of law and narrative, and reading literature in a transatlantic context. She was a lawyer before becoming an English professor, and much of her scholarship uses a historically informed study of law to analyze literary works. Laura has written about such matters as Hawthorne’s presentation of the Puritan criminal justice system inThe Scarlet Letter, Hurston’s handling of self-defense in Their Eyes Were Watching God, Brown’s use of trial structure, evidence, and concepts of insanity and murder in Wieland, and Stowe’s insertion of the complete text of an important antislavery court decision into Dred. 

Laura’s current project is a book about the creative rivalry between Harriet Beecher Stowe and Charles Dickens, the two best-selling authors in English in the mid-19th century, investigating how each borrowed from and reacted against the other’s work. She currently teaches specialized courses and graduate seminars on such topics as American law and narrative (using both legal and literary texts), American ethnic women writers (from mid-19th C to contemporary), marriage and money in American fiction, and a new course called “Jane Eyre’s American Sisters,” studying novels from 1850 to 1980 that respond to and reinvent the strategies and substance of Bronte’s fiction.