Jonathan Farina 222 pic.

 

Jonathan Farina, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English

(973) 761-9388
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Fahy Hall
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Jonathan Farina, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English

Jonathan Farina is Associate Professor of English, Chair of the Faculty Senate, and President of the Northeast Victorian Studies Association (NVSA). He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on nineteenth-century British literature, the novel, and critical theory, as well as the Honors Colloquium on the Early-Modern World.

Farina researches the history of fiction as a genre, as a category of knowledge, and as a repository of everyday epistemic assumptions. His first book, Everyday Words and the Character of Prose in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge University Press 2017), recounts how nineteenth-century writers of all kinds play with a grammar of everyday language that underwrites what counted as knowledge for Victorians, including scientists like Lyell, Darwin, and Tyndall. Analyzing a set of colloquial tics—"a turn," "as if," "but," "something," "particular" and "general"—the book shows how writers appropriated the most common forms of characterization to represent and afford human value and complexity to modern abstractions like the scientific method, the financial market, the social body, and fiction. "Characterization," it shows, was a historically specific mode of description that aimed not to reproduce facts but to deviate from them—and yet still tell the truth.

Farina is writing a second book, tentatively titled Aformalism: Undisciplined Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Britain. This book recasts Victorian literary criticism as a repository of alternative, never institutionalized forms of knowledge production rather than a mere genealogy of "new criticism." To this end, he is working on an article on the role of awkwardness as the constitutive affect of literary criticism and the epistemic object that enabled such criticism to become a discipline.

Farina has presented dozens of papers at MLA, NVSA, NAVSA, NASSR, Dickens Universe, the New York Public Library, The Grad Center at CUNY, Chicago, Columbia, Rutgers, Toronto, Glasgow, and elsewhere.