Jonathan Farina teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on nineteenth-century British literature, the novel, and critical theory, as well as the Honors Colloquia on the Ancient and Early-Modern Worlds. The author of more than 20 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and 25 scholarly book reviews and omnibus review essays, he writes about the history of fiction as a form of knowledge. His first book, Everyday Words and the Character of Prose in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge University Press 2017; paperback 2019), earned Honorable Mention for the Sonya Rudikoff Prize for the Best First Book in Victorian Studies. It describes a repertoire of everyday language that underwrites what counted as knowledge for British writers of all kinds, including novelists and scientists. “Characterization,” it shows, was a historically specific mode of description that represented things other than fictional people and that aimed not to reproduce facts but to deviate from them—and yet still tell the truth.
A second book is well underway: Aformalism: Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism and the Dispositions of Modern Knowledge recasts Victorian literary criticism as a rich repository of alternative, never-institutionalized forms of knowledge production rather than a mere genealogy of new criticism or other contemporary modes of interpretation. This project includes chapters on “awkwardness” as the constitutive affect of literary criticism; the problems with recognizing the “obvious” as knowledge; the Victorian stylistic conventions of “theory”; and the representation of "cool" reading as “knowledge work.”
Jonathan has delivered invited talks at Princeton, Columbia, Toronto, Rutgers, the Grad Center at CUNY, the New York Public Library, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and elsewhere. And he has presented dozens of conference papers throughout North America and the UK.
A recipient of the Albert B. Hakim Faculty Service Medal, Jonathan’s service includes two consecutive two-year terms as president of the Northeast Victorian Studies Association, three years on the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association, and three consecutive years as Chair of the Faculty Senate. He presently serves as co-chair of the University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
- Ph.D., New York University
- M.A., New York University
- B.S., Boston College
- Everyday Words and the Character of Prose in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Daniel Tyler in Victorian Studies
- Matthew Sussman in Modern Philology
- Barbara Black in Review-19
- Camilla Cassidy in TLS
- Anna E. Clark, Tara K. Menon, and Daniel Wright in V21 Collations
- Stefan Waldschmidt in NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction
- Michael Hollington in Dickens Quarterly
- Michael Wiley in The Wordsworth Circle
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- “Stock Exchanges. On Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray,” in My Victorian Novel: Critical Essays in the Personal Voice, ed. Annette R. Federico (University of Missouri Press 2020), 155-74.
- "Character," Victorian Literature and Culture 46.3/4 (Fall/Winter 2018): 609-12
- "As a Matter of Course': Trollope's Ordinary Realism" in The Routledge Research Companion to Anthony Trollope, eds. Margaret Markwick, Deborah Morse, and Mark Turner. New York: Routledge, 2016. 142-53
- "On the Genealogy of 'Deportment': Being 'Present' in Bleak House," Special Issue on the V21 Symposium. boundary 2 online, October 4, 2016.
- "Literary Histories of Natural Historical Books," Victorian Literature and Culture 44.2 (June 2016): 411-21
- "Allusive Tactics: R. H. Horne, Induction, and 'Desultory Criticism," Nineteenth-Century Prose 43.1-2 (Spring 2016): 115-34
- "Mad Libs and Stupid Critics." Dickens Studies Annual: Essays on Victorian Fiction, 46 (1), 325-338, August 2015.
- "Whoever Explains a "But": Tact and Friction in Trollope's Reparative Fiction." Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature, no. 128, 139-61, September 2015.
- "Literary Criticism." Blackwell Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature, eds. Dino Franco Felluga, Pamela K. Gilbert, and Linda K. Hughes. Wiley-Blackwell, July 2015.
- "The Excursion and the Surfaces of Things." The Wordsworth Circle 45.2, Special Issue on the Bicentennial of The Excursion guest-edited by Tom Duggett and Jacob Risinger, 99-105, April 2014.
- "David Masson's British Novelists and their Styles (1859) and the Establishment of Novels as an Object of Academic Study." BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net, June 2012.
- "Dickens's 'As If': Analogy and Victorian Virtual Reality." Victorian Studies 53.3, 427-36, February 2011.
- "'A Certain Shadow': Personified Abstractions and the Form of Household Words." Victorian Periodicals Review, 42(4), 392- 415, December 2010.
- "Flash Reading: Tom and Jerry and the Last Subordinations of Plot to Character." The Wordsworth Circle, 41(2), May 2010.
- "The New Science of Literary Mensuration: Accounting for Readers, Then and Now." Victorians Institute Journal Digital Annex 38, n.p., January 2010.
- "Middlemarch and 'That Sort of Thing.'" RaVoN: Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net 53, February 2009.
- "Dickens, Besides the Point: Chesterton, Obviousness, Knowledge," The Chesterton Review 46.3/4 (Fall/Winter 2020): 369-80.
- Scholarly reviews and review essays of dozens of books published and forthcoming in European Romantic Review, Journal of British Studies, Modern Philology, New Rambler Review, Nineteenth-Century Prose, Notes & Queries, Review-19 (NBOL), Victorian Review, Victorian Literature and Culture, Victorian Studies, and The Wordsworth Circle.
- Associate Fellow, 2010-11, Seminar "The Ordinary and the Everyday," Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University
Elected Positions and Appointments
- President, Northeast Victorian Studies Association (NVSA), 2018-
- Delegate Assembly, Modern Language Association (LLC Victorian and Early 20th-Century English), 2018-
- Trustee, The Dickens Society, 2018-
- Chair of the Faculty Senate (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021)
- Honorable Mention, Sonya Rudikoff Prize for the Best First Book in Victorian Studies (2017)