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Indiana University Bloomington

Rae Greiner

Rae Greiner


Associate Professor

Ph.D., English, University of California, Berkeley, 2007
M.A. (1996) and B.S. (1992) in English, Radford University

My broad area of study is the British nineteenth century, where I specialize in the theory and history of the novel. Particular interests include moral philosophy, theories of sympathy and of realism, and narrative theory, but I teach a variety of subjects and approaches. My first book, Sympathetic Realism in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction (Johns Hopkins 2012), considers nineteenth-century fiction in relation to Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments to argue for the development of a literary realism for which sympathetic protocols are necessary for confirming and maintaining social reality. I've recently written on "maggots" in Adam Bede — freakish, occasionally sublime ideas that lodge, intractably, in the mind — for the Blackwell Companion to George Eliot. My book in progress, Stupidity After Enlightenment, is a study of stupidity's value for scientists and artists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I am co-editor of the journal Victorian Studies.

Victorian Studies Program: >>

19th Century Studies Program: >>

Recent Courses

E371 “Monstrosities: Unruly Creatures of Body and Mind”
E303 “States of Injury, Scenes of Distress”
E348 “The Historical Novel, or the Novel in History”
L369: “Party Fouls: Social Forms and Fissures in the Novel”
Graduate Courses: “The Ethics of Realism”; “Narrative and Novel Theory” "Stupidity/Intelligence"

Research Highlights


Sympathetic Realism in Nineteenth-Century British FictionSympathetic Realism in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012)

The Idiocy of Human Life: The Science of Intelligence and the Uses of StupidityStupidity After Enlightenment (in progress)

Bleak House: Pastoral,” Critical Quarterly.55.1 (2013): 75-93.

Adam Bede: History’s Maggots,” The Blackwell Companion to George Eliot, eds. Amanda Anderson and Harry E. Shaw (2013).

“1909: the Introduction of 'Empathy' into English,” Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History (BRANCH), online-only journal (2012).

“Thinking of Me Thinking of You: Sympathy v. Empathy in the Realist Novel,” Victorian Studies 53.3 (2011): 417-26.

“The Art of Knowing Your Own Nothingness,” ELH 77.4 (Winter 2010): 893-914.

“Sympathy Time: Adam Smith, George Eliot, and the Realist Novel,” Narrative 17.3 (2009): 291-311.

Invited Talks, Lectures, and Symposia (excludes conference presentations)

"Stupid Thackeray, or, Barry Lyndon, Harvard Humanities Center, Harvard University (2013)

"Stupid Thackeray, or, Barry Lyndon, Rutgers University (2013)

"Charity, Sympathy, and the Victorians" (Master Class), University of Notre Dame (2013)

"Bleak House: Pastoral," keynote lecture, The Dickens Universe, UC Santa Cruz 2012

"Thinking of Me Thinking of You," Empathy Workshop, the Poynter Center and Institute for Advanced Study, Indiana University 2009

Persuasion's Cases the Forms of Realism,” Nineteenth-Century Forum, University of Michigan 2008

“Temporalities” (symposium), The Dickens Project, UC Santa Cruz 2008

“New Approaches to the Novel” (symposium), UC Berkeley 2007

Grants and Awards (partial list)

College of Arts and Humanities Fellowship, IU 2013
Trustees' Teaching Award, IU 2012
Faculty Spirit Award (nominee), GLBT Student Support Services, IU 2010
The Poynter Center/Institute for Advanced Study Empathy Workshop grant, IU 2009-10
Themester Teaching Grant, IU 2009
Summer Faculty Fellowship, IU 2008, 2014
Center for British Studies Grant, UC Berkeley 2006
Dean's Academic Progress Fellowship, UC Berkeley, 2002-3
Dean's Academic Progress Award, UC Berkeley, 2002
Kurtz Prize, UC Berkeley, 2001