Marianna Torgovnick, Professor of English and Arts of the Moving Image Certificate

Marianna Torgovnick

Marianna Torgovnick writes on the novel and novel theory, film, postcolonialism, modernism, and the twentieth century more generally, and especially on contemporary American culture. Her work is broadly interdisciplinary and has been taught in Art History, Anthropology, and Religion courses as well as English, Literature, and Theory. She has published Closure in the Novel (Princeton, 1981), and The Visual Arts, Pictorialism, and the Novel: James, Lawrence, and Woolf (Princeton, 1985), Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives (Chicago, 1990), and Crossing Ocean Parkway (Chicago, 1994), for which she won an American Book Award, and Primitive Passions: Men, Women, and the Quest for Ecstasy (Knopf, 1997; paperback Chicago, 1998) and The War Complex: World War II in Our Time, about memories and perceptions of the Second War World in the Twenty First Century. She has also written series of articles for general interest publications. Professor Torgovnick currently directs The Duke in New York Arts and Media Program, taught in New York. She returns to teach America Dreams American Movies to a large enrollment each year. For more information, visit her website

Contact Info:
Office Location:  302E Allen Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 684-2110
Email Address:   send me a message
Web Page:

Office Hours:

Fall 2010 - teaching in NY
office hours by appointment

Ph.D.Columbia University1975
M.A.Columbia University1971
B.A.New York University1970

American Literature
Modern to Contemporary
Postcolonial Literature
British Literature
Research Interests: American Literature and Film; Contemporary Novel; Modernist Studies

Marianna Torgovnick writes about 20th and 21st-century arts and culture, with an emphasis on literature and visual forms such as photography, painting, and film. She has published two books on primitivism, including the acclaimed Gone Primitive and projects a third volume in the future. She is also a memoirist and cultural critic, most notably in her award-winning Crossing Ocean Parkway and its sequel (in progress) “Crossing Back: A Modernist Reads the Classics.” Other interests include Contemporary Fiction and contemporary American life.

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Torgovnick, M, Closure in the novel (January, 2017), pp. 1-238, Princeton UP  [abs] [author's comments].
  2. Torgovnick, M, The Novelist's Wife (2015)  [abs].
  3. Torgovnick, M, Review of Elizabeth Deeds Ermarth’s Realism and Consensus in the English Novel, Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography (February, 2014) .
  4. Torgovnick, M, Review of Barbara Tuchman’s Edging Women Out, Modern Philology (February, 2014) .
  5. Torgovnick, M, Review of Robert Viscusi’s Astoria, Italian Americana (February, 2014) .