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Paul R. Petrie, Ph.D.


 Professor of English

American Literature

Office: Engleman Hall D251
Phone: 203.392.6757 (preferred mode of contact)



Ph.D., English, University of Connecticut, 1997
M.A., English, University of Connecticut, 1990
B.A., Literature & Writing, Eastern College, St. Davids, Pennsylvania, 1986

About Professor Petrie

I teach American literature and first-year composition at SCSU, where I have been a full-time member of the faculty since 1998 and where I serve as the Assistant Chair for the English Department, as well. My main interests and expertise are in nineteenth and twentieth century writers, with special focus on Realism, Naturalism, and Modernism. Much of my research has been devoted to the turn-of-the-century novelist-poet-critic W.D. Howells; I have published work, too, on authors including Charles W. Chesnutt, Sarah Orne Jewett, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edith Wharton, and Willa Cather. 

Recent Courses Taught

ENG 586 - Seminar in American Literature: American Literary Realism & Naturalism
ENG 568 - American Novel 1900-1945
ENG 567 - Howells, James, & Twain
ENG 565 - Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, & Dickinson
ENG 566 - 20th Century American Poets
ENG 517 - Research Methods
ENG 366 - American Poetry
ENG 362 - American Literary Realism & Naturalism
ENG 361 - American Renaissance
ENG 360 - Early American Writers
ENG 323 - American Literature through History
ENG 317 - Cross-Cultural Literature & Contexts
ENG 218 - The American Experience & Literature: Money, Work, & Social Class
ENG 217 - Introduction to Literature: The Political Imagination
ENG 110 - Fundamentals of Academic Writing

Selected Publications and Presentations

Editor, An Imperative Duty (novel, 1891) by W.D. Howells. Broadview Press, 2010.

“‘Fantastic Effigy’: The Masculine Construction of Womanhood in Edith Wharton’s ‘The Other Two.’” Philological Review 35 (2009): 13-39.

“Racial Duties:  Toward a Pragmatist Ethic of Race in W.D. Howells’ An Imperative Duty.”  Nineteenth-Century Literature 63 (2008): 223-254.

Conscience and Purpose:  Fiction and Social Consciousness in Howells, Jewett, Chesnutt, and Cather.  University of Alabama Press, Studies in American Literary Realism and Naturalism series, 2005.