Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Eleanor Courtemanche

Director of Graduate Studies, Associate Professor of English and Germanic Languages and Literatures

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PhD (Comparative Literature): Cornell 1998. BA: Yale 1990.

Teaching Interests

Victorian literature and culture; histories of economics, technology, and design; narrative theory; popular culture; urbanism and steampunk.


Grad Courses: "The Industrial Novel and the Rise of Cultural Studies (2006), "Sexuality and Empire in the Fin de Siècle" (2009), "Victorian Socialisms" (2011), "Machine Dreams: Victorian Utopias" (2012), "The Best Recent Criticism of Victorian Novels" (2015), "Victorian Political Radicalism" (2017). Selected Undergrad Courses: "Dickens and the Victorian City," "Pulp Fictions of the 1890s," "Tales of Economic Disaster."

Research Interests

Economic and political approaches to Victorian fiction; history of economic theory in Europe and America; socialism and anarchism; history of urban planning; narrative theory; irony and comedy. Affiliate of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, the Program in Comparative and World Literature, and the Department of German. Blog posts are cross-posted at

Selected Publications


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Book Contributions

  • "Unintended Consequences and the Epistemology of Fraud from Dickens to Hayek." Debt: Ethics, the Environment, and the Economy. Ed. Peter Paik and Merry Wiesner-Hanks. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013. 164-76.
  • "Invisible Hands and Visionary Narrators: Why the Free Market is Like a Novel." Metaphors of Economy. Ed. Nicole Bracker and Stefan Herbrechter. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2005. 69-78.

Journal Articles

  • "Satire and the "Inevitability Effect": The Structure of Utopian Fiction from "Looking Backward" to "Portlandia"." MLQ, Special Issue on "Inevitability" 76.2 (2015): 225-46.
  • "Marx, Heine, and German Cosmopolitanism: The 1844 'Deutsche-Französische Jahrbücher'." Telos 159 (2012): 49-63.
  • "'Naked Truth is the Best Eloquence': Martineau, Dickens, and the Moral Science of Realism." ELH 73.2 (2006): 383-407.
  • "Bread, Roses, and Reason: Or, Can Victorian Cultural Criticism Reform Political Economy?." Nineteenth Century Studies 16 (2002): 115-25.
  • "Kafka and the Mirror of Instrumental Reason." Journal of the Kafka Society of America 19.1-2 (1995): 16-24.

Website Articles

Encyclopedia Entries

  • "Fabian Society." The Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature. Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.


  • "Games that Make Nothing Happen: H. G. Wells and the Collapse of Literature." Rev. of Maps of Utopia: H.G. Wells, Modernity, and the End of Culture, by Simon J. James. Journal of Victorian Culture (2016):
  • Rev. of In the World Interior of Capital: Towards a Philosophical Theory of Globalization, by Peter Sloterdijk. German Studies Review 38.2 (2015): 476-8.
  • "Class as Literary Style." Rev. of The Bourgeois: Between History and Literature, by Franco Moretti. Contrivers' Review (2015): <>.
  • Rev. of Individualism, Decadence, and Globalization: On the Relation of Part to Whole, 1859-1920., by Regenia Gagnier. RaVoN (Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net) (2011):
  • Rev. of Reforming Philosophy: A Victorian Debate on Science and Society., by Laura J. Snyder. Nineteenth Century Contexts 31.1 (2009): 81-83.
  • Rev. of Victorian Writing About Risk: Imagining a Safe England in a Dangerous World., by Elaine Freedgood. Nineteenth Century Literature 56.2 (2001): 265-268.

Works in Progress

  • Book Project: "Fragile Capitalism."