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Associate Professor Janet L. Larson (Ph.D.
Northwestern, 1975, English Literature) joined the
Rutgers-Newark faculty in 1978 and served as
Director of Composition for 7 years. Since 2000,
she directed the English Master’s Program, where
she teaches courses in Victorian literature; Gender
and Autobiography, Women’s Literatures at War and Peace, and other subjects for the Women’s and Gender Studies Concentration; Studies in Fiction (history and theory of narrative writing); Introduction to Graduate Literary Study; and The Bible and Its Literary Influences. Besides 19th- and 20th-century British literature, her scholarly interests range from narrative and discourse theory, cultural studies, and feminist theory to American ethnic literature, texts of British imperialism, travel writing, and the ideology and international writing of war.
Dr. Larson currently has two book projects in hand: The Victorian Woman’s Bible: Interpretation and Cultural Discourse in Anglo-American Women’s Letters, which examines junctures of scriptural and social interpretation in English and American women’s writings and places them into histories of ideas, literature, biblical hermeneutics, cultural discourses, and 19th-century movements of reform; and Traveling Spiritualities: Victorian Women’s Religious Encounters Abroad, a biographical and cultural study of trans-cultural releigious experiences and exchanges, and their representation in travelrelated writings by Florence Nightingale (Egypt), Mary Carpenter (India), Mary Kingsley (West Africa), Agnes Smith Lewis (Sinai), and Frances Ellen Colenso (Natal). She is also working on a monograph about Florence Nightingale and essays on the Nightingale-Jowette correspondence, Mary Astell, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Carpenter, and the autobiographical writings of the 19th-century African Methodist Episcopal preacher Jarena Lee.
In addition to her book Dickens and the Broken Scripture, Dr. Larson’s articles and reviews have appeared in Victorian Religious Discourse: New Directions in Criticism (Palgrave, 2004), Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge, 2003), Victorian Sages and Cultural Discourse (Rutgers U P, 1990), Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Victorian Studies, Dickens Quarterly, Dickens Studies Annual, Religion and Literature, Christianity and Literature, Modern Philology, and Modern Drama. An experienced journalist, before coming to Rutgers she worked as an editor and writer with The Christian Century, an ecumenical weekly magazine based in Chicago with an international circulation. One of her 30 pieces for the Century since 1975 (Redeeming the Time and the Land, on Native American land claims controversy) won the Associated Church Press Award for Best Feature on a Social Issue in Religious Journalism.
Dr. Larson has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the University of Utah Humanities Center, the Newberry Library, the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis. She has also received or administered grants from Rutgers Research Council, the R-N Graduate School, the Teaching Excellence Center, the Victoria Foundation, and the N.J. Dept. of Higher Education (a multi-year Major Humanities Grant for the Gender, Race, and Class Project at R-N). She received the Lionel Basney Award for academic journals articles on the Victorian feminist Josephine Butler and is listed in Contemporary Authors, World’s Who’s Who of Women, and the Dictionary of International Biography.