Donal Harris

Donal Harris

Associate Professor

Patterson Hall 449
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Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2013

Academic Summary

Donal Harris specializes in U.S. literature from the Civil War until the present, particularly the relationship between American literature and the many social institutions that have taken part in producing, circulating, and judging it. He is the author of On Company Time: American Modernism and the Big Magazines (Columbia University Press, 2016) and his essays have appeared in PMLA, Modern Language Quarterly, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other venues. His current book project, Reading Like a Realist, asks why contemporary novelists, poets, visual artists, and scholars alike have found the long-repudiated term "realism" to be such a powerful and positive descriptor of their intellectual work, and finds that the aesthetic and methodological debates over realism in the twenty-first century are part of a longer, contested history of proper and improper modes of reading and writing that date to the early twentieth century. He is the recipient of the 2016 Early Career Research Award, presented by the College of Arts & Sciences, and in the Spring 2016 he was a Faculty Fellow at the Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities.

Select Publications


  • On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines (Columbia University Press, 2016), in Modernist Latitudes Series.


  • "Time Inc." American Literature in Transition: the 1930s, ed. Ichiro Takayoshi (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017).
  • "Getting Real: From Popular Modernism to Peripheral Realism." After the Program Era, ed. Loren Glass. (University of Iowa Press, forthcoming 2017).
  • "States of Literature," The Los Angeles Review of Books (September 2016).
  • "The Art of Administration," The Los Angeles Review of Books (February 2016).
  • "Understanding Eliot: Mass Media and Literary Modernism in the American Century." Modern Language Quarterly 76.4 (2015): 491-514.
  • "Novel Protests: The New Left and Black Fiction in the 1960s." Black Writers and the Left, ed. Kristin Moriah (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013).
  • "Jonestown as Genre," The Los Angeles Review of Books (November 2013).
  • "Finding Work: James Agee in the Office." PMLA 127.4 (2012): 766-781.