Jonathan D. Culler

Class of 1916 Professor Emeritus


Jonathan Culler came to Cornell in 1977 as Professor of English and Comparative Literature and in 1982 succeeded M.H. Abrams in the Class of 1916 Chair.

His Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study of Literature, won MLA’s Lowell Prize and established his reputation as analyst and expositor of critical theory. Now known especially for On Deconstruction: Literature and Theory After Structuralism, and Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (which has been translated into some 27 languages), he published Theory of the Lyric (Harvard University Press) in the spring of 2015.

Professor Culler has been President of the American Comparative Literature Association, Secretary of the American Council of Learned Societies and Chair of the New York Council for the Humanities. At Cornell he has served as chair of the departments of English, Comparative Literature, and Romance Studies, as well as Senior Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and to the American Philosophical Society in 2006.

Research Focus

  • Literary Theory
  • 19th Century French literature
  • English poetry
  • Theory of the lyric

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