Brown University, BA
Duke University, PhD

Adam Frank’s research and teaching areas include nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature and media, histories and theories of affect and feeling, and science and technology studies. His essays have appeared in ELHCriticismCritical Inquiry, Science in Context, and elsewhere. The author of Transferential Poetics, from Poe to Warhol (Fordham University Press, 2015) and co-editor, with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, of Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader (Duke University Press, 1995), he has also produced several recorded audiodramas in collaboration with composers locally, nationally, and internationally, and is producing a chamber opera called Six.Twenty.Outrageous in New York City in February 2018. He will be spending a sabbatical year (September 2018-June 2019) at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study.

  • nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature
  • affect theory
  • science and technology studies
  • media studies
  • modernist theater

Selected Publications


Book Chapters or Journal Articles:

  • “Sounding Out Stein’s Plays: Exercises in Group Analysis.” In Logan Esdale and Deborah Mix, eds., Approaches to Teaching the Works of Gertrude Stein. MLA, 2018.
  • “Reading Literature and Science after Tomkins and Klein.” In Steven Meyer, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Science. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • “Feeling.” In Caroline Jones, David Mather, Rebecca Uchill, eds., Experience: Cognition, Culture, and the Common Sense. MIT Press, 2016.
  • “Radio Free Stein: Rendering Queen and Country.” In Janet Boyd and Sharon Kirsch, eds., Primary Stein: Returning to the Writing of Gertrude Stein. Lexington Books, 2014.
  • “Introducing Radio Free Stein” and “Scenario for Gertrude Stein’s ‘For the Country Entirely: A Play in Letters’.” The Capilano Review 3.22 (Winter 2014), 49-70.
  • With Elizabeth A. Wilson, “Like-minded: A Response to Ruth Leys’ ‘The Turn to Affect: A Critique’.” Critical Inquiry 38.4 (June 2012).
  • “Loose Coordinations: Theater and Thinking in Gertrude Stein.” Science in Context 25.3 (September 2012).
  • “Gertrude Stein et la Question du Theatre. “In Eric Giraud, ed., Contemporeanités de Gertrude Stein, Paris: Editions des archives contemporaines, 2011.
  • “Phantoms Limn: Silvan Tomkins and Affective Prosthetics.” Theory and Psychology. 17.4 (August 2007): 515-528.
  • “Some Affective Bases for Guilt.” English Studies in Canada 32.1(June 2007).
  • “Medium Poe.” Criticism 48.2 (Spring 2006).
  • “Valdemar’s Tongue, Poe’s Telegraphy.” ELH 72.3 (Fall 2005). [won the James W. Gargano Award for the outstanding scholarly essay on Edgar Allan Poe for 2005]
  • “Some Avenues for Feeling.” Criticism 46.3 (Fall 2004): 511-24.

Audio Recordings:

Radio Free Stein. 2013-present.

Some Mad Scientists. 2010.

Overpass! A Melodrama. Alien8 Recordings, 2007.

I am currently at work on three projects.

  1. A Silvan Tomkins Handbook is an introductory text to the work of the American psychologist and affect theorist Silvan Tomkins, co-authored with Elizabeth Wilson (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Emory University). Our goal is to develop a portable and accessible teaching and research resource. This book is under contract with the University of Minnessota Press.
  2. Radio Free Stein is a large-scale critical sound project that renders selected plays by Gertrude Stein into musical and dramatic form. Its main objectives are to advance the study and understanding of Stein’s dramatic work and to locate and explore her poetics in relation to twentieth- and twenty-first century North American experimental music. Widely and deeply collaborative, the project involves scholars and writers, composers and musicians, actors and directors, and sound artists and technicians. This project is supported by a multi-year SSHRC Insight Grant. Please see the project website for more information.
  3. “A Survey of Motives for Criticism” names a project that takes issue with the rejection of subjectivity that has taken place within the various recent turns to ontology in the theoretical humanities. Why shouldn’t a critical and reflexive account of subjectivity play a central role in our thinking? There appears to be something “embarrassing” about subjectivity, and I take the remarkable downward shift in the cultural prestige of psychoanalysis over the last several decades to index this embarrassment. My current research explores the various uses of Freud’s notion of “psychic reality,” debates on phantasy (or fantasy), and pursues a genealogy of the pejorative term “psychologization.”


Research networks:


Areas of Specialization:

  • Nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature, media, and poetics
  • Theories and histories of affect and feeling
  • Unorthodox psychoanalytic theory
  • Sound studies
  • Science and technology studies