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 InquiryScience 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 written and produced several recorded audiodramas in collaboration with composers locally, nationally, and internationally, as well as a chamber opera that premiererd at Symphony Space in New York City (February 2018). He is currently in residence at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study.

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


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.
  • With Elizabeth A. Wilson, “Like-minded: A Response to Ruth Leys’ ‘The Turn to Affect: A Critique’.” Critical Inquiry4 (June 2012).
  • “Loose Coordinations: Theater and Thinking in Gertrude Stein.” Science in Context3 (September 2012).
  • “Phantoms Limn: Silvan Tomkins and Affective Prosthetics.” Theory and Psychology. 17.4 (August 2007): 515-528.
  • “Valdemar’s Tongue, Poe’s Telegraphy.” ELH3 (Fall 2005). [won the James W. Gargano Award for the outstanding scholarly essay on Edgar Allan Poe for 2005]
    1. A Silvan Tomkins Handbook(The University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming in 2019) is a portable, accessible teaching and research resource that helps readers understand the work of American psychologist and affect theorist Silvan Tomkins, co-authored with Elizabeth Wilson (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Emory University).
    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 has been supported by a multi-year SSHRC Insight Grant, and is the main topic of my work during a sabbatical year in residence at the Paris Institute for Advanced Studies. Please see the project website for more information.
    3. I am currently at work on three projects.“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.”

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

Research Networks: