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 ELH, Criticism, Critical Inquiry, Science in Context, and elsewhere. He is the author of Transferential Poetics, from Poe to Warhol (Fordham University Press, 2015), co-author (with Elizabeth Wilson) of A Silvan Tomkins Handbook (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) , and co-editor (with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick) of Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader (Duke University Press, 1995). He has also produced a dozen recorded audiodramas in collaboration with composers locally, nationally, and internationally. He recently completed a sabbatical year fellowship at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study (2018-19), and is the recipient of a UBC Public Humanities Hub Course Release Award (2019-20).
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
I am currently at work on two main projects:
- Radio Free Stein is a large-scale critical sound project (supported by a multi-year SSHRC Insight Grant) that renders ten 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. Performances associated with this project have taken place in Vancouver (at the Western Front and The Cultch), in New York City (at Symphony Space), and in Paris (at the Hôtel de Lauzun). I am currently preparing a book manuscript based on this project.
- “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.”
- Co-authored with Elizabeth A. Wilson, A Silvan Tomkins Handbook. University of Minnesota Press, 2020.
Author interviews about this book:
- Australian Humanities Review 67 (November 2020), 46-54. Interviewer Monique Rooney.
- Emory University’s Digital Publishing in the Humanities video interview. Interviewer Joey Orr.
- Transferential Poetics, from Poe to Warhol. Fordham University Press, 2015.
- Co-edited with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.
Book Chapters or Journal Articles:
- “Studio Audience: Glenn Gould’s Contrapuntal Radio.” In Inge Arteel, Lars Bernaerts, Siebe Bluijs, and Pim Verhulst, eds., Tuning into the Neo-Avant-Garde: Experimental Radio Plays in the Postwar Period. Manchester University Press, 2021.
- “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.
- “The Expansion of Setting in Gertrude Stein’s Landscape Theater.” Modernism/modernity PRINTPLUS 3,1 (March 5, 2018).
- “Feeling.” In Caroline Jones, David Mather, Rebecca Uchill, eds., Experience: Cognition, Culture, and the Common Sense. MIT Press, 2016.
- “Maisie’s Spasms: Transferential Poetics in Henry James and Wilfred Bion.” Studies in Gender and Sexuality 17.3 (Summer 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).
- “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).
- “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]
- nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature
- affect theory
- science and technology studies
- media studies
- modernist theater