Berkeley English Faculty

Kent Puckett

Kent Puckett

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Wheeler Hall, Room 403
Thursdays, 10-2 (in-person and online, see signup link below)

Professional Statement

Office hours signup sheet:


I did my graduate work at the University of Virginia and Columbia University and joined Berkeley's English Department in 2002.  I teach courses on nineteenth-century British literature, the novel, literary theory, psychoanalysis, and narrative theory.

Narrative Theory: A Critical Introduction
Narrative Theory: A Critical Introduction

Winner of the 2018 Barbara Perkins and George Perkins Prize of the International Society for the Study of Narrative. Kent Puckett's Narrative Theory: A Critical Introduction provides an account of a methodology increasingly central to literary stu....(read more)

War Pictures: Cinema, Violence, and Style in Britain, 1939-1945
War Pictures: Cinema, Violence, and Style in Britain, 1939-1945

In this original and engaging work, author Kent Puckett looks at how British filmmakers imagined, saw, and sought to represent its war during wartime through film. The Second World War posed unique representational challenges to Britain's filmmakers....(read more)

Against Bosses, Against Oligarchies: A Conversation with Richard Rorty
Against Bosses, Against Oligarchies: A Conversation with Richard Rorty

The present pamphlet is a conversation with well-known politcal philosopher Richard Rorty. Derek Nystrom and Kent Puckett ask the questions. "We interviewed Richard Rotty for four hours over the course of a weekend in Charlottesville. This interview....(read more)


Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

War Pictures: Cinema, Violence, and Style in Britain, 1939-1945 (Fordham University Press, 2017).

Narrative Theory: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Bad Form: Social Mistakes and the Nineteenth-Century Novel (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Against Oligarchies, Against Bosses: A Conversation with Richard Rorty, with Derek Nystrom (Charlottesville: Prickly Pear Pamphlets, 1998).

"J. M. Keynes and the Visible Hands," Public Books, January 15, 2021:

"Story, Discourse, Dunkirk," modernism/modernity (print plus), July 7, 2020:

"RAND Narratology," Representations,  Vol. 149  No. 1,  Winter 2020, 31-72.

“‘Postscript: 1976’: E. P. Thompson and the River of Fire,” in Victorian Literature and Culture, Vol. 47, Nos. 4, 2019.

“Keyword: Democracy,” Victorian Literature and Culture, Vol. 46, Nos. 3-4, 2018. 

“Epic/Novel,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Novel, ed. Eric Bulson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

“Narrative Theory’s Longue durée,” in The Cambridge Companion to Narrative Theory, ed. Matthew Garrett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

“Why Nixon Is Tricky for Novelists,” Public Books, May 24, 2017:

“Let’s Get Real, Real Gone for a Change: Jameson’s Antinomies,” invited response to Frederic Jameson’s The Antinomies of RealismVictorian Studies, Vol. 57, No. 1, Autumn 2014, 105-112.

Introduction to “Search,” a special forum in Representations, Vol. 127 No. 1, Summer 2014, 55-56.

Introduction to “Financialization and the Culture Industry,” a special issue of Representations, co-authored with Dan Blanton and Colleen Lye, Vol. 126 No. 1, Spring 2014, 1-8.

Response to "Deontatively, Technically, Literally," a special issue of Represenations, eds., Elaine Freedgood and Cannon Schmitt, April 21, 2014:

“Caucus-Racing,” Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Vol. 47, No. 1, 2014, 11-23.

“Hardy’s 1900,” MLQ, Vol. 75, No. 1, 57-75.

“Celia Johnson’s Face,” English Language Notes (49.2, Fall / Winter 2011).

"Before and Afterwardsness in Henry James," in Narrative Middles: Navigating the Nineteenth-Century Novel, edited by Caroline Levine and Mario Ortiz-Roblez (Ohio State University Press, 2011).

“Some Versions of Syllepsis,” Partial Answers (Volume 9, Number 1): 177-88.

"Make No Mistake: Getting it Right in The Princess Casamassima," Novel: A Forum on Fiction Novel (Volume 43, Number 1):60-64.

Review of Gwen Hyman’s Making a Man: Gentlemanly Appetites in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel in Victorian Studies (Volume 53, Number 2): 371-373.

Review of William Flesch’s Comeuppance: Costly Signaling, Altrusitic Punishment, and Other Biological Compnents of Fiction in Novel: A Forum on Fiction (Volume 43, Number 3): 501-505

"The Life and Death and Death of Colonel Blimp," Critical Inquiry, Vol. 35, No. 1. (2008), pp. 90-114.

Review of Kerry McSweeney’s What’s the Import?: Nineteenth-Century Poems and Contemporary Critical Practice in Victorian Studies, Vol. 51, No 1, (2008), pp. 192-94.

"Stupid Sensations: Henry James, Good Form, and Reading Middlemarch Without a Brain," The Henry James Review, Vol. 28, No. 3 (2007), pp. 292-298

"Narrative," The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, ed. David Kastan (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

"Twentieth-Century Novel Theory," Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Novel (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009).

Current Research

I published a book on social mistakes (saying the wrong thing, wearing the wrong thing, eating peas with your knife, etc.) in the nineteenth-century novel. I'm at work at two other projects. The first is a critical and historical account of narrative theory. I am also at work on a book that looks at ways in which difficult arguments about war are embodied in the cinematic style of some British war films.

English Department Classes