Kent Puckett

Kent Puckett

Wheeler Hall, Room 403
Friday, 9-11am

Professional Statement

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.



Title Fields
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 studies, film studies, history, psychology and beyond. In addition to introducing readers to some of the field's major figures and their ideas, Puckett s....
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. Because of its logistical enormity, the unprecedented scope of its destruction, its conceptual status as total, and the way it affected everyday lif....
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 is not only, we think, ideally timed, following closely several recent publications by Rorty, but captures Rorty at his most energetic."....
Bad Form: Social Mistakes and the Nineteenth-Century Novel Bad Form: Social Mistakes and the Nineteenth-Century Novel
What--other than embarrassment--could one hope to gain from prolonged exposure to the social mistake? Why think much about what many would like simply to forget? Bad Form argues that whatever its awkwardness, the social mistake--the blunder, the gaffe, the faux pas-is a figure of critical importance to the nineteenth-century novel.  With significant new readings of a number of nineteenth-century ....

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

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).

“Caucus-Racing,” Novel: A Forum on Fiction (forthcoming).

“Hardy’s 1900,” MLQ (forthcoming).

“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.

Recent English Courses Taught