Leonard Tennenhouse

Leonard Tennenhouse

Professor of English

External address: 
304F Allen Bldg, English Department, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90015, Durham, NC 27708-0015
(919) 684-1884


Len Tennenhouse teaches courses in British and American literature that look at earlier formulations of our most deeply held assumptions about who we are, how to live with other people, and what we pursue in the name of happiness. What changes, he asks, do these ideas of the purpose and possibilities of human existence undergo as they are rewritten under new material conditions and to different political effect over the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries? His courses in critical theory give students at all levels the tools for addressing this question in various modes of writing. His present research shows how the substantial body of fiction produced during the period following ratification of the U.S. Constitution waged a political argument that pitted direct democracy against the representative liberalism that early American writers attributed to their British counterparts.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Rochester 1970

  • B.A., Wayne State University 1965

Armstrong, N, and Tennenhouse, L. Novels in the Time of Democratic Writing (Accepted). Haney Foundation, December 26, 2017.

Tennenhouse, L. The Importance of Feeling English. Princeton University Press, 2007. (Monograph)

Armstrong, N, and Tennenhouse, L. The Literature of Conduct, the Conduct of Literature, and the Politics of Desire. Ed. L Trudeau. Gale Research, 2000. (Edited Book)

Armstrong, N, and Tennenhouse, L. The Imaginary Puritan: Literature, Intellectual Labor, and the Origins of Personal Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

The Ideology of Conduct: Essays on Literature and the History of Sexuality. Ed. N Armstrong and L Tennenhouse. Methuen Publishing, 1987. (Edited Book)


Tennenhouse, L. "The Spread of Novels: Translation and Prose Fiction in the Eighteenth Century." NOVEL-A FORUM ON FICTION 45.1 (2012): 120-123. Full Text

Tennenhouse, L. "Review of Hidden Designs: The Critical Profession And Renaissance Literature by Jonathan Crew." Journal of English and Germanic Philology 88.2 (April 1989): 228-231.

Tennenhouse, L. "Review of Crime and God’s Judgement in Shakespeare by Robert Rentoul Reed, Jr." Renaissance Quarterly 38 (1985): 170-172.

Tennenhouse, L. "Review of Comic Transformations in Shakespeare by Ruth Nevo." Renaissance Quarterly 38 (1982): 663-65.

Tennenhouse, L. "Review of The Comic in Renaissance Comedy by David Farley-Hills." Renaissance Quarterly 35 (1982): 663-65.

Tennenhouse, L. "Review of John Webster, Citizen and Dramatist by M.C. Bradbrook." Criticism: a quarterly for literature and the arts 23.2 (1981): 181-183.

Armstrong, N, and Tennenhouse, L. "How to Imagine Community Without Property." de Homenagem a Maria Irene Ramalho Santos: American Literature In a Comparative Context. Impressa da Universidade de Comimbra, 2016. (Chapter)

Tennenhouse, L. "Introduction by Leonard Tennenhouse." The Asylum Or, Alonzo and Melissa. San Antonio, Texas: Early American Reprints, 2016. 8-20. (Introduction)

Tennenhouse, L, and Armstrong, N. "The Network Novel and How It Unsettled the Domestic Fiction." A Companion to the English Novel. Ed. S Arata, J Wicke, and J Hunter. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. 306-320. (Chapter)

Tennenhouse, L. "Unsettling Novels of the Early Republic." Oxford History of the Novel in English. Ed. G Kennedy and L Person. Oxford University Press, 2013. ms. pp. 27-ms. pp. 27. (Essay)

Tennenhouse, L. "The Early American Novel." The Encyclopedia of the Novel (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 263-67. Ed. PM Logan, S Hegeman, O George, and E Kristal. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. (Essay)

Tennenhouse, L. "The Coffeehouse." The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. Oxford University Press, 2006.

Armstrong, N, Tennenhouse, and L, . "A Mind for Passion: Locke and Hutcheson on Desire." Politics and the Passions, 1500-1850. Ed. Coli, D, Kahn, V and Saccamano, N.: Princeton University Press. 2006. 131-150. (Chapter)

Tennenhouse, L. "A Language for a Nation: A Transatlantic Problematic." Transatlantic Revolutions. Ed. WM Verhoeven. Palgrave, 2002. 62-84.

Tennenhouse, L. "Carribbean Degeneracy and the Problem of Masculinity in Ormond." Finding Colonial Americas: Essays Honoring J.A. Leo Lemay. Ed. C Mulford and DS Shields. University of Delaware Press, 2001. 104-124.

Tennenhouse, L. "Violence Done to Women on the Renaissance Stage." The Violence of Representation. 1999. 77-97.


Tennenhouse, L. The Tudor Interludes of Nice Wanton and Impatient Poverty. The Renaissance Imagination Series, Garland, 1984.

Armstrong, N, and Tennenhouse, L. "Recalling Cora: Family Resemblances in the Last of the Mohicans." American Literary History 28.2 (April 1, 2016): 223-245. (Review) Full Text

Armstrong, N, and Tennenhouse, L. "Recalling Cora: Family Resemblances in the Last of the Mohicans." American Literary History 28 (2016): 1-23. (Essay)

Armstrong, N, and Tennenhouse, L. "Novels before Nations: How Early US Novels Imagined Community." Canadian Review of Comparative Literature / Revue Canadienne De Littérature Comparée 42.4 (2015): 353-367. Full Text

Armstrong, N, and Tennenhouse, L. "Sovereignty and the Form of Formlessness." Differences: a Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 20.2-3 (2009): 148-178. (Essay) Full Text

Armstrong, N, and Tennenhouse, L. "The Problem of Population and the Form of the American Novel." American Literary History 20.4 (2008): 667-685. (Essay) Full Text

Tennenhouse, L. "Is there an early American novel?." Novel 40.1-2 (December 1, 2007): 5-17. (Review)

Tennenhouse, L. "Revisiting A New World of Words." Early American Literature 42.2 (2007): 363-368. Full Text

"The Early American Novel." Novel: A Forum on Fiction 40 (2007). (Academic Article)

Tennenhouse, L. "The question of cultural bilingualism (Tucson Summit)." EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE 38.1 (2003): 135-138. Full Text

Tennenhouse, L. "Libertine America." differences 11 (2000): 1-28.