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, Nancy, and Leonard Tennenhouse. Novels in the Time of Democratic Writing. Haney Foundation, 2017.

Tennenhouse, L. Violence done to women on the Renaissance stage. 2014, pp. 77–97. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9781315794389. Full Text

Tennenhouse, L., and N. Armstrong, editors. The Ideology of Conduct: (Routledge Revivals) Essays in Literature and the History of Sexuality. Routledge, 2014.

Tennenhouse, Leonard. The Importance of Feeling English. Princeton University Press, 2007.

Armstrong, Nancy, and L. Tennenhouse. The Literature of Conduct, the Conduct of Literature, and the Politics of Desire. Edited by Larry Trudeau, Gale Research, 2000.

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

Armstrong, N., and L. Tennenhouse, editors. The Ideology of Conduct: Essays on Literature and the History of Sexuality. Methuen Publishing, 1987.


Tennenhouse, L. “The Novel's International Nationalism.” Novel a Forum on Fiction, vol. 45, no. 1, Duke University Press, 1 Mar. 2012, pp. 120–23. Crossref, doi:10.1215/00295132-1541396. Full Text

L. Tennenhouse, L. “Review of Room for Maneuver: Reading (the) Oppositional (in) Narrative by Ross Chambers.” Modern Fiction Studies, University of Chicago Press, 1994, pp. 438–41.

Tennehouse, L. “Review of Tragedies Of Tyrants - Political-Thought And Theater In The English by Rebecca W Bushnell.” Modern Philology: Critical and Historical Studies in Postclassical Literature, vol. 90, no. 3, University of Chicago Press, Feb. 1993, pp. 426–30. Manual, doi:10.1086/392091. Full Text

TENNENHOUSE, L. “HIDDEN DESIGNS - THE CRITICAL PROFESSION AND RENAISSANCE LITERATURE - CREWE,J.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 88, no. 2, Apr. 1989, pp. 228–31.

Tennenhouse, L. “Review of Crime and God’s Judgement in Shakespeare by Robert Rentoul Reed, Jr.Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 38, 1985, pp. 170–72.

Tennenhouse, L. “Review of Comic Transformations in Shakespeare by Ruth Nevo.” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 38, 1982, pp. 663–65.

Tennenhouse, L. “Review of The Comic in Renaissance Comedy by David Farley-Hills.” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 35, 1982, pp. 663–65.

Tennenhouse, L. “Review of John Webster, Citizen and Dramatist by M.C. Bradbrook.” Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts, vol. 23, no. 2, 1981, pp. 181–83.

Tennenhouse, L. “Playing and power.” Staging the Renaissance, 2017, pp. 27–39. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9780203821565. Full Text

Tennenhouse, L. “Family rites: City comedy and the strategies of patriarchalism.” New Historicism and Renaissance Drama, 2016, pp. 195–206. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9781315504452. Full Text

Armstrong, N., and L. Tennenhouse. “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.

Tennenhouse, L. “Introduction by Leonard Tennenhouse.” The Asylum Or, Alonzo and Melissa, Early American Reprints, 2016, pp. 8–20.

Tennenhouse, L. “The counterfeit order of the Merchant of Venice.” The Merchant of Venice: Critical Essays, 2015, pp. 195–215. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9781315709208. Full Text

Tennenhouse, L., and N. Armstrong. “The Network Novel and How It Unsettled the Domestic Fiction.” A Companion to the English Novel, edited by S. Arata et al., Wiley-Blackwell, 2015, pp. 306–20.

Armstrong, N., and L. Tennenhouse. “The literature of conduct, the conduct of literature, and the politics of desire: An introduction.” The Ideology of Conduct (Routledge Revivals): Essays in Literature and the History of Sexuality, 2014, pp. 1–24.

Tennenhouse, L. “Unsettling Novels of the Early Republic.” Oxford History of the Novel in English, edited by Gerald Kennedy and Leland Person, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. ms.pp.27-ms.pp.27.

Tennenhouse, L. “Playing and power.” Staging the Renaissance: Reinterpretations of Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama, 2013, pp. 27–39. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9781315862804. Full Text

Tennenhouse, L. “The Early American Novel.” The Encyclopedia of the Novel (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 263-67., edited by Peter Melville Logan et al., Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.


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

Armstrong, N., and L. Tennenhouse. “Recalling Cora: Family Resemblances in the Last of the Mohicans.” American Literary History, vol. 28, no. 2, Apr. 2016, pp. 223–45. Scopus, doi:10.1093/alh/ajw007. Full Text

Armstrong, N., and L. Tennenhouse. “Recalling Cora: Family Resemblances in the Last of the Mohicans.American Literary History, vol. 28, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy F, 2016, pp. 1–23.

Armstrong, N., and L. Tennenhouse. “Novels before Nations: How Early US Novels Imagined Community.” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature / Revue Canadienne De Littérature Comparée, vol. 42, no. 4, 2015, pp. 353–67. Manual, doi:10.1353/crc.2015.0036. Full Text

Armstrong, N., and L. Tennenhouse. “Sovereignty and the Form of Formlessness.” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, vol. 20, no. 2–3, 2009, pp. 148–78. Manual, doi:10.1215/10407391-2009-007. Full Text

Armstrong, N., and L. Tennenhouse. “The Problem of Population and the Form of the American Novel.” American Literary History, vol. 20, no. 4, 2008, pp. 667–85. Manual, doi:10.1093/alh/ajn046. Full Text

Tennenhouse, L. “Is there an early American novel?Novel, vol. 40, no. 1–2, Jan. 2007, pp. 5–17. Scopus, doi:10.1215/ddnov.040010005. Full Text

Tennenhouse, Leonard. “Revisiting A New World of Words.” Early American Literature, vol. 42, no. 2, Project Muse, 2007, pp. 363–68. Crossref, doi:10.1353/eal.2007.0028. Full Text

The Early American Novel.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 40, 2007.

Tennenhouse, L. “The question of cultural bilingualism (Tucson Summit).” Early American Literature, vol. 38, no. 1, 2003, pp. 135–38. Manual, doi:10.1353/eal.2003.0021. Full Text

Tennenhouse, L. “Libertine America.” Differences, vol. 11, 2000, pp. 1–28.


The Practice of Psychoanalytic Criticism. Wayne State University Press, 1976.

Gould, Philip. “America the Feminine.” Differences, vol. 11.