Marianna Torgovnick

Marianna Torgovnick

Professor of English

External address: 
302E Allen Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Duke Box 90015, Durham, NC 27708-0015
(919) 684-2110


Marianna Torgovnick writes on the novel and novel theory, film, postcolonialism, modernism, and the twentieth century more generally, and especially on contemporary American culture. Her work is broadly interdisciplinary and has been taught in Art History, Anthropology, and Religion courses as well as English, Literature, and Theory. She has published Closure in the Novel (Princeton, 1981), and The Visual Arts, Pictorialism, and the Novel: James, Lawrence, and Woolf (Princeton, 1985), Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives (Chicago, 1990), and Crossing Ocean Parkway (Chicago, 1994), for which she won an American Book Award, and Primitive Passions: Men, Women, and the Quest for Ecstasy (Knopf, 1997; paperback Chicago, 1998) and The War Complex: World War II in Our Time, about memories and perceptions of the Second War World in the Twenty First Century. She has also written series of articles for general interest publications. Professor Torgovnick currently directs The Duke in New York Arts and Media Program, taught in New York. She returns to teach America Dreams American Movies to a large enrollment each year. For more information, visit her website

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Columbia University 1975

  • M.A., Columbia University 1971

  • B.A., New York University 1970

Torgovnick, M. Closure in the novel. January 1, 2017.

Torgovnick, M. The Novelist's Wife. 2015. (Fictional Work)

Torgovnick, M. The War Complex: World War II in Our Time. The University of Chicago Press, May 2005.

Torgovnick, M. Primitive Passions: Men, Women, and the Quest for Ecstasy. Knopf; second printing, Mar. 1997; paperback, U of Chicago P, Sept. 1998, 1997.

Torgovnick, M. Crossing Ocean Parkway: Readings by an Italian American Daughter. U of Chicago P; paperback with new afterword, Dec. 1996, 1994.

Torgovnick, M. Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives. U of Chicago P; second printing 1991, 1990.

Torgovnick, M. "Cultual Criticism." Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. 2013.

Torgovnick, M. ""The Artist is Present"." Fictions of Art History. Clark Art Institute, 2013.

Torgovnick, M. "Adventures in Digital Publishing." Globalization: Appropriation or Hybridization? English Language and Literature in a Postcolonial Lobal World. Cambridge U Press, 2012.

Torgovnick, M. "The Text is Present." Fictions of Art History. The Clark Art Instutute, 2011.

Torgovnick, M. "Crossing Back: A Classic Journey." Crossing Back: A Classic Journey. 2010.

Torgovnick, M. "Dante, Mourning, Meditation and Me." How We Write: The Power of Scholarly Form. Ed. A Bammer and R-E Joeres. 2010.

Torgovnick, M. "Selling the House." Our Roots Are Deep with Passion. Ed. J Herman and L Gutkind. New York: Other Press, 2006. 234-44.

Torgovnick, M. "Primitivism Today." II Primitivismo. Ed. V Fortunati. 2006.

Torgovnick, M. "Cultural Criticism." The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. 2003.

Torgovnick, M. "Narrating Sexuality; D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow and Women in Love." The Cambridge Companion to D.H. Lawrence. 2001.


Torgovnick, M. "Representing Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Contemporary America." Nanzan Review of American Studies XXXII (2011).

Torgovnick, M. "Rereading The Iliad in a time of war." Pmla 124.5 (October 1, 2009): 1838-1841. Full Text

Torgovnick, M. "The Buoyancy of Depression Entertainment." The Chronicle of Higher Education Review (April 2009).

Torgovnick, M. "It’s Not Mickey Mouse: Animation Today." The Chronicle of Higher Education Review (2009).

Torgovnick, M. "Letting Loose in the Great Depression: Film, Radio, and Leisure Time in the 1930s." The Chronicle of Higher Education Review (2009).

Torgovnick, M. "Archive Fever." The Chronicle of Higher Education Review (September 2008).

Torgovnick, M. "The Lure of Urban Destruction: Targeting New York." The Chronicle of Higher Education Review (May 2008).

Torgovnick, M. "Sexy Things: Recent Novels that Embroider Artistic History." The Chronicle of Higher Education Review (February 2008).

Torgovnick, M. "Writing Together." Modernist Group Dynamics (2008).

Torgovnick, M. "On Victor Li’s "The Neo-Primitivist Turn"." Criticism 49 (2007): 545-550. (Review)




Torgovnick, M. "Fifty Shades Cliched." Public Books (June 5, 2013). (Blog)

Torgovnick, M. "9 Documentaries That You Need to See This Year." TEDBlog (April 10, 2013). (Blog)

Torgovnick, M. "The top 10 classic fears in literature." TEDTalks (2012). (Blog)

Torgovnick, M. "Let’s re-examine pre-emptive war policy." The Herald Sun (October 2006): A9-A9.