Curriculum Vitae

Elisa New
lisasnew3 @
Department of English
12 Quincy Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138


Ph.D., English, Columbia University, 1988

M. Phil., English, Columbia University, 1985

M.A., English, Columbia University, 1982

B.A., summa cum laude, Brandeis University, 1980


Academic Employment:

Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature, Harvard University, 2012

Professor of English and American Literature and Language, Harvard University, 1999

Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania, 1998-1999

Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania, 1994-1998

Esther K. and M. Mark Watkins Assistant Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania, 1992-1994

Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania, 1988-1991

Adjunct Lecturer, University of Miami, 1986-1988

Preceptor, Columbia University, 1985-1986

Adjunct Lecturer, Queens College, CUNY, 1984-1985




 How to Read American Poetry. Wiley Blackwell, (forthcoming) 2015

 New England, Beyond Criticism: In Defense of America’s First Literature. A Blackwell Manifesto. Wiley Blackwell, (forthcoming 2014)

 Jacob’s Cane: A Jewish Family’s Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore , Basic Books, 2009; paperback 2011

 The Line’s Eye: Poetic Experience, American Sight. Harvard University Press, 1999.

 The Regenerate Lyric: Theology and Innovation in American Poetry. Cambridge University Press, 1993.


In Progress:

 Jewish American Literature, an Anthology (Pearson Books)  

 Memorial Minute: A Novel.


Articles and Reviews:

“The Jewish Public Intellectual” in The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature, ed. Hana Wirth-Nesher, in preparation

 “The Career of Allen Grossman” for  The New Republic, in preparation.

"My Favorite Anti Semite: Frank Norris," in TABLET, (online), October 2013 

“American Intersections: Longfellow, Dickinson, Melville, Whitman and Crane and Robinson” for The Oxford Book of Victorian Literature,  ed. Matthew  Bevis, Oxford University Press, 2013.

 “Teaching Abraham Cahan and Philip Roth” for MELUS Symposium, Special Issue on Jewish American Literature, 2012

 “Last Acts: Philip Roth and Harold Bloom” in TABLET (online), 2012

 “Beside Ourselves: Near, Neighboring and Next in the Work of Stanley Cavell” in

Stanley Cavell and Literary Studies: Consequences of Skepticism,  ed. Richard Eldridge and Bernie Rhie, Continuum Books 2012

 “Upon a Peak in Beinecke: The Beauty of the Book in the Poetry of Susan Howe,” forthcoming in The Aesthetic in American Literature, “ed. Christopher Looby and Cindy Weinstein, Columbia University Press, 2012

 “Where the Meanings Are” in  Invisible Conversations: Religion in American Life, edited by Roger Lundin, Baylor, 2009

 “Alone Together” (Review essay on Strangers in the Land and The Price of Whiteness in the New Republic),  2007

 “Variety as Religious Experience” in Religion and Literature, Spring 2006

 “Confession, Reformation and Counter-reformation in the Career of Robert Lowell.” The Middle Generation Ed. Eric Haralson. University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, 2006

 Review essay on “Opening Scripture” by Lisa Gordis for The New England Quarterly, Spring 2005.

 “Farewell, New England,” Review essay on Hawthorne by Brenda Wineapple for The New Republic, August, 2004.

 “The Virtue-crat.” Review of Jonathan Edwards by Richard Marsden for The New Republic, August 2003.

  “Good-bye, Children; Good-bye, Mother of Sorrows: The Church and the Holocaust in the Art of Louis Malle.” In Prooftexts, 22 (2002), pp. 118-140.

 Forward to Mother of Pearls and Other Poems, Sufia Kamal, ed. Sajed Kamal (Bangla Academy, 2001).

 “Allen Grossman.” In The Encyclopedia of American Poetry, Ed. Eric Haralson (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001).

 “Bible Leaves! Bible Leaves! Hebraism and Hellenism in Melville’s Moby Dick.” forthcoming in a special issue of Poetics Today (Duke University Press) ed. David Stern (Summer, 1998)

“Elizabeth Bishop and the Modernization of Calvinist Mood.” forthcoming in The Calvinist Roots of the Modern Era.” Eds. Carol Singley, Aliki Barnstone. New England University Press (Fall 1997). pp. 107-124

 “Marianne Moore’s Distrust of Merits: Canonicity, Poetry and the Protestant Refusal of Works.” in Literature and Belief Vol. 15. Ed. John Murphy. (Fall 1996). pp. 97-116

 Review of Orthodoxies in Massachusetts: Rereading American Puritanism by Janice Knight in Common Knowledge (Spring 1996). pp. 131-132

 “Beyond the Romance Theory of American Vision: Beauty and the Qualified Will in Edwards, Jefferson and Audubon.” in American Literary History (Fall 1995) pp. 381-413

 “Both Great and Small: Human Proportion and Divine Scale in The New England Primer and Edward Taylor’s ‘God’s Determinations.’” Early American Literature, 28:2 Fall 1993. pp. 120-132

 “Film and the Flattening of Jewish American Fiction: Malamud, Allen and Lee.” Contemporary Literature, Fall 1993. pp. 425-449

 “Feminist Invisibility: The Examples of Anne Hutchinson and Anne Bradstreet.” Common Knowledge, Spring 1993. pp. 100-117

 “Pharaoh’s Birthstool: Deconstruction and Midrash.” SubStance, 57 (1989): 126-136.

 “Cynthia Ozizk’s Timing.” Prooftexts 9 (1989): 288-294.

 “Killing the Princess: The Offense of a Bad Defense.” Tikkun 4 (1989): 17-19, 114-117.

 “Difficult Writing, Difficult God: Emily Dickinson’s Poems Beyond Circumference.” Religion and Literature 18.3 (1986): 1-27.

 “Borders: Angry Harvest.” Tikkun 2 (1986): 116-118.

 “Reconsidering Delmore Schwartz.” Prooftexts 5 (1985): 245-262.

 “Bibliography.” Midrash and Literature. ed. Geoffrey Hartman and Sanford Budick, Yale University Press, 1986.



 Poems in Raritan, Sequoia, Carolina Quarterly, Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, MSS, Columbia, Paintbrush.  Nomination in 1986 and 1988 (by Richard Poirier) for a CCLM General Electric Younger Writers Award.


Lectures, panels, media :

 "Poetry, the Online Environment and the Changing Face of the Humanities," Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, April 2014 

"Writing Jacob's Cane: Memoir and Jewish American Literature, The Jewish Studies Association, Boston December 2013

"Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg,"   The "Creative Mind Series," Harvard University,, December 2013 

"American Puritan Funeral Elegies" : A Community Event Allston Ed Portal , November 2013. Livestreamed

"Leading in Teaching and Learning" Harvard University Campaign Launch, October 2013

"Poetry in the Online Environment"     An Interview with Victoria Brown, The Nantucket Project, September 2013 

"Melville's Moby Dick" Nantucket High School, September 2013

On " Poetry in America," Harvard Alumni Association , September 2013

 The Nantucket Project , “American Exceptionalism” (with David Gergen and Chris Matthews), October 2012

 “Nathaniel Hawthorne Feels Your Pain” (online) THE BIG THINK (2011)

 The Nantucket Project,  “What Literature Teaches about the Economy”, September 2011

 2009- 2011 lectures on Jacob’s Cane: A Jewish Family’s Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore  at more than 70 locations in US, Canada, UK and Israel  including presentations at UCLA,  University of North Carolina, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, Duke University,  CUNY Graduate Center, Tufts University,  Williams College, Hebrew College,  Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance,  The 92nd Street Y, Jewish Museum of Maryland, Jewish Museum of Florida,  Tobacco Farm Life Museum, The Enoch Pratt Library,   National Yiddish Book Center, YIVO,  the Jewish Public Library of Montreal, Greater London House, the Liberal Synagogue, London, The Hamptons Synagogue,  JCCs in Florida, Nevada, Michigan, California, Maryland, New York, DC, Virginia (see for complete listing of talks, reviews, media and  interviews)

 “Reading Obama” Humanities Center, Harvard, Spring 2011

 “ Upon a Peak In Beinecke,”  Americanist Colloquium, Spring 2011

 Suffolk University, “So Much Nearer Home,”  April  2010

 Bowdoin College, The Nathaniel Hawthorne Society,  “Nathaniel Hawthorne, Starting Over,” June 2008

 “Marianne’s Moore’s New York Style”  New York City Poetry Festival, City University of New York, May 2006

 “Miles of Stare: The Geography of Meaning,” University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, November 2005.

 “The Globalization of the Golden Land,” Southern Jewish Historical Society, Atlanta, Georgia, November 2005.

 “Why Poetry,” (with Dana Gioia), Aspen Ideas Festival, Aspen, Colorado, July 2005.

 “Where the Meanings Are,” American Literature and Religion Project, American Academy of

Arts and Sciences, May 2005

 “Dickinson, Edwards and Metaphor,” Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, April 2005.

 Excerpts from  Jacob’s Cane, The Departmental Colloquium and The Americanist Colloquium, Harvard University, 2004.

 “Jews and Cigars,” American Literature Association, May 2003.

 “The Poem as Object,” Modern Language Association, December 2003.

 “The Sea Inspires Them with a Love of Commerce,” Americanist Colloquium, Harvard University, 2003.

 “Arcadia Works,” English Faculty Colloquium, Harvard University, 2003.

 “Metaphor and Plain Style in Puritan Poetry,” University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada, April 2002.

 “Understanding Industry in Melville,” Young Presidents Organization, Boston, Massachusetts, June 2002.

 “Newton MA Teaching Elizabeth Bishop,” Newton North High School, June 2002.

 “Robert Frost,” Teachers as Scholars, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2002.

 “Iambic Pentameter in May,” Memorial Church, Harvard University, May 2002.

 Lecture on tobacco and history, ELP students, Harvard University Summer School, July 2002.

 Lecture on famous Harvardians for the incoming class of graduate students from abroad, Harvard University, August 2002.

 Lecture on teaching and professional conduct, introduction to teaching sponsored by the Bok Center, Harvard University, September 2002.

 Appeared on CNN’s American Writers Series (3 hour discussion and call-in on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter), DATE?

 Lecture (read from new book manuscript, Jacob’s Cane), Brandeis University, Germanic Languages, 2001.

 Lecture on Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables at the House of the Seven Gables, Salem, Massachusetts, 2001.

 Lecture on Walt Whitman and Song at the Salzburg Music Festival, Salzburg, Austria, 2001.

 Lecture on Puritan Poetry, the Harvard Club, Orlando, Florida, 2001.

 Lecture on Walt Whitman, English and History departments, Brookline High School, 2001.

 Lecture (title??), University of Utah, April 2000.

 Lecture (title??), Stern College for Women, April 2000.

 Campaign Celebration panelist (with Edward Zwick, Gish Gen and others) on the topic: “What we get from art that we can’t get anywhere else” Harvard University, 2000.

 Lecture (TITLE?), Department of Jewish Studies, Latvian State University, Riga, August 2000.

 Invited response and moderation of conversation with novelist Rebecca Goldstein, Harvard University Hillel, November 2000.

 Respondent to the work of Paul Muldoon. Lief Lecture, University of Pennsylvania, October 1998.

 Respondent. “Calvinism in the 19th Century” Meeting of the Modern Language Association, December 1998.

 “Cotton’s Coach” Meeting of the Modern Language Association, December 1998.

 “Marianne Moore’s England” Center for English Studies. Senate House. London. July 1998.

 “Metaphor and Plainstyle in Dickinson, Edwards, Taylor and Cotton.” Harvard University. March 18, 1998.

 “Fabling and the Fate of John Field: Biodiversity and the Fable in Thoreau’s Walden.” MLA, Toronto 1997.

 “Roundtable: Issues and Problems in American Nature Writing.” (with H. Daniel Peck, Vassar; Lawrence Buell, Harvard; John Elder, Middlebury; William Howarth, Princeton; Vera Norwood, New Mexico; Hertha Wong, Berkeley). American Studies Association, Washington D.C., 1997.

 “The Poetics of Nature Writing.” NEH Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers. Seminar Leader for week of June 16-20. Vassar College, 1997.

 “Mark Twain’s Pragmatic Twins.” Presenter and organizer of a panel, “Pragmatism off the Beaten Path.” American Literature Association, Baltimore, 1997.

 “Edwards, James, Frost and the Ethics of American Seeing.” University of Miami, March 1997.

 Book Club of the Air on Frank Norris’s McTeague. Talk of the Nation with Ray Suarez. National Public Radio, November 1996.

 Respondent to a series of papers on Thoreau’s Journal. American Literature Association, Baltimore 1995.

 “Jews and Multiculturalism.” American Studies Association, Nashville, October 1994.

 “Himself Himself Inform: Edwards’s Spiders and the Executive Will in American Poetry.” National Conference on “The Writings of Jonathan Edwards” sponsored by Yale University Press at Indiana University. Bloomington, 1994.

 (Chair), “The Legacy of Lionel Trilling.” American Studies Association, Boston, November 1993.

 (Chair), “Perceptual Power and Natural Force: Beauty in Antebellum America.” Modern Language Association, New York, December 1992.

 “Beauty’s Pull in Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia and Audubon’s Birds of America.” Modern Language Association, New York, December 1992.

 “Taylor, Wigglesworth and the New England Primer.” Modern Language Association, San Francisco, December 1991.

 “Trilling, Schwartz, Bercovitch and Bloom: The Gaon in the Academy.” Modern Language Association, San Francisco, December 1991.

 “Does Miss Daisy Do the Right Thing?: Jews and African-Americans in Film.” Cafe Einstein, University of Pennsylvania, March 1991.

 “Stereotype and Filmic Style in Lee and Malamud.” Museum of the University at Stoneybrook, Humanities Institute, March 1991.

 “Robert Frost and the Open Question.” Modern Language Association, Chicago, December 1990.

 “Poetry Reading.” Emerging Poets Series, Philadelphia Art Alliance, October 1990.

 (Respondent), “Appelfeld and Yiddish Women Poets.” Conference on Gender and Text, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, June 1990.

 “Poetry Reading.” Philomathean Society, University of Pennsylvania, April 1990.

 “New Approaches to Teaching Whitman and Dickinson.” McDonough Conference for Teachers of English, Baltimore, April 1990.

 “Voyeurism and Fallen Consciousness in the American Poem.” Northeastern Modern Language Association, April 1989.

 “Rachel and Leah: Idolatrous Women in Genesis 29-30.” National Jewish Resource Center, February 1985.


Honors and Awards:

Research Foundation Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 1998

Faculty Research Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 1994

Term Chair, University of Pennsylvania, 1992

Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellowship, 1990

Penn Research Foundation Summer Fellowship, 1992, 1989

Defense of Ph.D. dissertation with high distinction, 1987

Bunner Medal for the Best Essay of the Year in American Literature, Columbia University, 1986

Robert John Bennett Award for the best essay of the year in Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 1986

Academy of American Poets Prize, Columbia University, 1984

Presidents Fellowship, Columbia University, 1984, 1985

Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Fellowship, 1983

Lewis Leary Prize for Achievement in American Literature, Columbia University, 1982

Marjorie Hope Nicholson Fellowship, Columbia University, 1981

Sachar Fellowship for Travel Abroad, Brandeis University, 1980

Phi Beta Kappa, Brandeis University, 1980


           Courses Taught:



 Americanist Colloquim

Graduate Teaching Colloquium

19th Century American Fiction

Puritans and Planters

Poetry in America—Critical Approaches

Critical Approaches to the Literature of New England

Hawthorne, Dickinson and James

The American Errand

Critical Issues in the Literature of New England

The Puritans

Before Hawthorne: Sermon, Travelelogue, Prayer

Calvinist Poetics

Forms of Perfect Union: A Teaching Practicum



Fictions of America

Poetry in America

Moby Dick and Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Henry James

Poetry of New England

Jameses and Jameseans

Jewish American Literature

Poetry from Bradstreet-Frost

Hawthorne and his Precursors

American Literature from 1500-Civil War

Moore, Williams, and Frost

Poets of New York and New England

The American in London

Great American Books

Early American Poetry

American Poetry after Emerson

American Literature 1630-1864

American Literature 1865-1900

American Literature 1900-present

Honors Seminar in Frost and Twain

Nature Writing in America

The Gothic in America

The Literature of African- and Jewish-Americans

19th Century American Genres (freshman writing)

Freshmen Composition

Introduction to Literature


Dissertation Committees

Kaye Wierzbicki

John Radway

Seth Rosenbaum

Odile Harter

Adam Schleffler

David Weimer

Martin Greenup

Jacob Spencer

Jason Puskar

Laura Scales

Sharon Howell

Dan Chiasson:

Geoff Minter:

DeSales Harrison:

Andrew Dubois:

Joe Gerber

Rachel Rubenstein:

Jason Puskar:

Jacques Debrot:

Katie Peterson:

Mike Ziser:

Jim von der Heydt:

Stephanie Pumphrey:

At the University of Pennsylvania

Hester Blum: “Writ on Water: American Sea Fiction 1820-1860”

Jordan Baker: “Finance and Early American Writing”

Mike Magee: “Emancipating Pragmatism: Emerson, Jazz and Experimental Writing”

Joe Murphy: “Exposing the Modern: Worlds Fairs and American Literary culture 1853-1907”

John Pollack: “Indian Languages in Early American Texts”

Colleen Terrell: (Comparative Lit: still at proposal stage) Mechanization in 19th Century American Literature

Mark Stein (University of Pennsylvania)

Toby Heman (University of Pennsylvania)

Kendall Johnson: “Typing American Culture: The Racial Picturesque in the Fiction of Henry James”

Toby Heman: “Puritan Erotics: Desire, the Soul, and the Question of Early Modern Subjectivity”

Mark Stein: “The Afflatus of Ruin” (a dissertation on the evolution of the sublime)

Amy Yerkes: “Satire, Revolutionary Methodology and Literary Marginalization”

Josh Bellin: “The Demon of the Continent: American Literature, Indian Conversion and the Dynamics of Cultural Exchange”

Wendy Vardaman: “Constructing Houses: The Representation of Home in 20th Century Autobiography”

Hilene Flanzbaum: “The Career of Robert Lowell: The Poet’s Search for Audience in 20th Century America”

Allison Byerly: “Realism and Risk: Representations of the Arts in the Victorian Novel”

Service to the Undergraduate Program:

Director of Undergraduate Studies, Harvard University, Fall 2001-2005

Undergraduate Chair, University of Pennsylvania, 1996-????

including: re-design of Kings Program, revamping of major requirements and concentrations; and service on all committees (executive, gec, uec, search) connected to the executive

Transfer credit evaluator, University of Pennsylvania, 1995-1996


Selected Service to the Department or University:

Steering Committee for American Civilization, 2004-

Committee on Study Abroad, 2004-

Committee on J-term, 2004-.

Faculty head, Americanist Colloquium, 2000-

Faculty, American Civilization program, 2004-

Junior Americanist Search Committee, 2004

Chair, English and American Literature and Language Curriculum Committee, 2004-

Member of cultural Citizenship group, Radcliffe Institute

Chair, senior Americanist search committee

Freshman Seminar Committee (Non-departmental Instruction Committee)

Study out of Residence Committee

Literature and Arts Core Subcommittee

Hoopes Prize Committee

Fay Prize Committee

Senior search committees: Romanticism, Women’s Studies, Twentieth Century, MLA interview committee (junior Renaissance search)

Chair, Graduate Admissions Committee, 2001

Chair, Graduate Steering Committee, 2001

Director of Graduate Study (acting): Spring 2001

Chair, Undergraduate Steering Committee

Reappointment Committee for Doug Mao

Chair, Reappointment Committee, Oren Izenberg

College Non-departmental Instruction Committee

Graduate Admissions Committee, Spring 2000.

Bell Prize Committee, Spring 2000

Whiting Fellowship Committee, Spring 2000

Romantics Senior Search Committee

Board of Freshmen Advisors, Fall 2000

20th Century Senior Search Committee, Fall 2000

American Colloquium, Fall 2000

Graduate Executive Committee, Fall 2000

Chair, Americanist search, 1998-1999

Dean’s Task Force on the Study of Languages and Literatures

Faculty Associate, Hill House, 1998

Advisory Committee on appt of College Dean, 1997

Department of History Senior Search Committee, 1997-1998

CGS Executive Committee, 1997-1999

SAS Film Studies Committee, 1997

Penn Reading Project, 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1997

Asian American Search Committee, 1994-1996 (Acting Chair, Summer/Fall 1995)

American Civilization Executive Committee, 1995-

Committee on Undergraduate Education, 1995-1996

Graduate Education Committee, 1994-1995

Undergraduate Executive Committee, 1993-1994

Senior Americanist Search Committee, 1992-1993

English Department Executive Committee (elected member), 1990-1992

English Department Graduate Executive Committee, 1991-1992

Freshman Advisor, 1990-1991

Director, Undergraduate Honors Program, 1989-1990


Professional service and affiliations outside the University:

On board of YIVO, the Center for Jewish History, New York

On board of Teachers as Scholars, Boston

Referee or reader for: American Literary History, Jewish Museum of Maryland, Cambridge University Press, Harvard University Press, Stanford University Press, University of Washington Press, Northeastern University Press; University of Virginia, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Advisory Board, The Encyclopaedia of 20th Century American Poetry, 1999.



CV upload: