Bio


Mark McGurl's scholarly work centers on the relation of literature to social, educational and other institutions from the late 19th century to the present. He is the author of The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing (Harvard), which was the recipient of the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism for 2011.

McGurl’s previous book was The Novel Art: Elevations of American Fiction after Henry James (Princeton). He has also published articles in journals such as Critical Inquiry, Representations, American Literary History, and New Literary History. He teaches a range of classes on American literature and related topics.

McGurl received his BA from Harvard, then worked at the New York Times and the New York Review of Books before earning his PhD in comparative literature from Johns Hopkins. He has held fellowships from Office of the President of the University of California and the Stanford Humanities Center.

Academic Appointments


  • Professor, English

Administrative Appointments


  • Professor of English, Stanford University (2011 - Present)
  • Professor of English, University of California, Los Angeles (1997 - 2011)

Honors & Awards


  • The Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism, University of Iowa (2011)
  • Hurst Visiting Professor, Washington University St. Louis (2009)
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, Departmental Nominee, University of California, Los Angeles (2006)
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, Departmental Nominee, University of California, Los Angeles (2008)
  • Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center (2002 - 2003)
  • President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities, University of California (2002 - 2003)
  • Fellowship for Biographical and Literary Historical Studies, Irving Cooper (2000)
  • Owen Fellowship in the Humanities, Johns Hopkins (1991 - 1994)
  • Thomas J. Watson Memorial Scholarship, IBM (1985 - 1989)
  • Hoopes Prize for Outstanding B.A. Thesis, Harvard (1989)
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Beta Kappa Society (1988)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Graduate Admissions co-chair, Stanford University (2012 - 2013)
  • Member, Graduate Committee, Stanford University (2012 - 2013)
  • Member, Richard Powers Ad Hoc Hiring Committee (2012 - 2013)
  • Unit Leader, Literature Lab 20th Century (2012 - 2013)
  • Elected board member, MLA Narrative Section (2012)
  • Member, Geballe Workshop Selection Committee, Stanford Humanities Center (2012 - 2012)
  • Member, Graduate Admissions Committee, Stanford English Department (2011 - 2012)
  • Member, Graduate Committee, Stanford English Department (2011 - 2012)
  • Member, Chair’s Advisory Committee, Stanford English Department (2011 - 2012)
  • American Literature Section elected board member, Modern Language Association (MLA) (2010 - 2010)
  • Awards committee chair, Modern Language Association (MLA) (2010 - 2010)
  • Chair, UCLA 19th Century Americanist Search Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2010 - 2011)
  • Member, UCLA Transatlantic pre-1900 Search Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2008 - 2009)
  • Chair, UCLA New Media Search Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2007 - 2008)
  • Member, English Department Graduate Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2003 - 2007)
  • Member, English Department Executive Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (1998 - 1999)
  • Member, English Department Executive Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2000 - 2001)
  • Member, English Department Executive Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2004 - 2005)
  • Member, English Department Executive Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2007 - 2008)
  • Member, UCLA Americanist Search Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2000 - 2001)
  • Member, UCLA Latino/a Chicano/a Search Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2001 - 2002)
  • Member, UCLA Latino/a Chicano/a Search Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2003 - 2004)
  • Member, UCLA Latino/a Chicano/a Search Committee, University of California, Los Angeles (2005 - 2006)
  • Member, Advisory Board, Center for Modern and Contemporary Studies, University of California, Los Angeles (2001 - 2004)
  • Juror, Cal State Undergraduate Research Competition, University of California, Los Angeles (2001 - 2002)
  • Editorial board member, Modern Fiction Studies (2012 - Present)
  • Editorial Assistant, MLN (Modern Language Notes) Comparative Literature (1993 - 1996)
  • Editorial Assistant, The New York Review of Books (1990 - 1991)
  • Editorial Assistant, The New York Times Magazine (1989 - 1990)

Program Affiliations


  • Modern Thought and Literature

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, Comparative Literature (1998)
  • A.B., Harvard University, Literature (1989)

2020-21 Courses


Stanford Advisees


  • Doctoral Dissertation Reader (AC)
    Erik Fredner, Jessica Jordan, Nichole Nomura, Casey Patterson, Gabriela Salvidea
  • Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
    Claire Grossman, Anna Mukamal, Kathryn Winner
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Ido Keren, Ezra Olson, Gabriela Salvidea, Megan Strackbein

All Publications


  • Gigantic Realism: The Rise of the Novel and the Comedy of Scale CRITICAL INQUIRY McGurl, M. 2017; 43 (2): 403-430
  • Everything and Less: Fiction in the Age of Amazon MODERN LANGUAGE QUARTERLY McGurl, M. 2016; 77 (3): 447-471
  • The Institution of Nothing: David Foster Wallace in the Program BOUNDARY 2-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LITERATURE AND CULTURE McGurl, M. 2014; 41 (3): 27-54
  • "Neither Indeed Could I Forebear Smiling at My Self": A Reply to Wai Chee Dimock CRITICAL INQUIRY McGurl, M. 2013; 39 (3): 632-638

    View details for DOI 10.1086/670049

    View details for Web of Science ID 000317114500010

  • The Posthuman Comedy CRITICAL INQUIRY McGurl, M. 2012; 38 (3): 533-553

    View details for DOI 10.1086/664550

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302117800004

  • Dark Times: On the 21st Century Gothic Los Angeles Review of Books McGurl, M. J. 2012
  • The New Cultural Geology Twentieth Century Literature McGurl, M. J. 2012: 380-390
  • Timing The Critical Pulse: 36 Credos by Contemporary Critics McGurl, M. J. edited by Williams, J. Columbia UP. 2012: 252–257
  • The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing McGurl, M. J. Harvard. 2011
  • The Novel, Mass Culture, Mass Media The Cambridge History of the American Novel McGurl, M. J. edited by Cassuto, L., Eby, C. 2011
  • The MFA Octopus: Four Question about Creative Writing Los Angeles Review of Books McGurl, M. J. 2011
  • Ordinary Doom: Literary Studies in the Waste Land of the Present NEW LITERARY HISTORY McGurl, M. 2010; 41 (2): 329-349
  • The Zombie Renaissance n+1 McGurl, M. J. 2010
  • The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing McGurl, M. J. Harvard. 2009
  • Understanding Iowa: Flannery O'Connor, B.A., M.F.A. AMERICAN LITERARY HISTORY McGurl, M. 2007; 19 (2): 527-545

    View details for DOI 10.1093/alh/ajm014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246458600018

  • Scorned Literature: Essays on the History and Criticism of Popular Mass-Produced Fiction in America Paradoxa: Studies in WorlLiterary Genres McGurl, M. J. 2006
  • Learning from Little Tree, or, The Political Education of the Counterculture Yale Journal of Criticism McGurl, M. J. 2006
  • The program era: Pluralisms of postwar American fiction CRITICAL INQUIRY MCGURL, M. 2005; 32 (1): 102-129
  • The Novel Art: Elevations of American Fiction after Henry James McGurl, M. J. Princeton. 2001
  • Social geometries: Taking place in Henry James REPRESENTATIONS MCGURL, M. 1999: 59-83
  • Excluded Middle: Janice Radway’s A Feeling for Books McGurl, M. J. 1997
  • Making "literature" of it: Hammett and high culture AMERICAN LITERARY HISTORY MCGURL, M. 1997; 9 (4): 702-717
  • Framing Truth: Reply to Nick Sharp Critical Inquiry McGurl, M. J. 1997
  • MAKING IT BIG, PICTURING THE RADIO AGE IN 'KING KONG' CRITICAL INQUIRY MCGURL, M. 1996; 22 (3): 415-445