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Dr. Faye Halpern

Pronouns: she/her


Associate Professor

Faculty of Arts, Department of English

Co-Editor, ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature

Faculty of Arts, Department of English


Book series, Theory and Interpretation of Narrative at The Ohio State University Press

Contact information

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-4436


Office: Social Sciences 1108

For media enquiries, contact

Preferred method of communication



Educational Background

B.A. English and American Language & Literature, Harvard University, 1992

M.A., English, Brown University, 2005

Ph.D., English, Brown University, 2002


Areas of Research

Nineteenth-century American Literature, Narrative Theory, Pedagogy

Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
ARTS 601 Theory & Practice of Teaching & Learning Fall 2020
ENGL 251 How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse Winter 2021
ENGL 379 American Slave Narratives: Then and Now Fall 2021
ENGL 607 Unreliable Narrators and Narrative Ethics Fall 2021
ENGL 463 American Literature from the Late 1800s to the Mid-1900s Fall 2017
ENGL 461 Early American Literature and the American Renaissance Fall 2018
ENGL 605 American Literary Realism Winter 2017


The Afterlife of Sympathy: Reading American Literary Realism in the Wake of Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Afterlife of Sympathy: Reading Realism in the Wake of Uncle Tom’s Cabin makes two related arguments. First, it tells a new story about American literary realism. It challenges the traditional division in American literary history between realism, a postbellum genre celebrated for its bold and accurate depiction of the world, and antebellum sentimentality, a mode of writing associated with women, falsity, and excess emotionalism—“perfumed meretriciousness” as William Dean Howells characterized it. The Afterlife of Sympathy reveals that realists such as Howells, Mark Twain, Henry James, Constance Fenimore Woolson, and Charles Chesnutt used the sentimental techniques that they claimed to deplore and examines why they did so. It uncovers the wide range of uses realist authors found for sentimentality and demonstrates that we cannot fully understand their most famous novels and stories without understanding why they continued to rely on sentimental characters and scenes. Second, in exploding the myth of realism’s rejection of sentimentality, The Afterlife of Sympathy shows the continuing significance of sentimentality not just as a mode of writing but as a mode of reading. It identifies and explores an origin point for the split between readers that we find today: dispassionate academic readers, who are suspicious of empathy, and lay readers, who locate the value of reading in its cultivation of that quality.


  • Insight Grant, SSHRC. 2019