Nancy Armstrong has served as editor of the journal Novel: A Forum on Fiction since 1996 and serves as co-organizer of The Novel Project at Duke, a faculty research seminar. Her scholarship explains how novels imagine a world that can be inhabited (or not) in specific ways by historically and culturally variable readerships. Currently focused on the contemporary novel, she continues to address questions of how modern cultures imagine themselves as a political society: Have, do, or can novels imagine alternative social formations? What narrative mechanisms make it possible for them to do so? How do novels presume to change their readers in the process? How do these "arguments" against the status quo engage political theories that attempt the same feat? Can any such alternative leave the formation we call "the family" intact?
18th-20th century Anglophone literatures and cultures
University of Wisconsin at Madison,
State University of New York at Buffalo,
How Novels Think: The Limits of Individualism 1719-1900.
Columbia University Press,
Fiction in the Age of Photography: The Legacy of British Realism.
Harvard University Press,
The Victorian novel's collaboration with photography was indeed so successful, Armstrong contends, that literary criticism assumes a text is gesturing toward the real whenever it invokes a photograph.
N Armstrong and L Tennenhouse.
The Imaginary Puritan: Literature, Intellectual Labor, and the Origins of Personal Life.
University of California Press,
Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel.