Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

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David E. Chinitz

David E. Chinitz

Professor, Chair of the English Department


About

My research focuses on modernist poetry, often at its junction with other cultural forms, such as jazz, journalism, and drama. My first book, T. S. Eliot and the Cultural Divide (2003), argued that Eliot’s relation to popular culture was richer and more complicated than critics had always assumed—and that the same applied more broadly to modernism, which was then still viewed, wrongly, as a defensive monolith hostile to all things popular. My second book, Which Sin to Bear? Authenticity and Compromise in Langston Hughes (2013), explored the challenges Hughes faced in shaping his persona and life’s work as an African American poet at the intersection of high art, popular culture, politics, and race. A Companion to T. S. Eliot (2009) and A Companion to Modernist Poetry (2014) are comprehensive essay collections that I both edited and contributed to. My most recent book, a 900-page annotated edition of Eliot’s WWII-era prose, was published digitally in 2017 by Johns Hopkins.

The same set of interests animates my classes. At the graduate level, I most often teach a modernist poetry seminar and a course on the literature and culture of the Jazz Age, in which we read popular novels, music, and films like The Jazz Singer and the Marx Brothers’ Animal Crackers alongside more canonical literature of the 1920s. The dissertations I’ve directed have covered such topics as modernist poetry and the “new sciences”; the anthologies that popularized modern verse; the poetic response to urban planning and its reconfiguration of “nature”; and the work of modernist women poets in the sonnet form.

With my colleague Pamela Caughie, I’m a founding co-director of Modernist Networks (ModNets), a consortium of digital projects in modernist literature and culture that offers peer review and aggregation services. My involvement in digital humanities revives older interests I had seemed to leave behind years ago when I put aside a higher degree in applied mathematics and career opportunities in computer programming to attend graduate school in English.

Service activities have given me some of my most satisfying professional experiences. I’ve served as president (2013–14) and interdisciplinary chair (2006–09) of the Modernist Studies Association, and as president (2010–12) of the International T. S. Eliot Society, of which I am currently treasurer and webmaster. At Loyola, I’ve been English department chair since 2018; in the past I was president of our AAUP chapter (2014–17) and of Phi Beta Kappa (2017–19), as well as director of the graduate program in English (2000–05).


Degrees

  • BA, Mathematics and English, Amherst College (1984)
  • MS, Applied Mathematics, Brown University (1985)
  • PhD, English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University (1993)

Program Areas

  • American Literature and Culture
  • British Literature and Culture
  • African American Literature
  • Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture
  • Literature and Identity
  • Textual Studies and Digital Humanities
  • Poetry and Poetics

Research Interests

  • Modernism
  • Poetry
  • T. S. Eliot
  • Langston Hughes
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Popular Culture

Professional & Community Affiliations

  • President, Modernist Studies Association (2013–14)
  • President, International T. S. Eliot Society (2010–12); Treasurer (2016–Present)

Awards

  • MLA Prize for a Scholarly Edition (2019)
  • NEH Digital Humanities Startup Grant (2013)
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (2012)
  • NEH Fellowship (2008)
  • NEH Summer Stipend (senior level, 2004; junior level, 1997).

Selected Publications

Books:

  • The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot, vol. 6: The War Years, 1940–1946 (ed.). Johns Hopkins UP, 2017.
  • A Companion to Modernist Poetry (ed.). Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.
  • Which Sin to Bear? Authenticity and Compromise in Langston Hughes. Oxford UP, 2013.
  • A Companion to T. S. Eliot (ed.). Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
  • T.S. Eliot and the Cultural Divide. U of Chicago P, 2003.

Articles and Book Chapters:

  • “Hughes and the McCarthy Committee Behind Closed Doors.” Langston Hughes Review, vol. 25, no. 1, 2019, pp. 95–104.
  • “Popular Culture.” (With Julia E. Daniel.) The Cambridge Companion to “The Waste Land.” Edited by Gabrielle McIntire. Cambridge UP, 2015, pp. 69–83.
  • “‘How shall I be a mirror to this modernity?’: Planetarity, Periodization, and the New Modernist Studies.” [„Jak stać się lustrem tej nowoczesności?” Planetarność, periodyzacja i nowe studia modernistyczne] Poznanskie Studia Polonistyczne, vol. 24, 2014, pp. 145–53.
  • “Langston Hughes.” A Companion to Modernist Poetry. Edited by David E. Chinitz and Gail McDonald. Wiley-Blackwell, 2014, pp. 536–50.
  • “‘A real, solid, sane, racial something’: Langston Hughes’s Blues Poetry.” Black Music, Black Poetry. Edited by Gordon E. Thompson. Ashgate, 2014, pp. 67–75.
  • "The New Harlem Renaissance Studies." Modernism/Modernity, vol. 12, no. 2, 2006, pp. 375-82.
  • The Waste Land.” A Companion to Modernist Literature and Culture. Edited by David Bradshaw and Kevin J. H. Dettmar. Blackwell, 2006, pp. 324–32.
  • “In the Shadows: Popular Song and Eliot’s Construction of Emotion.”  Modernism/Modernity, vol. 11, no. 3, 2004, pp. 449–67.